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Junior Shag Association
National Fast Dance


The Association Of Carolina Shag Clubs
Founded 1984

By Phil Sawyer

The ASSOCIATION OF CAROLINA SHAG CLUBS was founded in 1984. Ken Hudspeth, then President of the Rock Hill Shag Club, gathered the Presidents of the Clubs attending the 2nd Annual Columbia Invitational in October, 1983, at Pine Island on Lake Murray and suggested a low key organization of Clubs in South Carolina and the one in Atlanta to share ideas, exchange information and to sponsor a party for the Clubs at the beach in January. Harold Bessent (Fat Harold) also met with us and endorsed the idea.

Ken and the Rock Hill Shag Club arranged for the first of what was to become the MID¬WINTER BEACH CLASSIC in January of 1984. Participating Clubs were Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Shag Steps, Rock Hill and Winnsboro. The Presidents of local Clubs continued their efforts to form an organization. Earlier, Ken Hudspeth and Phil Sawyer, then President of the Columbia Shag Club, had met several times to formulate the concept and to develop a Charter. The representatives of these Clubs met again in February 1984, in Columbia, to formally establish the Organization.

The Presidents agreed that the Organization would be named THE ASSOCIATION OF CAROLINA SHAG CLUBS. Since Atlanta was a Charter Member, it is immediately obvious that there was no intention on the part of the Founders to limit membership to the Carolinas. Carolina in the name of the Association refers to the dance and not to the geography. The original Charter provided for the Association to be governed by a Board of Advisors to be presided over by a Chairman. Ron Whisenant was elected Chairman, the first, and served for two years.

The local Clubs continued to sponsor statewide parties, always with Atlanta included, and soon Columbia, Charleston, Atlanta, Greenville, Rock Hill, and Winnsboro were having regular weeklong events to which all other Clubs were invited.

The first major effort by the fledgling Association, still less than one year old, was a cruise. Over 150 Shaggers boarded the S.S. Galileo (now the Meridian) on March 3, 1984, for a five-day Caribbean Holiday. This was the first of what was to be many cruises to South America and the Grand Caymans, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, the California Coast, and the never-to-be-forgotten weeklong fantasy on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Trips became the forte of the Association. Always exciting, affordable, and filled with Beach Music and Shagging, the travels are the highlight of many a Shagger's life.

News of the success of this little Association soon spread. Ken Hudspeth followed Ron as Chairman, and the Metrolina became the first North Carolina Club to become a member.
All the while, S.O.S., contests, invitational weekends, and other events at the beach began to flourish. The second Mid-Winter Shag Meet (still not named) was in January 1985, at where else, Fat Harold's. The late and very much loved Richard Nixon was the D.J.

The Clubs and statewide parties continued to grow and prosper. There was another cruise, and S.O.S. was becoming a bigger and bigger event. No Shagger worthy of the name of the dance would have missed it for anything. Cities all over both North and South. Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia were forming Clubs, and their first order of business was to become a member of the Association. The Association was inductedd into the BEACH SHAGGER'S HALL OF FAME in 1986. This little known honor is one of our most distinctive.
The flag was passed from Ken Hudspeth to Phil Sawyer, 3rd Chairman, an office he would hold for three years. Phil designated themes for each of his years as Chairman: The "Year of the Club" 1987; the "Year of the Trip" 1988; and the "Year of the Bold Leap Forward" 1989. In the "Year of the Club," order and structure were stressed and the Winter and Summer Workshops were begun.. In the "Year of the Trip," Hawaii became the all-time favorite shag vacation of over 200 Shaggers, and the "Year of the Bold Leap Forward" saw the Association acquire S.O.S. This might be equated to jumping off Grandfather Mountain on a hang glider. During these years Member Clubs increased from 18 to 45.

Bob Wood, then President of the Atlanta Shag Club, immediately became involved with Phil, Larry Taylor, and others in the S.O.S. There was much to do in order to organize and develop a plan for restoring S.O.S. to the place it once occupied. The potential of this fortunate union was too great to allow it to fail, and Bob Wood was one of the first to see this.
Thus, Bob was elected Chairman in 1990 and continued to lead the Association, having been re-elected in 1991 and 1992, until 1993. Under Bob's leadership, the Association grew to unprecedented levels. Workshops, which once attracted forty to fifty participants, now regularly attract well over 200. Serious business related to Association expansion, development, and benevolence, can occupy the most committed people in the Shag World for hours: All the while, serious parties are underway, often just next door.