Bailey Mountain Cloggers Celebrate 29th National Championship

(Back row, l-r) Enrique Rodriguez, Naomi Jack, Samuel Evens, Emily Travis, Keyshawn Sanders, Paul Penderman, Samuel Locklear, Courtney Baswell, Bailey Clayton
(Front row, l-r) Dallas Moffat, Rachel Sealy, Halea Baker, Tykasia Davis, Lauren Freeman, Olivia Heim, Riley Rickard, Christina Starck, Danielle Plimpton

The Bailey Mountain Cloggers, Mars Hill University’s precision dancing team, won its 29th national title at the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame National Championships in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, over the weekend of October 22-23. The national title came in the Open Contemporary category for the Willy Wonka Show routine. The team won three Grand Championships, in the Traditional Line, Show, and Southern Appalachian categories. The cloggers scored six first-place team dances, four second-place team dances, and one third-place team dance.

Individual dancers also brought home major awards:

  • Bailey Clayton of Unionville, Virginia, won National Champion Male Solo
  • Samuel Locklear of Laurinburg, North Carolina won Grand Champion Contemporary Male Solo and second place in Choreographed Solo
  • Keyshawn Sanders of Union, South Carolina was named National Champion Choreographed Soloist
  • Halea Baker of Laurinburg, North Carolina, and Locklear won Grand Champion Show Duet and were named Overall Best Dance Couple
  • Emily Travis of Bulls Gap, Tennessee, and Samuel Evans of Forest City, North Carolina, won first place in Show Duet
  • Tykasia Davis of Union, South Carolina, and Sanders placed second in Show Duet
  • Baker took third place in Choreographed Solo competition

Olivia Heim of Asheville, North Carolina, was inducted into the All American Team. Baker and Clayton were inducted to the Team of the Decade.

The Bailey Mountain Cloggers were organized in 1974 by students at what was then known as Mars Hill College, and were influenced by an older championship team, the Bailey Mountain Square Dance Team, which began performing in 1950. The Bailey Mountain name is derived from the mountain adjacent to the college campus. Being one of a few college-based performing clog teams in the nation, with art performance grants and college credit courses, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers serve as ambassadors of goodwill for the college and the dance traditions of the Southern Mountains. During their history, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers have performed throughout the United States and internationally in countries including Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Austria, and Ireland. The Bailey Mountain Cloggers dance company has established a national and international reputation for American clog dance excellence.

The Bailey Mountain Cloggers are led by managing director Danielle Buice Plimpton and assistant director Dallas Moffat. Both were standouts on the team during their Mars Hill University dance careers. For more information, visit or email

This year’s Bailey Mountain Cloggers team members are:

  • Halea Baker, Laurinburg, North Carolina
  • Courtney Baswell, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Bailey Clayton, Unionville, Virginia
  • Tykasia Davis, Union, South Carolina
  • Samuel Evens, Forest City, North Carolina
  • Lauren Freeman, Morristown, Tennessee
  • Olivia Heim, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Naomi Jack, Rutherford, North Carolina
  • Samuel Locklear, Laurinburg, North Carolina
  • Paul Penderman, Greenville, South Carolina
  • Riley Rickard, Woodstock, Georgia
  • Enrique Rodriguez, Burlington, North Carolina
  • Keyshawn Sanders, Union, South Carolina
  • Rachel Sealy, Fairmont, North Carolina
  • Christina Starck, Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Emily Travis, Bulls Gap, Tennessee