Kings Firecrackers – Jump Rope Team

Team History

In 1990, Lynn Kelley, a physical education teacher at South Lebanon Elementary (formerly located in the Village of South Lebanon), noticed how much the children loved playing with jump ropes. At the end of every year, Kelley always hosted an exposition show for kids to highlight their skills, and that year, she decided to get a group of girls together who liked to jump rope. She put on some music and choreographed a little performance with the ropes, and before she knew it, the girls were a hit.

Initially, the group was only allowed to perform for the Kings JV basketball game half-time. But after receiving an invitation from Miami University’s basketball team to perform and receiving rave reviews – the team was invited to perform at the King’s Varsity basketball games – plus many, many other venues. The Firecrackers have performed on the David Letterman Show, marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and even a presidential inauguration. Each year the Firecrackers perform at dozens of highschool, college, and NBA venues. In 2009, Mrs. Kelley was named among 10 of America’s “Most Caring Coaches” by USA Today Weekend Magazine out of 1,503 nominees. The legacy that Coach Kelley established is one that we will continue to strive to maintain and build upon.

Coach Shaun Hamilton

Shaun will be leading the Firecrackers beginning with the 2023-2024 season. He may be a “new” coach to the team but his involvement with the Firecrackers goes back to when he was 16 and began helping Coach Kelley. He has consulted and led clinics for the Firecrackers throughout the years.

He began his own jump rope/rope skipping career as a young athlete in 1989. As an athlete he claimed US national titles in 1999 and 2003 and a FISAC-IRSF World Championship title in 1999 St. Louis, Missouri. Shaun has served as coach for a local club, US board member, committee chair and Team USA Head Coach.

In 2009 Mr. Hamilton co-founded the World Jump Rope Federation and served as its Chair since 2010.

Coach Shaun is the current President of the International Jump Rope Union (IJRU). The IJRU holds its World Championships biannually featuring the top jump rope athletes in single rope and double dutch disciplines across the globe. These athletes compete in a preliminary round to secure a spot in the finals, and ultimately, compete for the title of World Champion. In 2023, over 1,200 athletes participated representing 27 countries.

Coach Shaun teaches at the University of Dayton and is currently working on his PhD in Sports Ethics.

Coach Lynn Kelley

Lynn Kelley, the transformative coach and founder of the Kings Firecrackers Jump Roping Team, retired in 2023. Her retirement marks the end of an era in which she significantly impacted both the sport and the empowerment of young women.

Based in Ohio, the Firecrackers quickly gained national attention. They’ve been spotlighted on major media platforms like CBS News and have graced esteemed stages such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and Rupp Arena.
Kelley’s coaching philosophy was rigorous, focusing on discipline, teamwork, and a level of commitment often expected from elite athletes. This approach has led to not only breathtaking performances but also a nurturing environment where young girls could grow both personally and athletically.
The Firecrackers stand out for their innovative approach to jump roping. Under Kelley’s guidance, the sport transcends mere athleticism and becomes an art form, complete with intricate choreography and flawless execution. This unique style has challenged traditional perceptions of what jump roping can be.

Beyond the athletic realm, the team has served as role models for young women, showcasing what can be accomplished through hard work and collaboration. Their high-profile performances, like those at the Army-Navy Basketball Doubleheader, have additionally made them ambassadors for their sport, expanding its influence and appeal.

As she steps into retirement, Kelley leaves behind a profound legacy that will continue to shape the future of jump roping and inspire the young women who follow in her footsteps.

Our Vision

The vision of the Kings Firecrackers is to inspire millions by creating a program of excellence that entertains, energizes and brings joy to its audience.
The vision of the Kings Firecrackers is to improve a child's opportunity for success in life through a program that demands discipline, responsibility, dedication and community consciousness.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Kings Firecrackers is:

Our Legacy

Team Traditions


Each year jumpers are paired up (sometimes a Big might have “twins” and be assigned two littles.) Each pair will exchange gifts at the Christmas Party, celebrate their birthdays, and exchange end of year gifts. More importantly, they will get to know each other throughout the year. Littles are encouraged to ask their “Big” if they have any questions or need extra assistance with a skill.
Bigs who have a first-year little traditionally get a small gift for the little to mark their first public performance.
Many Bigs/Littles will snap a photo together at each performance. A small photo album of these can make a cute gift for the year end gift exchange.

Rope Taping

Colored Tape:

When new ropes are distributed, each jumper will be given an opportunity to pick a unique series of three (3) different colors from a selection of tapes. These colors will be placed on one handle as a way to identify whose rope is whose. A pattern chart is kept for identification by the team support. Similarly, long ropes have their handles taped with unique colors to help turners know which rope to grab.

Black Tape:

In addition, 3 black stripes are placed on the other handle of the “practice” rope. Jumpers who are acknowledged for acts or attitudes of excellence during practices will be told by the Coach to “take off a stripe.” The goal is to have all 3 three black stripes removed by the end of the season.

White Tape:

Slam dunks take a toll on handles. So to add a little protection, the top of each handle is wrapped with white tape too.

8th Grade Leadership Tasks

A long held tradition of the Firecrackers involves the role of the 8th grade jumpers. Once a Firecracker has reached 8th grade they typically have several years of experience on the team. These jumpers take on a team leadership role and are responsible for:

Birthday (Half-birthday) Celebrations

Whenever a team member has a birthday, parents of the team member are free to bring in some small treats (cookies, cupcakes, or candy…) to distribute at the end of practice.Bigs/Littles usually bring in a small gift for the birthday person.

The team will sing “Happy Birthday” with an extra verse of “Skip around the room.” (Tradition: Firecrackers who are also in choir are asked to start the songs.)

Naming of Long Ropes

“Elmo”, “Colby Jack”, and “Barney” are just some examples of the creative names assigned to long ropes by their turners. Those names are written on 2-gallon freezer baggies in which each long rope is stored after use. When new long ropes are purchased, then new names are created.

Practice Incentive Awards


Jumpers showing extra effort at practices may be rewarded a small token (star, firecracker, ect.) by Coach Shaun. Once 5 spotlights are earned a jumper will receive a gold star for their jump bag.


A jumper may be rewarded tickets for meeting a challenge set by the coach (Example: “Get scoops perfect three times in a row and you’ll receive 2 tickets.”) These tickets may be collected over several days. Jumpers put their names on the back of each ticket and all the tickets are used for a drawing for donated gift cards.

Performance Awards

Show Awards (Announced after each performance)

A “Whale of a Show” (VIP teammate), “Ghost with the Most” (Excellent Supporting teammate); and “The Humpty-Dumpty Had a Great Fall” (accidents happen but the show must go on), are all examples of Coach selected awards that a jumper might receive after a performance.

Perfect Song Stars (Awarded at the next practice)

Firecrackers who complete a specific song within a show without errors are awarded a star that corresponds to that song.

Perfect Show Pins (Awarded at the next practice)

Firecrackers who have perfect shows (no mistakes at all) are awarded a special pin for their rope bag.


A keychain makes a fun and easy souvenir of your first performance at a new college or professional basketball venue. You will see many of these attached to the performance duffles of experienced jumpers.

Etiquette Instruction Lunch

Held each year, the Etiquette instruction lunch is one of the oldest and most unique traditions of the irecrackers. Taking place at the historic Golden Lamb in Lebanon, OH, jumpers are taught a variety of manners during a 4-course meal.

Service Projects

Team members may be presented with special service opportunities during the year. The Firecrackers have participated in many outreach and community events such as The American Heart Association Exhibition, The American Diabetes Foundation Fundraiser, and The Anthony Munoz Foundation Fundraiser. Most recently the team had an opportunity to pack food for the Joshua’s Place charity organization.

If you are aware of a charity where the Firecrackers may serve for a few hours, please reach out to Coach Shaun.

Homecoming Parade

It has only been in recent years that the Kings irecrackers have been able to be a part of the Kings Homecoming Parade in September. Jumpers ride on a decorated truck. Firecrackers need to wear their practice uniforms, bring their jump rope and a bottle of water. Parents pick up jumpers at the end of the parade. No performance hair bows or face paint please. Go Kings !

Team Dinners/Hotel Games

For special overnight trips, it is nice to be able to share a meal or late-night snack (think pizza) at the team hotel. It is even more fun if the jumpers get to participate in some organized games in the lobby or an available conference room.


In October, practices can be extra tough but “Jump-a-ween” makes them also extra sweet. Bowls of donated candy are placed along the side perimeter of the court. As each part of a routine is practiced, jumpers who complete that section perfectly are told to run over and pick a piece of candy from the bowls and place it in a cup that has their name on it. This process is repeated as time allows.

Christmas Party

A fun evening for Firecrackers to get together, share a meal, and exchange Big/Little gifts.

Teacher Appreciation Performance

This is a special performance to honor some of the educatorsfrom Kings. Held in March – before the end of the season – the jumpers are given an opportunity to give back to and thank those teachers who have worked so hard for them.

End of Year Party

The last hurrah of the season, Firecrackers get together to watch a film from the season, exchange Big/Little gifts, and share a celebratory meal.

Elementary School Tour

In an effort to help with recruiting future Firecrackers, a day tour to visit all 3 King’s elementary schools and Columbia Intermediate may be scheduled a week or so before the first Sparkler Clinic. A school bus is reserved to take the team from school to school – stopping for lunch along the way. Jumpers will have a “field trip” excused absence and will dress in full uniform for this tour.

Sparkler Clinics

Offered on multiple days in March, these 2 hour camps provide an opportunity for any King’s students in 2nd grade through 6th grade to come out and learn a few jump rope skills. The students who attend (as well as their families) are then treated to a performance by the Firecrackers at the end of each session. Any student who attends a Sparkler clinic will receive an email concerning upcoming tryouts for next year’s team. Jumpers just wear their practice uniforms for these clinics – not their performance uniforms.