Maggie Steele is packing her flip-flops and sunscreen for a pole-vaulter’s dream vacation!

The gutsy farm girl from Grain Valley, Kansas, has been invited to share the awards stand at Florida Beach Vault 2013, Saturday July 20th, at one of the most beautiful places in the world — Clearwater Beach!

Last year’s Florida Beach Vault attracted more than 80 vaulters and more are expected this year, including the most inspirational storybook pole-vaulter in the nation, if not the entire world.

A copy of the inspirational sports novel Maggie Vaults Over the Moon will be awarded to the top female finishers at the second annual event, sponsored by the Florida Pole Vault Academy. The book’s author, Grant Overstake, a former Miami Herald Sports Writer, would love to be there in person, but Maggie will be making the 1,270-mile trip by herself.


“Maggie can hardly believe she’s going to Florida!” Overstake said. “She keeps pinching herself to see if she’s dreaming. She’s never seen the ocean before, so she’s totally stoked for what promises to be a totally awesome experience. As a Kansas native myself, I remember the first time I saw the the beach, and Maggie will be visiting one of the best.”

In fact, Clearwater Beach was voted Florida’s VERY BEST beach town by USA Today. Stretching roughly three miles long and three blocks wide, its snowy white sand draws about 4 million visitors a year, making it one of the top tourist destinations along the Gulf Coast.

The Florida Beach Vault attracted more than 80 vaulters last year. Vaulters had a clear view of the ocean as they cleared crossbars as high as 17 feet. According to event organizer Bob Leidel, many more vaulters are expected to attend this year, and he’s delighted that one of those newcomers will be Maggie Steele — the most inspirational storybook pole-vaulter in the nation, if not the entire world.

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon tells the story of a fictional farm girl who overcomes tragedy and soars to new heights as a pole-vaulter. The novel has been endorsed by US Olympic vaulters Becky Holliday, Jeremy Scott and Erica Bartolina, and many others — including Coach Leidel — who identify with the book’s inspiring message for young people.

“The Florida Pole Vault Academy is pleased to share Maggie’s inspirational story with vaulters of all ages at the Beach Vault this year,” said Leidel, who coaches many of Florida’s most successful vaulters. “One of the reasons this event was organized is to put elite vaulters side by side with youth athletes to inspire and motivate young vaulters to follow their dreams.”

Some of the best vaulters in the Sunshine State are Coached by Florida Pole Vault Academy’s Bob Leidel.

Asked if she had any questions about her first trip to a beach vault, Maggie said, “How do they keep the sand from getting on the runway?” Good question! Coach Leidel says his officials take extra precautions to make sure sand doesn’t collect on the runway, which could cause athletes to slip and spoil their day at the beach.

How do they keep sand off the runway?

“First, we use an elevated runway that sits 8 inches above the sand,” Leidel explained. “This prevents sand from easily blowing or getting kicked onto the runway. Second, we ask athletes to kick the sand off of their shoes as they step up onto the runway before they jump. Lastly, we make sure to bring plenty of brooms and have plenty of volunteers, just in case!”

Registration is Open Until July 17th

Registration is still open for the Florida Beach Vault, until July 17th and Coach Leidel is still seeking sponsors for this event, which is the Academy’s largest fundraiser of the season. Additional copies of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon will be sold at the event, to help raise funds. Please call Coach Leidel at 813.610.5641 to find out how you can get involved.

“Pole-vaulting is exciting and awesome and beautiful, but it can be very dangerous, especially for youngsters who don’t have proper coaching and equipment,” Overstake said. “That’s why it’s good to know there are people like Coach Leidel and the Florida Pole Vault Academy providing proper instruction and equipment, so the sport can continue to be safely enjoyed by real-life Maggie Steeles.

“Maggie plans to have a great time in Florida, but she’s also on a mission of sorts. The Florida Beach Vault is an important event for the future of Florida pole-vaulting, and it deserves everyone’s support.”

Jeff Adams captured hundreds of photos at Florida Street Vault 2012 and will return to the event this year.

About the Photographs

Master professional photographer Jeff Adams of Digital Pixel Photography & Design Studios took hundreds of amazing shots at the Florida Beach Vault 2012 and will be shooting the event again this year. Last year’s photos are available here.

About Coach Bob Leidel

Coach Bob Leidel

Coach Bob Leidel is a Certified Pole Vault Coach through the National Pole Vault Coaches Association and the Pole Vault Safety Certification Board. Bob was a successful vaulter himself and has been coaching pole vaulters privately for over 5 years. He has been the head coach of the FPVA for two years and has coached multiple high school State Champions, many State Medalists, State Qualifiers, and college level athletes. In addition to pole vault coaching certifications, Bob has numerous strength and conditioning certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and specializes in sport performance enhancement.

About the Florida Pole Vault Academy

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