HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa (WTA)–Orbisonia native Bower Sarra was nine years old when he picked up his first baton while watching his sister train.

Now his skills are hitting the international stage in Italy at the 2022 World Baton Twirling Championships. On Wednesday, August 3 Sarra will perform in the Senior Men’s Freestyle Preliminaries.

Sarra is one of 250 twirlers planning to compete this week. He is competing in the Senior Men’s Freestyle and the Team competition alongside his Team USA teammates.

This competition is one of the largest numbers of competitors Sarra has competed with in his career. While nervous and excited, he is competing with a similar mindset he uses for local competitions.

“So I’d say for me, I try to treat them all the same that way. I’m training my mental game as well,” Sarra said. “A lot of baton twirling is what your mindset is doing. Once you start negative talking about your routine, that’s when mistakes start to happen.”

Sarra is in Italy with two of his coaches from Show Twirlers and his USA teammates.

During his training with his USA teammates, he said their passions have been a highlight.

“Just having all these personalities under one roof while we’re training makes the experience more meaningful cause I’m sharing the competition floor with people just as passionate about the sport as you,” Sarra said. “So it’s been super uplifting to train with them. I love each and every one of my teammates. They’ve been the best throughout this whole experience.”

Sarra noted that having his hometown coaches alongside him is grounding and great to have someone there that understands his habits. That includes calming his nerves and getting his Dr. Pepper before he takes the floor.

“It’s super grounding to that have that connection point,” Sarra said. “They’ve been with you every step of the way. The blood, sweat, and tears basically having that rock through the most stressful time of your baton career. It’s super grounding, like I said.”

Sarra began twirling locally in Mount Union before he took his talents to the Show Twirlers in Altoona. From there, he spent the rest of his time learning the ropes and passing his knowledge to the next generation of twirlers.

In Sarra’s 14-year career, he holds multiple grand champion titles, including the 2021 United States Twirling Association (USTA) Grand Champion in Men’s Solo, 2-Baton, 3-Baton, and the USTA Collegiate Grand National Champion. In addition, he’s the 2018 Senior Men’s World Solo Champion.

Sarra said he fell in love with the artistry and athleticism that went into the sport. He said that the different aspects of the sport were something he wanted to learn more about.

“I kind of just fell in love with the expression part of it as well as the athleticism,” Sarra said. “There’s a lot of different aspects that come together that form the sport of baton twirling. I think all those aspects brought something unique. I’ve never seen it before, so it was super interesting, and I just wanted to learn more about it.”

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Outside of twirling he works as a full-time analyst for One Energy. He also plans to coach in the future and potentially compete for another one to two years.