By KIM VAN METER
Times are changing.
And for competitive cheer gym owners, Ashley and Amy Dillon, it’s about time.
The Dillon sisters, with the help and support of their parents Mison and Jason Dillon, have turned their passion for the intense sport into a way to pay the bills with the opening of their Infinite Athletics Cheer and Dance business in Oakdale.
“People are realizing that cheer is an actual sport,” Ashley Dillon said. “Competition cheer is not just people dancing around. It’s two minutes and thirty seconds of blood, sweat and tears on that floor. And that two minutes and thirty seconds feels like a lifetime.”
With the official opening of their 3,700 square-foot facility in August 2016, the business-minded sisters are already planning a 2,000 square-foot expansion, which will include a deli/smoothie bar, an athlete lounge, and a tumble track.
“This was really a last-minute thing,” Ashley shared of their start. “It was always a dream of mine but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.”
As a businessman, Jason Dillon knew to grab opportunity when it presented itself and that’s exactly what happened in the form of a Stockton gym closing down.
Suddenly, they had access to nearly brand new equipment at an affordable price – and the dream quickly became a reality as the Dillons began to create what would become Infinite Athletics in record time.
“The gym closed in Stockton and everything fell into place. Within one week we had everything put together,” Ashley Dillon said.
Currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business, Ashley saw the opportunity to open her own business as a way to follow in her father’s footsteps.
For younger sister Amy, who is still in high school and an active competitive cheerleader, the opportunity was a wonderful way to stay connected to family while learning how to run a business.
Father Jason Dillon had nothing but praise for his daughters in their venture, lending his full support and expertise.
“It’s been really good. I’m happy for them,” he said.
As well he should be.
Infinite Athletics found itself in an enviable position for a new business – needing to grow almost immediately.
“We grew a lot more quickly than we anticipated,” Ashley said. “We have 600 athletes enrolled. We definitely thought we’d have half of that at this point.”
The key to their success seems to be their dedication to offering what is considered the best in the business for their athletes, which includes bringing in top instructors from as far as Australia and North Carolina.
“What’s most important is getting the right instructors for the right classes,” Ashley explained. “We never want an athlete to think they’re not getting the best that they can get.”
To that end, they recently signed Twisted Brands Choreography for all their competitive cheer routines as well as local choreographer Katey Giovannoni Choate for their hip-hop team.
Infinite Athletics is all about the talent and the ability to teach effectively and safely.
“Basically, our only challenges to this point have been the space available. The last seven months have been really smooth,” Ashley said.
From tumbling to conditioning, to jump technique to flight school, anything associated with cheer can be found at Infinite Athletics.
And the timing couldn’t be sweeter.
With the recent JAMZ National Cheer Championship wins by Oakdale Stampede Cheer and the Oakdale High School Cheer program – both of which utilized the gym’s facilities for practice – the fever is high for more.
Infinite Athletics is ready to make dreams happen for young athletes.
In addition to classes, Infinite Athletics is moving full steam into the future with more competition teams.
For more information on competition cheer and hip-hop try-outs in May or class schedules, go to their website at http://www.infiniteath.com or find them on Instagram and Facebook.
Infinite Athletics is at 509 Armstrong Way, Ste. G in Oakdale.
To reach them by phone, call (209) 855-2004.