USLRA: You kind of accidently fell into Log Rolling as a kid, let’s start with your time at the Madison YMCA.
Judd: I started Log Rolling when my best friend saw the Log Rolling program after swim team and she dragged me into it and it was so fun and I was with friends, there were these cool kids, Shana (Verstegen) was leading the program and she was just this amazing teacher, role model, inspiration and I kind of fell down the Log Rolling rabbit hole before I realized how far it could lead.
USLRA: And eventually you became a big part of the Madison program, talk about that.
Judd: When I was 13 (years old) Shana, who had been running the program, moved to California for a year, and at that point I was the person who had been around the longest and knew the most about Log Rolling so I started teaching the YMCA program. And it was this huge leadership opportunity for me, that I got to be in charge of something and people trusted me to tell other people what to do. I ran the tournament that year and I got a lot of support from the aquatics director, Shana’s dad George, and my parents. I was helping coordinate this tournament as an 8th grader. And even when Shana returned I started co-teaching with her.
USLRA: So the Log Rolling bug really got you?
Judd: My 8th grade graduation present was a log and that’s all I wanted. I was saving up and telling my parents now I have 94 dollars and now I have 98 dollars, and I think they thought “this girls never going to make it and we’re going to be hearing it for the next 12 years”. So they were really supportive (and we got the log). We put a log down at Lake Wingra and people would see us practicing and ask about it so Shana and I started teaching classes and the first summer was about 10 people, maybe twice a week. And here we are, 11 years later and we have 15 hours of programming a week and we have 11 or 12 instructors on staff.
USLRA: There’s a group of pro rollers in Madison that seems to be such a tight group.
Judd: We kind of had a group of girls that are about the same age, Amber (Scarborough), Fiona (Cahill), Gretchen (Greene), Emmaray (Einstein), Amy (James), they all started within a few years of each other and as they stuck with it, they became close and as our program grew they started teaching with us. We all know that we’re here because we love this sport and we love each other. When we go to tournaments, half of it is competing, and half of it is the car ride and making signs and being there for each other.
USLRA: You seem to be a real leader in the sport, both as a roller and ambassador, even outside of Madison.
Judd: I was just in La Crosse visiting Katie (Rick) and Katie, Sam (Hadley), and Abby (Hoeschler) and I have been rolling against each other since we were 10. Katie found an old bracket of (a group of us) when we were in U13 together. I visit Katie in La Crosse and Sam in Colorado. A lot of us have stayed close.
USLRA: You will be entering law school this week at the University of Minnesota. Law student and Lumberjill or Log Roller seem like such different worlds.
Judd: One of the reasons I chose Minnesota was to stay close to the Log Rolling world - it did factor into the decision. I had (in the past) worked with a Log Rolling program at the midtown YWCA (in Minneapolis) and plan on working there with that program again.
USLRA: You had a good 2015 season, with a strong showing at the Midwest Championships and a run to the quarter finals at World Championships. What are your 2016 goals?
Judd: My goals for next year are to never lose my love for the sport, maintaining my love for my teammates and competing to the best of my ability.