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Betty Goedhart is Cooler Than Your Grandma

Written By: Matthew J. Black Betty Goedhart Trapeze
Photographed By: Damien Noble Andrews Betty Goedhart Trapeze

Expert: Betty Goedhart Trapeze
Credentials: 84-year-old Trapeze Flyer

Eighty-four year old Betty Goedhart has a very exceptional hobby to keep her active and healthy. She’s a “flyer,” part of a small community that gathers at Trapeze High in Escondido. Soaring through the air as a flyer is something most of us have dreamed of. The trapeze being what it is allows that dream to come alive. In Betty’s case, that dream came at a very early age. Though she didn’t take it up until she was 78 years old, she certainly stayed active in between. Her father was an ice hockey player and put Betty into skates at age eight. Ten years later she joined the Holiday on Ice show, which led to tours around the country and Europe. We sat down with Betty and asked her a few questions to learn about her amazing life, and what keeps her flying like a young woman at heart.

Q: You’ve ice skated, played polo for 15 years and mountain climbed among other things in your lifetime, but what makes a person try flying trapeze at the age of 78?

Betty Goedhart: I remember my parents took me to a circus as a little girl. I saw the flyers and thought that must be the most wonderful feeling in the world! I told myself, if I ever get the chance, I’m doing it. I watched a class at Trapeze High in Del Mar at the fairgrounds, now it’s in Escondido, and I loved it! After trying it I’ve been going back ever since. I do it four times a week. I can hardly wait for those days when I fly.

Q: What do people think about an 84-year-old that flies almost every morning?

BG: When I first went I had a lot of comments like, ‘You’re gonna get hurt,’ and this is ‘really stupid’ to do at this point in my life. My coach Dave Ayers told me, ‘If you do this, and pay attention to what I’m saying, you’ll be alright.’ The main thing I like about Dave is safety is number one in his book.

Q: What is the key to a longer, healthier life?

BG: I have been very fortunate that I grew up with a family that enjoyed simple, healthy food. And that has stayed with me all my life. Healthy eating habits, always having exercise in your life and making what you do something that you love is the key.

Q: Do you hope that what you’re doing inspires others to do something similar? How important is that to you?

BG: It’s very important to me! It’s one of the pleasures I get out of what I’m doing right now. I’ve watched people change their attitude toward things they normally wouldn’t do, and maybe I can influence someone that would never dream of doing something they never thought they could by just saying, ‘If she can do it, so can I.’

Q: Where did “razzle dazzle” come from?

BG: It’s a fun trick, and everyone wants to do it! I say to the kids from the top, ‘This is “razzle dazzle”’, and kids always come to Dave and ask to learn. On the platform, normally you call out what you’re doing, so it’s ‘razzle dazzle,’ jump off the platform, swing as far as you can, turn around on the bar, your feet come back to the platform, then you do a pike over the platform, then back out, then over the platform again, and then back out, and do a backflip onto the net. That’s it.

Q: When are you joining the circus?

BG: Well, I never really wanted to perform. It’s something that I can do for my health. And doing something that I really enjoy is really good for me. We do have shows at our club here about two to three times a year. We put on great little shows, and people who perform in Cirque du Soleil come to Dave to keep up their talents.

One time I did perform here and put on fake eyelashes, which I hadn’t done since I was an ice skater. I noticed I put the left one on and then the right, just like I use to put my left ice skate on, then my right one on. Those habits are still there. So I do enjoy the shows that we put on here.

Q: After flying trapeze, what’s next for you?

BG: I have thought about this. I do realize that I can’t do this forever. I belong to another keep fit club in San Diego. I go there twice a week. My workout is mostly stretching, and I work on silks. It’s super great to strengthen and stretch every muscle in my body, and that I can probably do forever. There’s always something you can do to enjoy where you are. I’m going to have fun with whatever I’m going to do!

Photoshoot Location:
Trapeze High
2470 Melru Ln
Escondido, CA 92026
619.318.0833