Current members of the Denver Kickers Adult Schuhplattlers include: Kurt and Christine Baal, Rudy and Connie Bettman, Joe Deffert, Tyler and Trisha Dreiling, Cliff and Margie Florentin, Connor Gertje, Karl Groesser, Nick Groesser, Alexa Groesser, Corinna Roberts, Steve and Debbie Rock, Gina Sferezza, Kevin and Heidi Urie, Travis Urie, Austin Urie and Bonnie VanBibber.
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The Denver Kickers Schuhplattlers group has a history that goes back to 1960 when Franz Gruenwald was the official Vorplattler (male group leader). Mr. Gruenwald began teaching the Denver Kickers dance group authentic and traditional Bavarian folk and plattler dances through practices that started at the Denver Turnverein, near downtown Denver. The Kicker’s Schuhplattler group continued practicing at the Denver Turnverein until the Kickers acquired and moved into their Golden, Colorado clubhouse (red schoolhouse) in 1969.
In 1961, Karl Groesser took on the Vorplattler position and continued leading the Kickers dance tradition for over 30 years. While under Karl’s watch, the Schuhplattlers performed at a myriad of venues across the western United States, traveling to places like Rapid City, South Dakota; Hays, Kansas; destinations in Nebraska and Wyoming; and many Oktoberfest’s and events in Colorado at locations such as Vail, Snowmass, Paonia, Broadmoor, Cherry Hills Country Club, Air Force Academy, Denver Country Club, Denver Athletic Club, Keystone Resorts, Garden of the Gods and the Lowry Officers Club.
On multiple occasions, the Schuhplattlers group would travel by charter buses to Rapid City with the Karl Heinz Schlitter band. Several other bands have supported and performed with the Schuhplattlers group over many years, including Franz Meyer’s band, Rick Borger’s band, Steve Rock’s band, and the Steve Fleight band.
While under Karl’s watch, the Schuhplattlers continued to perform at the Larimer Square Oktoberfest for 20 years, and the Denver Kickers Oktoberfest at Heritage Square for 6 years. Karl took the dance group to Pueblo for their inaugural Oktoberfest back in 1991, and the dance group has been performing there every year since, which was 29 years this past September.
Andy Wittek became the Vorplattler in 1992, then Kevin and Heidi (Groesser) Urie began leading the adult and youth groups in 1993, when Kevin became the Vorplattler. Kevin and Heidi have carried on the dancing traditions of the Club and the example of Heidi’s father, Karl Groesser, by leading both the adult and youth dance groups for nearly 20 years. Steve and Debbie Rock took the lead with the youth dance group and have been teaching our youth dancers for many years.