Congress

Lil’ Wranglers warm up for Inauguration Day by performing for Ted Cruz

Lil Wranglers perform for Sen. Ted Cruz

The Lil' Wranglers performed in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, Jan. 17 for Sen. Ted Cruz during his "Tuesday Tea" event. The Wranglers, a Texas-themed dance troupe from College Station, are in Washington for President-elect Donald Trump' i
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The Lil' Wranglers performed in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, Jan. 17 for Sen. Ted Cruz during his "Tuesday Tea" event. The Wranglers, a Texas-themed dance troupe from College Station, are in Washington for President-elect Donald Trump' i

The tunnels beneath the U.S. Capitol were overrun with cowboy-boot-clad Texans on Tuesday morning.

But the boot-wearers weren’t a group of slick-talking lobbyists meeting with a congressman or a cadre of local politicians making a bold fashion statement. They were a gaggle of nearly 50 kids waiting to jump and swing for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Lil’ Wranglers, a College Station-based dance troupe with a new studio in Fort Worth, had dozens of kids flipping and contorting as country music boomed from a portable speaker.

Cruz was visibly amused.

The Lil’ Wranglers will perform live from McClatchy’s Washington bureau on Wednesday at noon CST. Check out the performance at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Facebook page.

“I’m particularly happy to see the ratio of boots to people in Washington, D.C., go up,” Cruz said, prompting laughter from the crowd. “I’m proud of you all for repping our great state.”

The Lil’ Wranglers are in town to perform in Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day parade on Friday, where dance partners ranging in age from 8 to 18 will march down Pennsylvania Avenue in cowboy hats and boots while dancing to country music.

“We had to create something original to do Wrangler-style while moving and marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” said the group’s founder, Sharon Toups. “It’s challenging because I have to teach the kids how to keep moving and stay in formation. which is not that easy with kids. It takes many hours of practice to get ready.”

READ MORE: Lil’ Wranglers will bring Texas flair to Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities

The kids, fresh off the Washington Metro subway with no time to warm up, swung their partners around their arms and legs and even hoisted each other near the 15-foot-high ceilings.

“The Lil’ Wranglers are fabulously talented; they’re doing great things,” Cruz said. “I just wish my little girls – Caroline and Catherine, they’re 8 and 6 – I wish they would have been here because they would have jumped out and joined you guys. Now, they don’t know any of the dance moves, so they just would’ve jumped on someone’s back.”

While the Wranglers will be at Trump’s inauguration, Cruz was asked about politicians, including Texas Democratic U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro and Al Green, who have announced they will not attend.

“Any politician, Democrat or Republican, who is angry with the American people over the election results better reconsider what the heck it is you’re doing, because every one of us is elected to work for the people, and that attitude I hope we see reflected from both parties,” said Cruz, a late and lukewarm Trump backer who lost to the New York businessman in the Republican presidential primary.

The Wranglers are one of three Texas groups, including the the Texas State Strutters, from San Marcos, and the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, based at Fort Hood, who are scheduled to participate in the parade. The Strutters and 1st Calvary Division have performed at inaugurations before, while the Wranglers will be marching in their first presidential parade.

“They’re wonderful. They’re going to represent Texas fabulously,” Cruz said. “I’m going to be cheering for them, and I know everyone else is going to be, too. I know Texas is proud that we have young men and women that are here standing up for our state and standing up for our country.”

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

See the Lil’ Wranglers online

The Lil’ Wranglers will perform live from McClatchy’s Washington bureau on Wednesday at noon CST. Check out the performance at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Facebook page.

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