When we got the German press release about the name change of Team Köln, I was too lazy to translate it. Now we had a big confusion about who is who. To clarify who was nominated for the European championships, let’s look back in history.
1958 – 2013 Jugendreitergruppe Köln
Nearly 60 years ago, the Jugendreitegruppe Köln was founded in Köln-Dünnwald. The English translation of the name would be “youth riding group Köln”, although there was never an intention to exclude adults.
In 1986, Brunhilde Vorberg taught the first vaulting lessons in the club. Her son was with her in the stables for every session. In later years, Kai Vorberg won no less than 12 individual championship medals. The team was successful as well.
In 1999, the team qualified for the European championships in Nitra, Slovakia, and won the bronze medal. Alexandra Knauf (lunger of German individual athlete Corinna Knauf), her sister Stephanie and Kai Vorberg were three of the eight plus one team members. Brunhilde Vorberg lunged the horse Kolumbus.
During that time they had sponsors such as the breeding stable Wintermühle and the shoe producer Bleyer. For both sponsors, they adopted the name for their competition team.
In 2009 the pas de deux Laura Passon and Bamdad Memarian won the first pas de deux European championships. In 2010, Neuss and Köln had some injuries in their top teams. The solution was to combine vaulters and music. They won the German championship.
Since 2013 Voltigierverein Köln-Dünnwald
In 2013, the JRG Köln was insolvent. The vaulters founded their own club “Voltigierverein Köln-Dünnwald” with Patric Looser as chairman.
Three years later, in August 2016, the first senior squad of the VV Köln-Dünnwald won the German championship for the first time (2010 there were three vaulters on the team, the lunger and the horse from Köln, plus three vaulters from Neuss).
In November 2016, the team changed its name again. They found a big sponsor, the company NORKA – Norddeutsche Kunststoff- und Elektrogesellschaft Stäcker mbH & Co. KG. To thank them and to advertise for them, the first team of the club is now competing as Team NORKA.
In 2017 they continued their success: coach Bamdad Memarian and Swiss lunger Patrick Looser (who has been living and training in Köln since 2005) qualified with their team for the European championship. So, it is the second time as a team for the vaulters from Köln.
JRGK, Team Bleyer, Team Wintermühle, Köln-Dünnwald, Team NORKA: Behind these names are the same people. The club is even at the same venue as in 1958. Today the members are only vaulters. Until 2013 there were 80 horses in the stables, today the club houses 18 horses, 15 are used for vaulting.
There are more vaulting clubs in and around Köln. Since Vaulting News is an international blog and only the vaulters of Köln-Dünnwald compete internationally, I always refer to them when I speak of “Köln”.