It all began in the spring of 1981, when two guys who worked in the Tool Design Department at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company decided to try to get a square dance club organized in the St. Louis West County area. Earl Kinsey had learned to call dances while he was in the military service overseas. Roy Winter, Jr., a teammate, was encouraged by his wife, Lorraine, to pair up with Earl in this endeavor.
The fellowship room at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Creve Coeur was the only facility found to be available at the time. Monday nights became the weekly dance schedule since all other evenings were being used by other organizations. Established area clubs warned that they'd never to able to succeed because most dancers preferred to attend dances held on weekend evenings. However, they had no choice so they decided to see if they could make it work.
Our first roster listed a membership of twelve couples, counting Earl & Lorraine Kinsey and Roy & Ginny Winters, the club founders. Earl was the caller for the Missouri Promenaders at the time and he encouraged several of the members of that club to become "angels" for our fledgling dance club. By the early part of 1982 we had enough members to become a bona fide square dance club. A constitution was drafted, naming Earl Kinsey as the official caller, and we joined the Greater St. Louis square dancing community.
An official name for our club was chosen from several suggested ones, we learned about Raids and Retrieves, how to share the responsibility of providing weekly refreshments, the need for a club banner and what, at that time, was considered appropriate square dancing apparel. When we added round dancing, Joe & Jo Carnivale were named as our official cuers. The major principle for establishing the West County Spinners was to provide an atmosphere of friendship, fun and acceptance of all.
Over the years our club has gone through many changes: from not sponsoring a new dancer class for several years to making it one of our most important endeavors. In 1988 the Carnivales moved to Texas, and Ollie & Donna Loehr became our official cuers. At the end of 2004, Ollie retired from cueing and Pat & Joe Hilton, though not officially named club cuers, agreed to cue rounds at many of our dances. We added several professional square dance callers to our regular schedule, and found these dances were too well-attended to in the St. Timothy's fellowship room. As we added more professional callers and our membership grew significantly, we were needing to find other facilities more and more often, and the fellowship room could no longer adequately accommodate most of our dances.
Trinity Lutheran Church's gymnasium, one of the alternative halls we used most frequently, had been obtained for several of our larger dances. In 2007, after much negotiation with Trinity, we reluctantly left St. Timothy's, our home for 25 years, and relocated to Trinity Lutheran Church in Chesterfield, our present dance location.
Over the years we have earned the "We Done It" award over 25 times, hosted many dances featuring national callers such as Tony Oxendine, Jerry Story, Tom Roper, Gary Shoemake, Mike Hogan, Tom Miller, Dee Dee Dougherty and more. We have graduated numerous new dancers from our beginner classes, hosted fabulous potluck Christmas parties, gone on hayrides, picnics and mystery raids and danced at Six Flags, Silver Dollar City, National Conventions as well as the 1987 VP Fair which was featured on national television.
A square dance club is only as good as its participating members. We have been most fortunate in having many dedicated dancers willing to give of their time and talents to keep the West County Spinners actively involved in a variety of social and benefit events. Our Activities Chairman, Raiding & Retrieving Chairmen and our officers have helped to make our club one of the finest in the area.
Our current membership consists of 144 dancers, including the most recent graduates from our class of new dancers. Our club is filled with a spirit of enthusiasm and friendship. We like to think of ourselves as the square dance club that emphasizes fun, laughter and an infectious spirit of camaraderie. It is our hope that all who attend our dances feel welcomed no matter their level of mastery of the calls. We want everyone to feel relaxed and find ample opportunities to laugh and thoroughly enjoy their time spent dancing with us.