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Rising Stars And A Feeling of Family At A Gym Growing Like The City It Is In

Article by Sharla Davenport

Photography by Holly Farrow

Originally published in Celina Lifestyle

How does a former professional fighter from Brooklyn, New York end up in Celina, Texas owning a cheer and tumble gym? When Jay Rock, owner of Rock City Cheer and Tumble, moved to Texas almost thirty years ago, it was to pursue his fighting career.  While the road may have been paved with good intentions, sometimes life has other plans.

As a former elite gymnast, Jay would often tumble at local Dallas gyms in his spare time to keep up his skills and work out.  It did not take long for people to take notice. Coaches asked Jay for pointers of how to teach their students better, students would ask him to help them improve, and parents would ask for him to give private lessons. He ran clinics at gyms all over Dallas. At one point, Jay had four jobs at multiple gyms, ultimately leading to a head coaching job where he got his start.

Jay’s reputation grew, increasing his private lessons with students. He realized most cheer and tumbling gyms lacked proper techniques and appropriate skill level for athletes. This became a full-time job so he realized he should open his own gym. In 1998, he opened Jay Rock's Gym in Dallas which he operated for over twenty years.

During this time he noticed a demand for gyms farther north, so in July 2019 Jay and Kristen Rock opened Rock City Cheer and Tumble in Celina. He found a great building off CR 86 “by the big water tower”.

Jay introduced himself to the Celina pee wee cheerleading program and he and Kristen helped coach their camps. People immediately enrolled at Rock City and the students went from 40 children to approximately 150 children in the first five months. Rock City’s growth stalled during the pandemic where Jay had to improvise to “stay afloat” making training videos and coaching private lessons as the pandemic lessened. In 2021, Rock City literally “rocked” it’s come back with upwards of 600 students including six competitive (All-Star) cheer teams.  The comp teams placed in the top three for all local cheer competitions. Last May, Rock City ranked 24th out of 112 teams at All-Star Worlds in Orlando, Florida.

Rock City has recently expanded due to its popularity and word of mouth. The expansion includes a second gym of equal space, across from the original building. 

When asked the advantages of attending Rock City (besides being local), Jay mentions several. First, the learning ratio is approximately 6:1 meaning six students to one coach. Most gyms are double that size.  Second, all Rock City team coaches are 23+ years old providing experience and real-world knowledge. Finally, Rock City promotes students on individual skills. Many gyms keep higher level athletes on lower-level teams focusing on winning competitions, instead of advancing their students. Jay believes when you help the student grow, the team will grow and succeed as well. 

Jay Rock has a passion for his job. “I love what I do,” he says. “It’s all play time for me. I love my staff. We are a big family.”  Having a coaching staff with morals and values is very important to Jay. He notes “it’s not the talking, it’s the behavior” when it comes to staffing. In fact, their Mission Statement is to impart “strong character virtues.” With Kristen Rock as the gym manager, and the amazing coaching staff, Jay feels confident that these values will be upheld. 

Jay Rock loves Celina and has many goals for Rock City Cheer & Tumble as well as his "family" of coaches. He knows a goal without a plan is just a wish, but life’s plans often guide you in the right direction.

For more information on classes, camps, teams, private lessons and open gym, visit:

Rock City Cheer & Tumble

4295 County Rd 86, Celina, TX 75009


  • Photo credit: Kacey Boston