Club History

The Toe Draggers had their beginnings from two square dance classes at the Rock Creek Campus of the Portland Community College in the mid 1970’s with Carl Decker as instructor. The classes decided to form a club one night after a class while sitting in a restaurant, visiting. They decide they needed a club name, club colors, club outfits and club badges with significant meaning to represent their group and future members of the club.

The "Toe Draggers" name was chosen because most of the group at that time thought they had "two left feet". They decide on black and blue for club colors of outfits because of the bruises they had to endure while the "two left feet" dancers learned to square dance. Each person could choose their own style of outfit to represent one’s own personality. Club badges were selected in the shape and color of a bruised foot. Thus, the club was as "one" in colors, but "different" in each outfit to represent the many personalities and talents of the club.

They needed four full squares of dancers to become members of the Portland Area Council of Square Dancers, but because of their size of just under two squares, they were accepted as associate members of the Council.

Their first home was at the Capital Hill Dance Club on SW 17th and Marigold in Portland in 1976. They eventually moved to the Kinton Grange Hall in 1980.

The Toe Draggers became an incorporated non-profit club in November of 1980 and members of the Tualatin Valley Council of Square Dancers.

Through the years, Carl Decker and his wife Dorothy, were always there for the Toe Draggers activities, with Carl calling square dances and cueing on tape for round dances and Dorothy lending support for lessons and the club. They watched their small group grow year after year, like a family. Carl and Dorothy retired from Toe Draggers in June of 1990 to travel and spend more time with their own children and grandchildren.

Bev Flint became the Toe Draggers full time round dance cuer in 1989. Bev and her husband, Harlan, had been members of the Toe Draggers for many years and she recognized a need for a full time round dance cuer for the club. She represents one of the many talents in the club and has been a great asset to the club.

Tom Arbuckle became our caller in December of 1990, after completing a course of square dance calling. Tom and his wife, Sharon, were influential in the growth and prosperity of the Toe Draggers family of dancers. Tom resigned as club caller in October of 1998 in order to spend more time with his other singing interests.

Darrel Newell became our caller in March 1999. He had just completed a course of square dance calling, also. This talented caller and his wife, Juanita called for the Toe Draggers for several enjoyable years. In 2005, the couple purchased "Mondiki" a Square Dance Apparel manufacturer and retired from full time calling at the end of the year.

Beginning in 2006, our present caller, K.C. Curtis, started with the Toe Draggers. K.C. and his wife Linda have been dancing and very active in square and round dancing for several years. He has had a lifetime of singing and playing various instruments.