Beaumont Native is Rookie Texan Cheerleader

By HeatherNolan
Beaumont Enterprise

The first time Houston Texans Cheerleader Carrie Kaufman stepped onto the grass at Reliant Stadium, her toes went numb and chills ran up her body.

The gridiron field was nothing new to her – she was captain of the West Brook High School drill team during her senior year, and she was on the University of North Texas dance team.

The 71,500 fans – decked out in red, white and blue – cheering on their hometown team was something Kaufman could never prepare herself for when she hit the turf for the first time this fall.

“It was completely different from a high school or college game,” Kaufman, 27, said recently by phone. “There was so much excitement and everybody was screaming so loud. It was much more fun.”

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This is Kaufman’s rookie year with the Texans. She’s hoping that by working as a Texans representative, she can help shake off the negative notions many have about cheerleaders.

“There is a stereotype that cheerleaders are bimbos and don’t have brains, that they are the silliest people,” she said. “But we’re really not. It’s frustrating that people see you that way.”

To be a Texans cheerleader, Kaufman said each woman must be either a full-time student or full-time mom or have a full-time job.

“That’s one thing that makes me really proud to be on the team,” said Kaufman, who works in the public relations department at a Houston-based oil and gas company. “I am a career-driven person. I take my career very seriously, and one of my long-term goals is to make it up the corporate ladder.”

As a member of the cheerleading team, Kaufman said she must make 40 appearances throughout the year at community events, including fund-raisers or charity events. She enjoys the appearances, she said, because it gives her and the other women a chance to get to know their fans and dispel stereotypes.

Each week, Kaufman said every woman on the team is challenged, having to try out to make it on one of the teams that dances during the game.

[Carrie at HoustonTexans.com]

West Michigan ThunderHawks Hires Dance Team Director

The West Michigan ThunderHawks of the Indoor Football League continued preparations for the upcoming 2010 season by hiring Kimberly R. Herr as Director of Dance Team. Herr held a similar position with the AFLs Grand Rapids Rampage over the past two seasons.

Herr, a resident of Hudsonville, Michigan, led a team of 18 dancers that performed during games and also made many off-field appearances in the West Michigan community. Even after the AFL suspended operations in 2008, Herr kept the team together to continue fulfilling a busy schedule of appearance obligations and event requests, including the annual RAGE Pom & Dance Challenge for statewide high school teams, performing at Davenport University basketball games and participating in the Girls on the Run program.

Herr, who currently teaches at Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids, also has served ten years as the schools Varsity coach for pom and dance teams. Her teams qualified and competed in the UDA National Championships in Orlando, Florida from 2004-07 and earned Midwest Regional Class A Runner-Up in 2004.

Before receiving B.A.- and Masters Degrees from Grand Valley State University, Herr did undergraduate work at Central Michigan University where she was a co-captain on the CMU Chippettes Dance Team. Prior to that, Herr was a member of the East Kentwood High School Dance Team.

The girls on the team have a positive attitude, high energy level and are very team-oriented, said Herr, who is also a wife and mother. They put on fan-friendly performances, are good role models and represent the community and organization with class.

Herr added that her team worked with professional choreographers to enhance routines and practiced a couple of times per week. Team members must be polished dancers, high school graduates, and at least 18 years of age.

[West Michigan ThunderHawks]

Clippers Spirit

Profiles of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit are now online. Click here and check ’em out!

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The Jills at the Edge Jags Away Game Party

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Jills Jess and Stephanie at the Bill Away Game Party

More photos and a full report.

SI Gallery Update – NFL

This week, the Sports Illustrated NFL cheerleader gallery features the Bucs, Chiefs, Patriots, and Ravens Cheerleaders. Click here to go there now.

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Dara McFarlane

2009-lakers_dara_cropFinding favor
By TED DUNNAM
http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2009/11/25/friendswood_journal/sports/11-26_dara_story.txt”>The Friendswood Journal
11.25.09

Talk about having the best of both worlds.

She’s not even 21 years old and already she’s a two-year veteran of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and currently a member of the NBA’s gold-standard cheerleading team, the Laker Girls.

Friendswood High School product Dara says she’s thankful for her good fortune.

“I consider myself to be very blessed,” Dara said. “To be only 18 years old and still in high school and be with the Cowboy cheerleaders…that was amazing.

“I live my life one day at a time, and I’m very spontaneous. Those were two years of my life that I could never have imagined, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

From patrolling the sidelines in front of 60,000 Dallas Cowboy for two seasons, Dara is now part of the Los Angeles glitterati, albeit in front of a much smaller crowd, but just as rowdy.

“Honestly, it feels like it’s the same amount of people because they’re so much closer to you,” Dara said. “It’s a more personal experience than a Cowboys game – and a Laker game is much more of a show.

“There are a lot of differences. At the basketball games, we black-out the entire arena, have the big screen drop, do a pre-game video, and we’re right there next to the players.”

Dara will also be working as many as 40 games this season, including the playoffs, compared to eight regular season games with the DCC.

“I think the number one difference between the two squads is that I’m not using pom-poms as a Laker Girl,” she said. “It’s very different, routine-wise, too. We’re on the court in tennis shoes and the style is more fun and upbeat. We play up to the crowd a lot more, also.”

It may not be all fun and games for Dara, but it’s close enough.

When she’s not burning calories on the basketball court, Dara’s a student at Santa Monica College majoring in communications and public relations.

Dara certainly didn’t venture west just to audition for the Laker Girls, but that was definitely an eye-catching incentive.

“I love it – I have family here which makes it a little easier,” she said. “I think maybe I was meant to be a California girl.

“I was just so thankful to have family and friends out here when I made the move.”

As for auditioning for the Laker Girls, Dara says she went in to the tryouts with the attitude of the letting the chips fall where they may.

“For me, my approach was very open-minded,” she said. “I’m very confident in what I can do, but I never go into anything believing it’s a done deal.

“You never know exactly what they want in the look or the style. And if I hadn’t made the team, that would have been OK. But it’s great to start over in a new place with new people.”

Dara says she doesn’t miss the opportunity of performing in the new Cowboys Stadium.

“I’ve thought about that, but I know that I can always go back and visit, and I can always say I was one of the last cheerleaders to perform in Texas Stadium,” she said. “That very last game there was really cool.

“But I’ll say this – I do envy the girls’ new locker room.”

When one navigates through Dara’s fitness profile on the Laker Girls’ website, a plethora of information can be found on working out and eating properly.

But even a Laker Girl cheerleader can stray from the healthy diet every now and then – and still maintain almost zero body fat.

“I really like every food possible,” Dara said. “But if I could have one meal…it would probably be Taco Bell.

“Or I can eat ice cream all day long – especially if it’s Marble Slab birthday cake ice cream with sprinkles. What I really miss is not having Whataburger out here. I can always go for a regular Whataburger with jalapenos. I also love Pot Belly’s – they’re super good.

“I’m a food junkie – I could also eat vegetables all day long.”

And you, too, can dine to your heart’s content at all of those places and maintain a sleek figure – if you follow Dara’s regimen:

Work on dance technique 2-3 hours, take jazz, hip-hop and contemporary classes, perform cardio exercises, lift weights and do ab crunches on a daily basis.

That doesn’t include twice-a-week workouts with the Laker Girls that last almost four hours each.

“Lisa (Estrada) is a great director,” Dara said. “We don’t work out that often, but you work really hard. You get in and get the job done.

“She tells you ‘you’re working – this is your job’. And that’s how it should be approached. Working with the Cowboys’ cheerleaders was just as rigorous.”

Off the court, Dara finds herself equally occupied.

“In working charity events and making appearances, we’re constantly on the go,” she said. “But I like to be kept busy, so I think that’s great.”

And to be associated with the defending NBA Champions is a perfect fit, also.

“It’s fantastic to be a part of team that won it all last year,” Dara said. “It’s pretty much like it was in Dallas – the Lakers have a lot of die-hard fans.

“I’d love for the Lakers to win it again, and obviously, I think we have a great shot at doing that.”

Although Dara could have a lengthy future as a professional cheerleader, she hasn’t made a definite decision concerning that part of her life.

“I’m told I need to enjoy it while I can, and I’ll do it as long as God allows me,” she said. “Dancing is something I don’t want to get burned out on.”

She realizes, though, that education is the backbone of what lies ahead.

“My major is communications and I’ve been talking with my dad (David) about my future,’’ Dara said. “My minor is broadcast journalism and I wouldn’t mind being on television as an anchor or whatever capacity I’m needed. I’m a big people-person so I’d be open to a lot of things.”

As for the holiday season, Dara already has a couple of treats planned.

“On Thanksgiving, I’ll be home to celebrate with my family (her dad, her mother Pam, and sister Raguel),” she said. “And I’ll also be there to help my dad celebrate his birthday.

“Then, I’ll be bringing the family out to California in December to have a West Coast Christmas.”

So whether working, going to school or enjoying the holiday season, Dara’s experiencing a pretty nice year-round gig.

“I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed,” she said. “I don’t know of a better way to say it.”

Dallas Stars Ice Girls

INdividual photos of the 2009-10 Dallas Stars Ice Girls are now online. Click here to go there now.

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Bruins Ice Girls

Individual profiles for the Bruins ice Girls have been posted on the Bruins website. Click here to learn about the ladies on the team.
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Orlando Magic

New wallpapers for the 2009-10 Orlando Magic dancers are now online. Click here to see who is on the team!

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NFL.com gallery – week #11

This week NFL.com showcases cheerleaders from the Texans, Rams, Bucs, Chiefs, Patriots, Ravens, Raiders, Jaguars, Cowboys, Vikings, Panthers, and Broncos. (They also have a couple photos of the “Packers Cheerleaders,” but it’s just not the same thing.)

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Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders Around Town

Reader James was at the Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show in Oaks, PA, on Saturday. Four Eagles Cheerleaders there to promote the Radisson Aruba Resort. That resort is where the cheerleader calendar photos were taken earlier this year.

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Jessica and Ayva

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Tracey and Stephanie

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Ayva

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Stephanie

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Tracey

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Stephanie

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Tracey and Stephanie again

Chicago Slaughter Dance Team Auditions

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[Chicago Slaughter Dance Team]

Luvabulls Update

The 2009-10 Luvabulls dancers are now online. Click here to read the profiles and view their individual videos.

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New MVC Photos

New team photos of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders have been posted on the Vikings website. Click here to check them out. They also have a couple of larger wallpaper versions here.


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2009-10 MVC captains Ellie, Pamela, Sarah, Kara, Kristina, and Krisan.

NFL Week #11 – Carolina TopCats – Part 2

A second batch of TopCats photos from last Thursdays Dolphins-Panthers game courtesy of reader Kevin.

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[Carolina TopCats]