Photo of the Day – September 30

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A Trio of New York Lizards Dancers

Road Trip 2015 – The Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders

This past weekend, I made a road trip to visit the Phoenix area and to see the 2015 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders in person. I have covered their auditions over the past several years, but this year I was not able to attend and I was very interested in seeing the new squad in person. They have a new director, Kristina Ferdig who was a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader and I was looking forward to seeing the changes she brought to the sidelines being that it has been a couple of years since I last attended a game here.

And I was very pleasantly surprised. The girls are gorgeous and there are more opportunities to photograph the girls interacting with the crowd, which for me was the reason why I came to Phoenix.

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Roll Call: 2015 Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders

The Ravens have finally updated their cheerleader pages for the 2015-16 NFL season. Alas, they’ve once again left the fellas out, but click here to learn more about the ladies on the team.

Amber Lynn,  Jackie,  and Melissa

Amber Lynn, Jackie, and Melissa

Some things never change, Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg cheering for the Vikings in the National Football League

Twin sisters Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming professional cheer and dance team members in the NFL
Tim Evans
Augustana University
September 29, 2015

Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg cheer for the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium last Sunday

Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg cheer for the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium last Sunday

Some things never change. The same mantra goes for former Augustana student-athletes and current members of the Minnesota Viking Cheerleading team Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg.

Cheering for the Augustana Vikings as kids, cheer and dance team members, and now alumnae, they still cheer for the Vikings, with the only difference being the level of play and the color of the uniform.

Sioux Falls natives and twin sisters, Karmen and Kirsten Nyberg fulfilled a life-long dream and became members of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleading team this summer. Growing up in Sioux Falls, Karmen and Kirsten were immersed into Augustana athletic events at a young age but neither really remembers the games. It was the cheerleaders that caught their attention.

“We grew up going to Augustana football games and rather than watch the game, we would watch the cheerleaders on the sideline,” Karmen said. “We were always just blown away by them and it was something we knew we always wanted to try.”

You would not have been able to find a busier pair of student-athletes on campus during their time at Augustana. Karmen and Kirsten never had a season off. Preparing for cheer and dance in the late parts of summer and into the fall, they also spent numerous hours on the track in the Elmen Center in preparation for the indoor track and field season. As the winter wore on, cheer and dance resumed, now moved indoors to basketball games, but the training never ceased as the two were talented sprinters and relay runners on the Vikings track and field squad.

“We really learned about time management and dedication during our time at Augustana being involved in so many things,” Karmen said. “We’ve definitely benefitted from that now being a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader.”

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The hectic schedule and lifestyle has helped them adapt to the life in professional sports and being a member of a professional cheer and dance team. Karmen and Kirsten can now be found substitute teaching in the Minneapolis area as well as attending graduate school all while juggling the craziness that ensues with being a member of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleading team.

When able to make it work with the schedule, Kirsten can be found student teaching while Karmen is attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota.

“One of the great things about being at Augustana is we were fortunate enough to be able to do all the activities we wanted to, cheer, dance and track and field,” Kirsten said. “Having that experience and being able to manage all of that plus academics has helped us manage the transition and schedule both personally and professionally.”

Not only will you find Karmen and Kirsten on the sideline at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday’s, the two are also required to practice three times a week as well as make community engagement appearances throughout the season.

The two have experienced a whirlwind of changes since making the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleading team in May, but the one thing that has remained constant in their lives is each other.

“Being twins, we have a unique experience,” Kirsten said. “We have always done similar activities growing up, including everything at Augustana between cheer, dance and track and field. I don’t think we would have gone through this without each other. It has always been a big dream and goal of ours to cheer professionally together and if one of us had done this without the other, we would have felt incomplete.”

Since graduating from Augustana in 2014 the two have felt a void in their life and wanted to take on the challenge of making the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleading team.

“We weren’t ready to be done with cheerleading and dance,” Kirsten said. “Having been involved in it for so long, we knew that the next challenge for us was to try get to that top tier level of cheer and dance and that is the NFL. Growing up in Sioux Falls we have always been Viking fans so it felt like the right fit.”

Karmen and Kirsten will be making appearances as Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders in Sioux Falls this weekend and will also be attending the Augustana football game against Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday. Prior to Saturday’s game, Karmen and Kirsten will make an appearance at Nyberg’s Ace on 41st and Minnesota from 10-11:30 a.m. where they will meet and greet and sign autographs.

The two will then make their way to Kirkeby-Over Stadium where they will attend the pregame tailgate event from 12-1 p.m. Earlier that day, they will also make an appearance at Augustana’s junior cheer and dance camp. To join Karmen and Kirsten at Augustana’s junior cheer and dance camp, register HERE.

“I’m excited to get back and be a part of the cheer and dance clinic,” Kirsten said. “Sharing my passion for cheer and dance with the participants and letting them know if they work hard and they want to be a professional cheerleader, they can.”

Karmen is looking forward to getting back to Augustana to experience a game day as a fan again but is also excited for the opportunity to share her experience in achieving a dream.

“Hopefully we can help give the girls an incentive to continue to chase their dreams,” Karmen said. “I never would have thought growing up in Sioux Falls that I would become an NFL cheerleader. Hopefully that if it is something they learn they want to achieve, if they work hard, they can.”

The Gotham City Cheerleaders

From rehearsing at Redd’s to entertaining fans outside MetLife Stadium, it’s always a fun time when I visit the Gotham City Cheerleaders. Follow them on twitter and help get them inside the stadium.

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Twenty Years Ago the Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Calendar Debuted

By Ben Crandell
SouthFlorida.com

It’s been 20 years since Marcy Crowe quickened the pulse of the men of South Florida with something they had never seen before: a Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders swimsuit calendar.

Crowe, then Marcy Kislia, a Florida State graduate from Boca Raton, was the first cover model for the publication that has become a much-anticipated rite of the season.

Such is the interest in the calendar now that the team has created an event around the unveiling, which for this year’s 20th calendar takes place on Friday at the remodeled Sun Life Stadium. Highlighted by a swimsuit fashion show, proceeds from the evening will help fund the high-profile charity work of the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

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Marcy Crowe in a photo taken for the first Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders calendar, which debuted 20 years ago.

“Everything is so much bigger and better and brighter since I was there,” Crowe, 42, says.

There was no calendar when Dorie Grogan, who now carries the title of senior director of entertainment and brand impact for the squad, arrived after five years as a cheerleader with the Dallas Cowboys. The calendar was her idea, and she organized the photo shoots around Miami, but no one was sure anything would come of it, Crowe says.

One day Grogan walked into the cheerleaders’ stadium studio with an armful of calendars and handed them out to the women seated on the floor, Crowe says. If that unveiling lacked the pomp and glamour of this weekend’s affair, the cheerleaders then were no less happy.

“We weren’t sure if it was going to happen, and she made it happen. The quality is not at all what they are now, but it was just exciting that we even had one,” says Crowe, also “very excited” to be attending Friday night’s event.

Crowe, later a choreographer with the squad, went on to get a master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University and is now a stay-at-home mother of three boys, ages 11, 9 and 6. She doesn’t talk much about her cheerleading days, in the same way her husband, Andy, doesn’t wear the 1993 national championship ring he received as an FSU football player (a center and long snapper, he later played in the NFL with the Chicago Bears).

But she’s not shy about pointing out the hard work the cheerleaders are putting in on the sidelines when the family is watching Dolphins and FSU games. It’s a tough crowd.

“The boys will say, “We know, Mom,” Crowe says, imitating their exasperation. “And they sure don’t like to see me dancing around the kitchen, I can tell you that.”

Photo of the Day – September 29

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An Arizona Rattlers Sidewinder

Introducing the New 2016 MPFL San Antonio Warrior Maiden Dancers!

Fourteen ladies from the San Antonio, Texas area were selected on September 22nd at the Josephine Theatre Dance & Fitness Studio to be the dance/cheer/promotion squad for San Antonio’s football team the MPFL San Antonio Warriors of the Minor Professional Football League.

Contestants attended an orientation meeting and attended two prep audition classes prior to auditions and three hopefuls and the director helped promote the auditions beforehand by making and appearance and performing on the local KSAT 12 SA Live TV show.

The San Antonio Warrior Football Organization established since 2004 is proud to announce that after 4 years they were able to recruit Cynthia Trinidad back as their Dance director who was the Warrior Cheerleader director from 2006-2011 she is also a former NBA Spurs Dancer and former NFL Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

Former Warrior Cheerleader Melinda Tapia was named Assistant Director and former Warrior Cheerleader Erynn Moore was named choreographer and the Warrior Maidens are looking forward to their first pre-season charity football game this December for the Warriors annual “Toy Bowl “that collects toys for charity organizations.

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Congratulations ladies!! From left to right Front row: Kristen, Christina, Mikayla, Taylor, Gabrielle, Daniela and Jacqueline. Second row: Alexis, Felica, Director Cynthia Trinidad, Niqwa and Ana. Back row: Dominique, Angela and Cassie.

[Maidens on Facebook]

[Maidens on the Warriors website]

Dolphins Alumni Cheerleader Recalls Cheering During Undefeated Season

By Leslie Gray Streeter
Palm Beach Post

In the history of the National Football League, only one team – the 1972 Miami Dolphins – had a completely perfect season, undefeated from their opening game until their Super Bowl victory. Die-hard fan and Boca Raton native Teresa Vignau is one of the few people who can say they were on the field for the entire season.

But she didn’t actually tell anybody for almost 30 years.

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“With the feminist movement, I didn’t even let anyone know I was a Dolphins cheerleader until my 40s,” admits Vignau, now a retired teacher and Boynton Beach resident. “I was not really on the cheerleader wavelength. But when as I got older I realized how really special it was. It led to the Super Bowl. It didn’t get better than that!”

This Sunday, Vignau, 64, along with a few other Palm Beach County residents and former cheerleaders, will be there when the Dolphins take on the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium as part of a celebration of those cheerleaders, “Past, Present and Future.”

“They used to do it every year, but now it’s every three years,” says the retired St. Andrews Academy drama teacher, who hearkens back to the Fins’ days at the Orange Bowl, where the cheerleaders had to buy pillows to go under their go-go boots lest the heels sink into the hot, hot AstroTurf. She’s participated nearly every year since the alumni have appeared since around 2000, because “I thought ‘I wanna do that! I wanna go on the field where Dan Marino walked!’”

Coming off a winning but non-championship 1971 season, the Dolphins held cheerleader tryouts at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where Vignau, then a student, says she decided it would be fun to “get season tickets for dancing. That seemed like a cool deal.” At the time, the team trained at St. Andrews, where her father was a teacher at the time, and where she eventually would work, so it seemed like a good idea.

So for a year, she got paid $15 a game, from the season opener until she found herself “flying on an old National Airlines 747, with the coaches’ wives and trainers” to the Super Bowl. In those days, the squad was “very collegiate in moves. “Now they have all these pelvic lifts,” she says. “They’re great athletes, fabulously talented dancers. I love that they’re so graceful. I just wish they’d wear a little more clothing.”

After that perfect season, Vignau realized that continuing as a cheerleader would be an incredible time commitment, and with school and a serious boyfriend who would become her husband, she thought ‘How do you do better than that?’”

Now she looks forward to getting with alumni cheerleaders, including locals like Angel Wrona of Lake Worth and Danielle O’Connell Murphy of Delray Beach. It’s become a great memory, she says, of her part of “an unbelievably cool thing. Not quite as cool as walking on the moon, but cool.”

The Miami Dolphins take on the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS, featuring a performance by alumni Dolphins cheerleaders, current squadmembers and young dancers, some of whom are daughters of alumni members.

Photo of the Day – September 28

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A pair of Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Roll Call: Washington Redskins Ambassadors

Bios for the 2015-16 have been updated on the Redskins website. Click here to go there now!

2015 WRC Ambassador

NFL.com: 2015 cheerleaders – preseason and week 1

Click here for preseason pics, and click here for photos from week 1!

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Roll Call: 2015 GoldRush

The San Francisco 49ers website has been updated with new uniform photos and bios for this year’s team of cheerleaders. Click here to check it out!

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Endicott Student Joins New England Patriots Cheerleaders

By Christopher Hurley
WickedLocalBeverly.com

Nicole Manelas is gearing up for game day.

pats1 The Endicott College junior is one of the newest members of the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. Manelas is one of 11 rookies who made the 28-member squad, chosen from a field of 250 hopefuls who attended open auditions over the summer.

The Pelham, N.H., native will now be spending her Sundays on the sidelines, cheering on Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the defending Super Bowl champions in front a packed house of 68,000 at Gillette Stadium.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Manelas, 20. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, so to be able to dance for the four-time Super Bowl champs on the field is absolutely amazing.”

Manelas first introduced herself to the Foxborough faithful during a pair of exhibition games against the Green Bay Packers (Aug. 13) and the New York Giants (Aug. 27).

“The first time hitting that field was surreal,” Manelas said. “I used to be a fan coming to this stadium and now I was seeing it from a different perspective. It was just crazy. I used to watch the cheerleaders, now I’m one of them.”

“I thought it would be a lot scarier then it was,” she added. “But you get right into it.”

But the real fun came a little later, when the team kicked off it regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium. The pregame festivities were a top-notch affair, as Patriots Hall of Famers Ty Law, Troy Brown, Willie McGinist and team owner Robert Kraft, each took the field holding all four Vince Lombardi Super Bowl championship trophies.

“The opening ceremonies were really special,” said Manelas, who danced as T-Pain performed his hit ‘All I Do is Win.’ “The crowd was so excited, and there was just this amazing energy filling the stadium. Then the banner was revealed and chills ran through my body. Being able to be apart of that was an experience of a lifetime.”

pats2Manelas and her squad also got a great workout, performing after each touchdown in thrilling 28-21 opening night victory

”Being able to cheer on the New England Patriots from the sidelines is the best,” Manelas said. “I’m doing what I love for my favorite team.”

Humble beginnings

Manelas first picked up the pom-poms at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, N.H., where she was a cheerleader through her sophomore year. But her biggest love has always been in dance.

“I’ve just been drawn to it since I was little,” Manelas said. “It was always been something that I loved to do. It was an outlet to express myself and to get out some emotions. That’s pretty much what dance has been for me, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Manelas is currently majoring in Business Entrepreneurship at Endicott, with minor in dance. She was a member of the Gulls Dance team both her freshman and sophomore year, before trying out for the Patriots Cheerleaders during the offseason.

“I really didn’t expect to make the team the first time,” she admitted. ”Although I didn’t get to finish out my four years dancing for Endicott, I still love the program and I will support it the rest of the time I’m here.”

She is the latest Gulls Dancer to hit the big time. Returning Patriots Cheerleader Karen Link also danced at Endicott two years ago.

“Karen actually helped me a lot through the audition process,” Manelas said. “When we got to finals at boot camp I actually got to audition with her, which was funny. I got to know her when she’d come by to visit the team and was a huge help. It’s cool that she came from the same school.”

Link’s college roommate, Cara Desjarlais, is also a member of Boston Celtics Dancers. Manelas is thrilled to be continuing the program’s rich tradition.

“Endicott has a great dance program here,” Manelas said. “They’re a very competitive team, it’s not just a hobby or just for fun, it’s really a sport. It teaches you discipline and time management. If I hadn’t had that before jumping right into something as involved as the New England Patriots Cheerleaders, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Making the move

Auditioning for the Patriots Cheerleaders was a grueling month-long process for the aspiring dancer. She initially had to learn a few short routines, before the first wave of cuts.

“There were a lot of girls,” Manelas recalled. “Everyone is beautiful, and everyone is there for the same reason, to earn a spot on the team. It can be intimidating, but I kept my eye on the prize.”

Over the next few weeks, the cheerleaders were put through the paces. They learned several new routines, before having an interview session with New England Patriots Cheerleading Coach Tracy Sormanti, as well going through a swimsuit competition.

“As a dancer that wasn’t necessarily in my comfort zone, but it went well,” said Manelas, who was also tested with a round of football trivia, before performing two full routines with another cheerleader followed by a solo spot.

After surviving another round of cuts, Manelas embarked on cheerleader boot camp, which marked the final round of the audition process.

“That was when the personal trainer come in, and it is hardcore workouts,” Manelas said. “I think we learned five new dance routines at boot camp. Then it was knocked down to 40 girls.”

“By this time, you make friends with all the others girls, and now you really, really want to make the team because you’ve already built relationships,” she added. “That (process can be) pretty brutal, just because you’ve made it for so long.”

Manelas and the rest of the finalist found out if they made the team via a posting on the team’s website at the end of March.

“I didn’t eve want to look,” she admitted. “You put your heart and soul into it for a month and spend your whole life training, it was really nerve-wracking. I was very anxious, but the feeling is like no other when you see your name on that list. It’s the beginning of a whole new journey.”

As she gears up for Sunday’s tilt against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sept. 27 (1 p.m. kickoff), the rookie feels this may be the start of something big.

“I’m just ready for a super exiting season with the Patriots,” Manelas said. “Tom Brady is back, so I think it’s going to be awesome and maybe even lead to a fifth (Super Bowl) ring.”

And the Pats can count on Manelas to be cheering them on every step of the way.

Danielle Demski On Her Tennis Channel Show ‘Fit To Hit,’ Health, Fitness And More

The Tennis Channel’s Danielle Demski opened up to HNGN about all things tennis including her new show “Fit to Hit.”

HNGN.com

Danielle Demski can do it all. She is a model, TV host, a former Miss USA finalist and was even a cheerleader for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Now she’s co-hosting the Tennis Channel’s “Fit to Hit” series, which aims to inform viewers about sports nutrition and fitness while revealing the tenis secrets that can give any weekend player an edge.

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Demski brings her love of the game to the show and has even picked up a few new skills of her own.

“I implement [new techniques] into my game with friends. I was just playing with my friend the other day and she was like, ‘Wow, great backhand!’ ” Demski told Headlines and Global News in an exclusive interview.

The Arizona State graduate spoke to HNGN about her passion for the sport, how she stays fit and healthy and reveals the one tennis player she’d be terrified to go up against!

You recently started a new job at the Tennis Channel hosting a show called “Fit to Hit.” How is that going?

It’s good, it’s great! It first started airing on August 16th and it airs every Sunday on the Tennis Channel. It is a really fun show to work on, really interesting! I am not a professional tennis player, and I am not somebody who has toured. But for your average tennis player or your weekend warrior, it is a great way to improve your game. It is also for people who just picked up a racket for the first time. Honestly, even if you are not that into tennis, there is a lot of fitness and nutrition information that is really interesting.

How did you get involved with the show?

Well, I grew up playing tennis and I am very into fitness and nutrition, and I have been hosting for a long time now. The Tennis Channel got in touch with my agent and I came in and I met with them, and it ended up being a really good fit. From there, it was an awesome first season, so hopefully there is a second one.

Have you already finished filming for the first season?

Yes, we just finished up so we are all done with the first season. It was fun!

Read the rest here.