LA gets its first NFL cheerleaders in 20 years

Twenty-eight talented ladies beat out 400 to make the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad
By Ashley Collman
Dailymail.com
April 18, 2016

[Watch the video (scroll to bottom)]

* Final try-outs for the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad took place on Sunday at the Forum arena
* Twenty-eight women made the team from 66 finalists who were called in for an interview, swimsuit contest and dance performance
* The audition process began back on April 2 when around 400 women turned out to try out
* The 2016-2017 season marks the first time the Rams will be back in their original city of Los Angeles
* From 1995 until 2015, St. Louis was the Rams host city

Dozens of primped and polished ladies put their best faces forward on Sunday, to compete in the final round of try-outs for the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading team.

The 66 women who made it to the last round spend the evening wowing the judges in the swimsuit competition, dance performance and final interview at the Forum arena in Inglewood.

In the end, 28 women were selected to join the squad – the first to be back in Los Angeles since the Rams moved to St. Louis for 20 years in 1995.

‘I was so excited. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I started crying and I think I hit myself in the face,’ one of the new cheerleaders told KCAL.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17


Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17

Former Rams player and pro-Football Hall of Fame member Marshall Faulk was part of the five-man, four-woman panel that selected the final team.

Lisa Estrada, vice president of entertainment and facilities for the Los Angeles Lakers, and John Peters, Rams cheer choreographer, also helped in making the final decision.

Auditions for the team started on April 2, when 400 women turned out to try-out for the team at the Galen center.

For the following two weeks, the scores of women went through preliminary auditions, professional interviews and dance rehearsals.
The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

Try-outs started April 2, and included more than 400 women. By the final auditions on Sunday, just 66 women were left

Try-outs started April 2, and included more than 400 women. By the final auditions on Sunday, just 66 women were left

During final tryouts on Sunday, the women showed off their talents in a swimsuit contest, dance performance and interview.

During final tryouts on Sunday, the women showed off their talents in a swimsuit contest, dance performance and interview.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Sativa M. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad's final auditions on Sunday (she later made the team).

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Sativa M. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad’s final auditions on Sunday (she later made the team).

On the right, Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Samantha O. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders.

On the right, Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Samantha O. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Gaebri A. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad's final auditions. Gaebri did not make the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Gaebri A. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad’s final auditions. Gaebri did not make the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopefuls perform during the dance portion of the squad's final auditions in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopefuls perform during the dance portion of the squad’s final auditions in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Stephanie E. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the cheerleading squad's final auditions on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Stephanie E. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the cheerleading squad’s final auditions on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Micki J. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the final auditions in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Micki J. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the final auditions in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016

 Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Jennifer P. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016.


Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Jennifer P. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Michelle S. performs during the dance portion of the squad's final auditions on Sunday. Michelle later made the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Michelle S. performs during the dance portion of the squad’s final auditions on Sunday. Michelle later made the team.

‘They only cheer one day a week. Those other six days they have to carry around those horns and make sure they are just as respectable off the field as they are on the field,’ Faulk said.

In addition to cheering at games, NFL cheerleaders are also required to carry out 1,500 hours of community service each year, and take part in other team appearances and rehearse. They also pose for the annual Rams Cheerleading Swimsuit Calendar and Rams Cheer Poster.

Recently, several cheerleading squads have lodged lawsuits against their teams for wage theft.

In one lawsuit, filed by the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, it was claimed that they were being paid less than $5 an hour when all of their time was accounted for.

Cheerleading teams for the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also filed similar lawsuits.

Four of these lawsuits have been settled with teams agreeing to pay out a combined $2.5million in back wages, while admitting no wrong doing.

The Raiders are now paying their cheerleaders minimum wage.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during the final auditions for the cheerleading squad.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during the final auditions for the cheerleading squad.

The 28-woman crew will perform at games, as well as take part in 1,500 hours of community service.

The 28-woman crew will perform at games, as well as take part in 1,500 hours of community service.

Read more:

Videos: Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders Final Audition

More videos here.

Miami Dolphins Select 50 Participants In South Florida Audition For Cheerleader Finals

The Miami Dolphins selected 50 ladies from the South Florida cheerleader auditions to participate in the Finals. Nearly 300 registrants came to participate in the culmination of the NFL’s first international cheerleader audition.

These 50 ladies join 20 finalists from cheerleader auditions in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Miami as well as returning cheerleaders to participate in the Finals on May 1. The Finals are open to the public and will be held at the Miniaci Theater at Nova Southeastern University.

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Cheerleaders from around world audition for Miami Dolphins squad

MDC open call

Local 10 News meterologist Julie Durda among judges
By Sanela Sabovic – Reporter
Local10.com
April 23, 2016

[Watch the Video]

DAVIE, Fla. – Hundreds of young women danced their hearts out in Davie Saturday morning in hopes of becoming a Miami Dolphins cheerleader for the upcoming football season.

Among them was Nicole, a 41-year-old who never gave up on her cheerleading dreams.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” Nicole said. “This is actually my seventh time trying out.”

The cheerleaders and dancers prepared for months to compete in front of judges.

“It would be a dream come true to be on this team and be on it for years,” Ally said.

One of the judges this year was Local 10 News meteorologist Julie Durda, who is a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader.

“I’m honored to be one of the many judges that are going to be judging these talented, beautiful women behind me,” Durda said.

This year’s auditions are a bit different than in previous years, as the Dolphins organization went looking around the world for cheerleader hopefuls.

Competitors came from places such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.

“We’re the only team in the NFL that could really do this and make it authentic, because it is authentic,” Dorie Grogan, a senior director of entertainment for the Dolphins, said. “It’s who we are. It’s our culture here in Miami, and we are excited to be the first in the NFL to do this.”

For Nicole, tryouts aren’t about age, but about reaching for a long time goal.

“I just have to continue to convince myself to keep coming back, even though sometimes I think, ‘I’m crazy. Oh my God. I’m 41. What am I doing out here?'” Nicole said. “Literally, these girls are, like, the age of my daughter, but I’m just like, ‘I’m just going to do it anyway.'”

Final Sea Gal auditions streamed live on Sunday

The Renton Reporter
April 22, 2016

The top 55 candidates from a pool of 200 women will compete on Sunday for a spot on the 2016 Sea Gals squad and the final auditions will be streamed live on the internet.

Live coverage of the event will begin at 5 p.m. on www.SeaGals.com and facebook.com/Seagals.

The webcast will be hosted by Seahawks Legend Jordan Babineaux and Sea Gals alum Sheila and include performances by all the finalists, features and the naming of the 2016 Sea Gals squad.

Hamden woman now a New England Patriots Cheerleader

Melissa DeChello (Photo provided by the New England Patriots)

Melissa DeChello (Photo provided by the New England Patriots)

By Macy Corica, WTNH.com Staff and Anne Craig, WTNH Anchor
WTNH.com
April 22, 2016

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A life-long Patriots fan from Hamden will now get to attend every game as she cheers for the team on the sidelines.

For Melissa DeChello, it’s a no-brainer. The Hamden-native has been dancing and teaching dance for years.

This fall, she’ll be cheering for one of the elite teams in pro football.

“This was my very first NFL tryout, so really Patriots was my only choice,” said DeChello.

The New England Patriots.

“It’s a really incredible organization, they obviously do really well. They’ve been in the Super Bowl multiple times and it’s really close to me,” said DeChello.

Melissa, who attends the University of New Haven, joins roughly three-dozen other women who made it through a grueling tryout process.

“It was really draining on the body, we had some fitness portions where we had a trainer come in and do hour-long intense workouts with us, so that was a lot to go through,” said DeChello.

Now, they’ll practice a couple days a week. There are promotional appearances for the team, and then on Sunday, it’s Game Day.

You can bet all of her friends and family will be rooting for her, but maybe not for her team.

“I’ve always been a Patriots fan, my brother has always been a Cowboys fan. So we get along, we don’t really let that affect us,” said DeChello.


Sidebar: Melissa is a former Westchester Knicks Dancer

2016 New Orleans Saintsations team announced

Rookie Saintsation Abigale

Rookie Saintsation Abigale

NewOrleansSaints.com
April 21, 2016

View Gallery | 34 Photos
2016 New Orleans Saintsations

The members of the 2016-17 New Orleans Saintsations were announced Thursday afternoon. The group has 33 members. The squad is divided into appearance and field teams. The members are:

Appearance Team (9 members):

Amber
Elizabeth
Indya
Jami-Marie
Katherine
Kriste
Minako
Tasia
Willnelda

Field Team (24 members):

Abigale
Alexis
Alixx
Andre’El
Ashlyn
Bailey
Brandy
Brittany
Caroline
Cassidy
Chelsea
Denee
Gianna
Jonna
Lacey
Marshe
Megan
Morgan
Sarah
Shelley
Sherilyn
Summer
Taylor
Victoia

View Gallery | 42 Photos
2016 Saintsations Final Tryouts

View Gallery | 45 Photos
Best of 2016 Saintsations Tryouts

View Gallery | 150 Photos
2016 Saintsations tryouts

View Gallery | 16 Photos
Saintsations tryouts interviews

Inside Look at DCC’s Annual Swimsuit Fashion Show

DallasCowboys.com
April 22, 2016

The annual DCC swimsuit fashion show is a tradition that began about five years ago. It began as a way to entertain guests of the property the cheerleaders would stay at during their annual swimsuit calendar trip. It has now turned into an elaborate production.

The show which lasted about 45 minutes showcased swimwear that is worn by the ladies on their location photo and video shoots. The runway extended over the pool at the beautiful Marival Resort Residences in Riviera Nayarit. Guests of the resort were able to lounge around the pool area and enjoy the upbeat music and light show. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader account documented the entire night in real-time.

[Watch the Video, View the Photos]

2016 DCC swim show

FINALLY – a little love for the fellas

Former Campbellsville Tiger Cheerleader lands on Baltimore Ravens Cheerleading Team
Lex18 (Lexington, KY)
April 8, 2016

David VeramontesThe chances of a college student becoming a professional athlete are less than two in 100. But David Veramontes has overcome those slim odds after an intense tryout, being selected recently as a 2016 Baltimore Ravens cheerleader.

Growing up, Veramontes had a goal of making it to the National Football League (NFL) as a player. But with the cards that he was dealt, he proudly takes that for which he has worked so hard.

The Tucson, Ariz. native graduated from Amphitheater High School in 2006 as a four-sport athlete with football, cheerleading, wrestling and men’s volleyball. Right out of high school, he attended Pima Community College where he played football for one semester.

After that semester he decided that the military would be his new path — the Air Force to be exact. His job for the next four years would be a F15 Avionics System Specialist where he maintained jets and other aircraft.

For his first year of enlistment, Veramontes traveled around the majority of time, until finally finding a permanent station in Alaska’s largest city — Anchorage.

“It was one of the best and worst places to live,” recalled Veramontes. “The scenery was impeccable, with so many outdoor activities like fishing and snowboarding.”

While in the northernmost U.S. state, he was part of an alert team – a squad that had to always be within an hour of base just in case there was an airborne threat to the mainland.

While serving his country he also found other work — as an assistant coach at Bartlett High School, where his team won the state title in Alaska. That experience fueled an old competitive fire and he decided to go back to school and play football. The only question was where.

“I knew I wanted to go back to school and play, but I had no idea where,” said Veramontes. “I had a friend who was playing NAIA baseball so I started looking around in that league. To this day, I have no idea how Campbellsville got my number but it was a blessing in disguise.”

Campbellsville was a perfect place because it is a military friendly school —being recognized for exhibiting leading practices in recruiting and supporting post-military students.

Mid-season as a Fighting Tiger, he decided he wanted to be a cheerleader again – not knowing he’d be rewarded for his efforts.

His first year back in cheering, Veramontes and Audrey Wunderlich were the 2013 Mixed Partner Stunt champions.

Wunderlich, who was named Ms. Campbellsville in 2014, knew Veramontes was destined for greatness after meeting him for the first time.

“From David’s first practice, I knew that he was different from most of the guys I’ve ever cheered with,” said Wunderlich. “He came to Campbellsville for football, but found his calling on the cheer team.

“David was so vital to the cheerleading program at CU because his drive and determination to always improve, always serve his team better, and to never settle created a contagious attitude among the team. When I look back at what I consider a highly successful college career, I can credit many winning moments to David’s attitude and drive.”

Veramontes states that his defining moment at CU was the lifelong friends he made without ever realizing it.

“I truly built friendships at CU that will last forever. Some of my very best friends live in Campbellsville and that’s something I hold dearly.”

At Campbellsville University the athletics department mantra is “More Than a Game”. As a servant leader, you’re a servant first – you focus on the needs of others, especially the community and team members, before you consider your own. Wunderlich witnessed Veramontes undeniable growth.

“My favorite thing about cheering with Dave was watching him grow,” said Wunderlich. “Sure, he came onto the team as the ‘old man’ or the ‘war veteran’, but cheering at CU really developed his character. Through the investing of truly outstanding coaches, professors, and leaders at CU, I saw Dave develop into a servant leader.”

With 134 academic credits, Veramontes left Campbellsville to pursue a job in Charlotte, N.C. with American Airlines. He wanted to follow his passion of working on aircraft as he ventured to work on large international planes as well.

He learned about the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading tryout in early February of 2016 and never looked back.

“I knew I was good in college, but I wanted to know if I was good enough to make it to the pros,” said Veramontes. “There came a moment when I thought, ‘I would rather try and fail, than to never try at all.’”

Veramontes hadn’t stunted or had anything to do with cheerleading for a solid two years while working in Charlotte. He went into tryouts coming out of a cold-turkey phase but he started tryouts, full steam ahead.

The first and second day included more than 200 participants. At the first tryout he had 15 minutes to come up with a stunt for his tryout with a veteran cheerleader. The second tryout was much like the first and it was also with a veteran cheerleader.

After about a week he was called back for the group interview. He felt the interview went well, but he was still nervous when he had to call a number to see if he was invited back for the final tryout.

“The last tryout consisted of different stunts the coach was calling out to everyone,” said Veramontes. “They wanted to see if we could listen to counts and stay constant in our routines and formations.

“We waited around for a couple hours for others to finish and by the end of the day I was a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader!”

The cheerleading team is comprised of a cheer and dance squad for the Baltimore Ravens. Unlike other NFL cheerleading squads, the Ravens are co-ed, with the female cheerleaders working on various dance moves, and the males working on stunts, as in traditional cheerleading.

“When he first told me he was going to try out for the Ravens cheerleading team, I didn’t doubt for a second that he would make it,” said Wunderlich. “I don’t say that just because he is a talented athlete. Who wouldn’t want such a positive, kind, and servant-hearted person on their team? I knew once the Ravens’ coaches met him, they would be sold.”

Growing up, Veramontes had a goal of making it to the NFL as a player but making it as a cheerleader is just as thrilling.

“I made it to the NFL — from Campbellsville to the Baltimore Ravens,” retorted Veramontes. “It is such a surreal time in my life and a lot of that is owed to hard work and CU.”

Vanessa Adkins, the 2015 Mid-South Cheerleading Coach of the Year, is in her 10th season as head coach at Campbellsville and is awestruck for Veramontes.

“I’m so proud of David and all that he has accomplished,” declared Adkins. “This is something that he has wanted for a long time. He has worked extremely hard to get to this level. To see your student-athlete reach their goals after college is something that makes a coach proud. Hopefully, this is something that our current and future cheerleaders will use as motivation. This couldn’t have happened to a better person.”

The NAIA boasts 260 colleges and universities, representing 60,000 student-athletes while the NCAA has 460,00 student-athletes at more than 1,200 schools. David Veramontes knew what he wanted from an early age, the end result might be different than what he first imagined, but he fulfilled his dreams nevertheless.

L.A. Rams Cheerleader Auditions 2016

The big finish

By Ernie Manrique
LA Weekly
April 19, 2016

[Slideshow: LA Rams Cheerleader Auditions (97 photos)]

Final auditions for the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders were held at the Forum in Inglewood on Sunday, April 17. The competitors were winnowed down to 66 finalists from more than 400 who auditioned. The judges included Basement Beats’ Demetrius Bledsoe; Beverly Hills hairstylist Nick Chavez; celebrity voice coach Nick Cooper; Lisa Estrada, the Lakers’ VP of entertainment and facilities; Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, who played for the Rams in St. Louis; film/TV producer Jamala Gaither; Angela King-Twitero, a former NFL cheerleader, who designed the uniforms for the Rams Cheerleaders; former ballerina Emily Pastoors, who’s married to Rams executive Tony Pastoors; and Rams cheer choreographer John Peters. The Rams’ director of cheerleaders is Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe. Rams reporter and emcee for the final auditions was Dani Klupenger. The final auditions included a Q&A, a bathing suit segment and a performance routine. The final squad of 28 cheerleaders was announced at the event, with the help of Rams mascot Rampage.

All photos by Ernie Manrique

2016 Denver Broncos Cheerleader Finalists

Here they are, the 48 ladies who have advanced to the final auditions for this year’s DBC. I count 17 veterans, but don’t hold me to it. Looks like a great opportunity for lots of fresh faces on the team this season. Good luck ladies!

[See the finalists]

dbc-finalists-Katie-Jozie-and-Nikki

Veterans Katie, Jozie, and Nikki

Hebron native steps out of ‘nerdy scientist box’ — to cheer for Patriots

Theresa OeiBy Nicholas Shigo
the Journal Inquirer
April 13, 2016

Hebron native Theresa Oei has a long list of accolades and awards that includes being named a Presidential Scholar and Connecticut Science Fair winner.

She’s added a new one: cheerleader for the New England Patriots.

Oei, a 2011 graduate of East Catholic High School in Manchester, has a bachelor’s of science degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. She currently works at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard studying genome-editing techniques.

“This is a nice way to show that you don’t have to fit into the box of the nerdy scientist all the time,” she said of her new position.

A world-ranked Irish step dance champion and a classically trained ballet dancer, Oei performed with dance companies and teams through her school career and saw the Patriots as a way to keep that balance in her life.

“I wanted to find some way to keep dancing and still have that aspect of exploring movement and finding new kinds of beauty in my life,” she said.

Oei said she decided to try out for the team because of her many years of watching Patriots football with her father.

“I thought it would be a fun way to join the organization and explore a new style of movement,” she said. “I saw the audition process as an adventure, a chance to get out of the lab and have some fun.”

Oei said that between work at the lab and practice twice a week with the Patriots, time management will be a priority. She said it’s a matter of knowing where her priorities are, but making sure that includes having fun.

Members of the team are signed for one year and need to re-audition the following spring.

Oei said she hasn’t decided if she will be on the team next year because she is applying for doctoral programs.

She said if she ends up at a school in the Boston area, she may stay with the team.

She hopes being on the team will give her the chance to be a good role model for students in New England through the many events the cheerleaders attend.

“It’s been pretty funny walking around the streets and seeing someone with a Patriots hat and jersey and being a part of the organization and representing that,” she said.

Oei said she wants to reach out to students interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields in particular, based on her own career path, to show them there’s time to include other pursuits.

“It’s great to get out there and do something different and pursue those at an elite level,” she said. “It’s OK to pursue those things and go on an adventure.”

Vikings Tami Krause Named ‘Women in Business’ Honoree

Tami Krause2crLindsey Young
Vikings.com
April 14, 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal announced on Tuesday that Tami Krause, Director of Women’s Initiatives and Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, has been selected as a “Women in Business” winner.

“I was so excited when I got the email,” Krause said. “It’s just a huge honor to be part of that group of elite women. I’m also excited to represent the Vikings [through this award].”

A total of 51 women, including one career achievement award honoree, were recognized for their professional achievements, leadership and contributions to the broader Twin Cities community. The winners include industry-leading executives and entrepreneurs.

All the honorees will participate in a photo shoot later this month as well as being recognized at an upcoming luncheon and featured in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal released in late May.

“On behalf of the entire Vikings organization we are thrilled that Tami has been recognized with the 2016 Women in Business Award,” Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren said. “Tami has been a dedicated and energetic employee of our franchise, and it is exciting to see her hard work, passion and talent recognized by the Twin Cities community.”

As the Director of Women’s Initiatives, Krause hopes the honor and subsequent events will raise awareness for the ways the Vikings organization is making an impact.

“My hope is that it will continue to reach the community and show them all the things we’re working to accomplish and starting to activate,” Krause said.

Since the award highlights both career achievements and community involvement, Krause’s background lends itself heavily to the honor. Having held a position with the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders for 19 years, Krause has participated in and organized community outreach, military events and numerous appearances in the Twin Cities community. Personally, Krause has played an active role with the American Heart Association for more than 10 years and was named the 2009 AHA Volunteer of the Year after participating in 100-plus events on the organization’s behalf.

“It’s great – I feel like it’s all kind of tied together,” Krause said. “The Vikings have also worked with some of those great organizations, the cheerleaders have done some of that community outreach, and I’ve been able to be a part of all of it. Now with the Women’s Initiatives, it’s just elevating in so many different ways.”

Rams select their 2016-17 cheerleading squad

2016 LAR finals

By Tim Forkes

April 18, 2016

After their move from St. Louis, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and his staff, along with the general manager and his staff, set about putting the team together and figuring out the logistics of where the team would train, have off-season workouts, where the players and staff would live — in essence, they were assembling a football franchise almost from scratch.

Equally important for Los Angeles Rams is the cheerleading squad. The team has had cheerleaders since 1974, when they were first known as “The Embraceable Ewes.” Thankfully the team decided to drop that moniker and simply call them the Rams Cheerleaders, first in St. Louis and now in Los Angeles.

Brittany

Brittany

Leading the efforts to build a new squad is cheerleader director Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe and choreographer John Peters. In March they held workshops to teach some basic steps to the hundreds of women vying for the team. Then on April 2 they held preliminary auditions in which nearly 400 aspiring cheerleaders attended.

Then, on April 5 the team announced the 66 finalists on their website and these young women would then audition to make the final squad of 28. That final audition was held April 17 at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood. In the 12 days between the announcement of the finalists and the final auditions, the dancers rehearsed their dance routines and had interviews with members of the Rams staff.

On Sunday all the nervous waiting was over. The final auditions were open to the public and a crowd of about 300 showed up to cheer on their favorites. It started with the women walking out to the front of the stage to answer questions from the night’s emcee, Dani Klupenger, who is also the Rams reporter. Some of the questions were about which super power they would like to have, what would be essential to living on a deserted island, favorite food, who would they like to have dinner with, living or not — Beyoncé one contestant answered, to great applause.

After a brief intermission the dancers then had a beauty contest in bikinis. The uniforms they will wear on field will cover a little more of their bodies than bikinis, but it gave the judges a chance to evaluate them on their physical appearance. One of the judges said some of them should have skipped wearing high heels and another gave them kudos for having the courage to go through with the entire audition process.

Mandi

Mandi

The judges were Demetrius Bledsoe, a marketing and music executive, Nick Chavez, s celebrity hair stylist, Nick Cooper, a celebrity voice coach, Lisa Estrada, the L.A. Lakers Vice President of Entertainment and Facilities, Marshall Faulk, one of the great running backs in the team’s history, Jamala Gaither, a film and television producer, Angela King-Twitero a former NFL cheerleader and the designer who created the L.A. Rams cheer uniforms, Emily Pastoors, a former ballerina and wife of Rams executive Tony Pastoors, and finally John Peters, the chorographer for the L.A. Rams Cheerleaders.

After the bikini portion the women then performed, two at a time, the dance moves they had been working on since April 2. After 65 of the women performed (one of the 66 didn’t take part after the bikini segment), it was left up to the judges to give their scores for each dancer.

For them some of the finalists might have been obvious choices to either choose or send home, but for the untrained eye, the majority of the finalists had great performances.

After several videos, Klupenger announced they had chosen the 2016-17 L.A. Rams Cheerleaders. Falk came to the stage and spoke about the importance of the cheerleaders and what it took to even audition, let alone succeed in making the squad. It’s hard getting up in front of a crowd of people wearing only a bikini and high heels, but it gave the judges a better understanding of the dancers’ poise.

2016 LAR finals_ArielAnd then the final 28, the L.A. Rams Cheerleaders were announced one at a time, each cheerleader escorted to the stage by Rampage, the Rams mascot. It was a very exciting night for the women who made the inaugural L.A. Rams Cheerleaders. It is a bit of history they can now tell their family and friends: they were part of the first Rams cheerleading squad after the team returned to Los Angeles. For the complete list you can visit the Rams website Here.

Afterwards the cheerleaders and judges, along with the Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe and John Peters assembled on stage for the media. Peters took a few moments to answer a couple questions, beginning with the squad’s diversity.

The Rams didn’t have to try and have a diverse group of applicants audition for the cheer squad. Los Angeles — and Southern California — is such a diverse community they had women from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds tryout and make the squad. That will be evident when the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders makes their first public appearance in uniform.

Peters said, “It’s hard in some places to achieve that level of diversity.” There are some places in the U.S. that just aren’t as diverse as some of the bigger cities like Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

When asked to relate this new Rams cheerleading squad to the general themes of this election year, Peters said, “It tells you beauty comes in many colors, shapes and sizes and backgrounds.”

Peters spends a lot of time teaching and training his squads, but he said he does get a chance to sit back and watch the games and enjoy the cheerleading squad, as a fan and their choreographer. Peters also said he’s been a Rams fan for a long time. “People will come out and cheer the Rams even if their first season isn’t great. They’re so happy to have football back in Los Angeles — and in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It’s such a beautiful stadium.”

Of course in 2019 the Rams will have a modern NFL-caliber stadium in Inglewood, but for now nostalgic Rams fans can enjoy their team in the past home of the team.

In our first video report on the Rams cheer auditions our reporter interviewed three of the women who were trying to make the team. One didn’t make the round of 66. Of the two who did, only one, Valerie, made the squad. After the initial auditions Valerie said she was, “really nervous, just waiting for the list to be posted.”

That Tuesday after the auditions when the list was posted on the Rams website Valerie was at work. “I smiled a lot to myself,” she said, but after work Valerie couldn’t contain her excitement.

2016 LAR finals_ValerieThey went through two weeks of rehearsals for the final auditions, so all of the prospective cheerleaders would be prepared to do their best. Once she got to the Forum, Valerie said she was nervous once again, but calmed down once she began dancing in the audition.

After the scores were tallied and the girls chosen, Valerie said she had a “rush of emotion. I almost cried.”

Valerie had once been a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers. When asked about it Kobe Bryant’s final game, Valerie said it was so exciting, like in his younger days. “It didn’t seem like the end. It felt like he could go on for more.”

A common sentiment for many Lakers fans.

The L.A. Rams haven’t announced any public events for the new L.A. Rams Cheerleaders, but they will be the brand ambassadors for the team, something all the cheerleaders take seriously.When they do make public appearances they will proudly represent the Los Angeles Rams and the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has NFL football once again — and they have great cheerleading squad to help introduce the team to the fans.

Lightning Girls At The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Squad Captains, Isabella and Alyssa

Squad Captains, Isabella and Alyssa

Rachael

Rachael

Kori

Kori

Erin

Erin

Young fan with Erica

Young fan with Erica

Elena-Liz-Erica-Manager Crystal-Alyssa-Kori-Anna

Elena-Liz-Erica-Manager Crystal-Alyssa-Kori-Anna

Cady-Elena-Erin-Anna-Liz

Cady-Elena-Erin-Anna-Liz

Rachael and Taelor

Rachael and Taelor

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