2014 TopCats

The Carolina Panthers website has been updated with individual profile photos for this season’s team. Click here to go there now!

She’s the tops! Former Top Cat Eiesha Horsley wins Mrs. Georgia America 2014

Eiesha Horsley was a four season NFL TopCat and now Mrs. Georgia America 2014

Former NFL cheerleader Eiesha Horsley’s motto is, “Each and every person should dream and dream BIG!” Well, Eiesha recently was named Mrs. Georgia America 2014, so the next stage if a dream as big as the whole country, as she progresses to compete for Mrs. America.

Eiesha performed on the NFL sidelines for the Carolina Panthers’ “Top Cats” during the 2005 and 2010-2012 seasons, the last year as one of four captains. An entrepreneur, scholar, philanthropist, and renowned cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics instructor, adding Mrs. Georgia America is another accomplishment in Eiesha’s dream-filled life.

“I am truly a dreamer of all things exquisite and extraordinary!,” Eiesha says. “I am the proud wife of Jarrell Horsley, a Captain in the United States Army and reside in Georgia. Being crowned Mrs. Georgia America 2014 is not only an honor and humbling experience, but a phenomenal blessing to compete for Mrs. America. Representing the perfectly ‘peachy’ state allows me the opportunity to uplift not only married women, but families and individuals of all ages in a variety of ways. Specifically, empowering women to achieve and promote the importance of personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express my talents, intelligence, and experience is my ultimate goal and way to give back in a greater capacity. I can surely say that my experience as a professional cheerleader prepared many in more ways than one!”

As accomplished in the classroom as in dance and pageants, Eiesha graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University and was named a Ronald E. McNair fellow, Psi Chi National Honor Society Scholar, and appeared in Vibe, Ebony, and Charlotte Women’s Magazine for her professional and personal accomplishments. Eiesha holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management with honors, and is currently completing her dissertation and Ph.D. Studies in Organization Management with an emphasis in Human Resource Management, expected during the summer of 2015. “Continuous learning brings continuous opportunities in my career and possibilities in serving others,” Eiesha says.

Eiesha is also the owner of M.A.D.E. (“Making A Difference Everywhere”) Today, Inc., a professional development company in which Eiesha directs, conducts, and leads programs working with community and state organizations, families, and youth in both Georgia and North Carolina. MADE has collected over 200 cheer and dance regional and national titles in four states in just five years. “As a former professional NFL cheerleader and captain for the Carolina Panthers, I was able to be an ambassador for the community and young girls who aspire to live their dreams,” Eiesha says.

“During my spare time, I enjoy my active involvement in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, traveling, interior design, camping, and giving back to the youth and aspiring individuals who desire to live their dreams beyond their belief,” Eiesha continues. “Making a positive contribution to society is all worth living for, and leaving a legacy is timeless. I believe laughter is contagious, joy is strength, and courage is motivation. I encourage all to dream big and believe that all things are possible, giving back is essential and believing through execution and consistency is longevity.”

You can keep up with the Mrs. America Pageant at www.mrsamerica.com, and Eiesha specifically on Twitter and Facebook, plus her M.A.D.E Today program.

Eiesha cheered for the Carolina Panthers

2014 TopCats

Here’s your first look at the 2014-15 Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders, the TopCats. Congrats ladies!

Click photo to view full size.

Live the dream: TopCats auditions and clinics on the horizon

The wonderful Richelle Williams, Cheerleader Manager/Choreographer, of the NFL’s Carolina TopCats lets us know Audition Clinics and Auditions are just days away!

The information about clinics is at this link and the audition information page is here.

‘If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is’: Ex-NFL Cheerleader Almost Became a Victim of Sex Trafficking at Sochi Through Bogus Reporting Job

By Luke Garrat
The Daily Mail

An ex-NFL cheerleader-turned-sports journalist almost became a victim of human sex trafficking at the Sochi Olympics when she was recruited for a reporting job that turned out to be bogus.

Brittney Cason from Charlotte, North Carolina, was approached by a talent agent hiring U.S. reporters to cover the Winter Olympics last September.

Writing on xojane.com, she explained how she became suspicious when – after a lengthy application process – the ‘agent’ asked her if she had any ‘girlfriends’ she could take with her, offering them visas with no interview process, eventually prompting action from the FBI.

Ms Cason was contacted in September 2013 via her website by a man claiming to be a talent acquisition agent.

‘Given my background in sports broadcasting… and working on sports talk radio, it made sense he was recruiting me,’ she wrote.

Ms Cason was asked to submit examples of her work, and audition several times, before she was told that she had got the job with the network as a host and beat reporter for the games.

In addition to Ms Cason, she was told that another legitimate sportscaster in North Carolina was hired to work alongside her.

Her suspicions were raised two weeks before she was set to leave for Sochi, when the ‘talent agent’ said he needed to expand the coverage team and asked if she had any ‘girlfriends’ in the industry she could recommend.

His assistant, who was actually just him, sent her documents for her friend to get a work visa.

Ms Cason said: ‘I spent four months applying and interviewing and he’s sending my friend a work visa without even seeing her work?

‘Now, my friend is really talented, but wanting her passport and social security number before her reel (reporting and presenting clips) just seemed fishy to me.’

Ms Cason contacted the other sportscaster who was supposed to be going to Sochi with her and they investigated the talent agency further.

She said: ‘She and I concocted a plan to contact the production company in LA directly to check his credentials without stepping on his toes in the event we were just being paranoid.’

Upon their investigation it turned out that the production company didn’t know who he was, and advised them not to travel to Russia, and instead contact lawyers, who eventually contacted the F.B.I.

Ms Cason remarked how she was shocked at the amount of effort the ‘talent agent’ had put in to the scheme.

She said: ‘The man exerted as much effort as a full time job to pose as legitimate – and never once crossed the line.

‘Rather, he posed as a devout family man – We got the results back and suddenly needed the F.B.I.’

On the day that she was set to leave, bags packed and flights booked, Cason was instead negotiating with her lawyers and the F.B.I, as it turned out that the ‘talent acquisition agency’ was most likely a front for a sex trafficking ring.

According to Jillian Mourning, founder of the non-profit All We Want is Love, a charity that attempts to help victims of human trafficking, it is common for men to pose as talent agents in order to lure and traffic women.

Ms Cason said: ‘So many of the stories I’ve heard from survivors start with “I was hired for a modelling job”.’

Mourning told her: ‘The Olympics is a huge draw for trafficking.

‘It’s a major sporting event in a foreign country, and American women are typically sold for more in foreign countries.’

Ms Cason added: ‘Either way, this wasn’t going to end well.

‘Unfortunately I am not the daughter of Liam Neeson, so I wouldn’t have had a happy ending had I gotten on a plane.

‘For any young girl wanting to get into the business the first step is to seek a credible agent.

‘If you have to pay money for an audition, that’s a red flag for a business scam.’

Former East High Grad to Cheer at Pro Bowl

By Joey Millwood

When Laura Bebo was a cheerleader at East Henderson High, her focus was on one thing.

“When you’re in high school, you can’t see past Friday night,” she said.

That view has changed dramatically over the last three years. Not only is Bebo a cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers, but she’s heading to Hawaii to be in the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

As a high school cheerleader, the thought of cheering on Sundays never crossed her mind. It didn’t even cross her mind to audition for a collegiate team.

The 24-year-old graduated from East in 2007 and went to college at UNC Charlotte. At the encouragement of her friend, Jenny Baker, she tried out for the 49ers cheer team and ended up cheering on the Charlotte football team for the last three years of her schooling.

She graduated with degrees in environmental science and education, and is a science teacher at Brawley Middle, just north of Charlotte.

That’s one of her full-time jobs. Her other is being a TopCat.

Bebo has been a member of the TopCats for the last three years and was voted into the Pro Bowl by her teammates — one of the highest honors she has received.

“That’s the biggest honor,” Bebo said. “It’s an incredible feeling when your team thinks you’re worthy to go.”

And she is worthy, TopCat coach Richelle Williams said.

“Laura has demonstrated not only commitment and hard work, but a genuine passion for the Panthers organization and TopCats program,” Williams said. “I’m thrilled that Laura is representing the TopCats at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The fans will love her.”

Bebo has worked hard to get to this point. She was a little more prepared about cheering at the next level when she was on the verge of graduating from Charlotte. Again encouraged by Baker, Bebo tried out for the Panthers’ squad in the spring of 2011.

That also happened to be her final semester of college and the semester she spent student teaching.

It was a busy semester. That busy schedule, however, got busier by the next fall. Bebo was teaching from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and then fulfilling duties as a TopCat all over Charlotte and has maintained that routine for the last three years.

There are appearances through the week, two practices per week and on Sunday, she’s cheering in front of more than 70,000 fans.

“It’s so similar and it’s totally different in the same way,” she said of cheering in front of that large of a crowd.

The nervousness on Friday nights was different because she knew so many faces in the crowd. The large crowd is actually a little more comforting, she said, because there’s “no way that everyone can be looking at you.”

A lot of people were watching the Panthers this weekend as Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and the team hosted the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in the second round of the NFC playoffs. The Panthers lost 23-10.

Bebo experienced the building excitement over the last three years. Her first year was also Newton’s first year with the franchise. This year, they made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“It’s just abuzz,” she said in the weeks before the game. “People can’t stop talking about it. It starts with the team. It’s translated to the fans. We can feel it. We can feel the excitement.”

And that excitement is something that Bebo never wants to let go of. Officially, she can only cheer professionally for 10 years, but she likes to wish she could be a TopCat forever.

“We want to live and breathe TopCat life for as long as they’ll have us,” Bebo said.

[Laura at Panthers.com]

Photo of the Day – October 3

Photo of the Day - October 3
Current third year veteran Laura during her TopCat rookie season, October 2011

SI.com – NFL Cheerleaders: Preseason Week 1

Click here to check out the first Sports Illustrated NFL Cheerleader gallery of the season, featuring cheerleaders from the Falcons, Panthers, Colts, Vikings, Chargers and Bucs.

New-look TopCats

Individual bios for the 2013 Carolina Panthers dance team have been posted on the Panthers’ website. Click here to check them out!

And if I may editorialize for moment. I am totally digging on the new uniforms. I may have mentioned once or twice (or a hundred times) before that there are certain things I enjoy when it comes to uniforms: A ruffle. A bow. A scoop neck. A puff sleeve. Probably not all four at the same time, as that would be a little too Bo Peep. But with two out of the four, this is a solid double thumbs-up in my book. And has anyone else noticed this or has the beauty factor on this team been dramatically on the rise? I don’t know when it started, but there is something going on in the Carolinas, and I don’t think it’s in the water. Maybe they found a photographer with a real knack for capturing that inner sparkle. Whateva. I approve.

New-Look Topcats

    Check out the new team photo for the 2013-14 Carolina Panthers TopCats!