‘Bachelor’ winner Rycroft expecting baby Newsday
October 22, 2013
Season 13 “The Bachelor” winner Melissa Rycroft and her husband of nearly four years, Tye Strickland, are expecting their second child, Newsday contributor Frank Lovece reports. The reality star and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, 30, said yesterday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she is due next spring. The couple have a daughter, Ava, 2.
CHEER CHANNEL INTRODUCES NEW INDUSTRY TALK SHOW “ON THE MAT” WITH MAKENZI SWICEGOOD
Cheer Channel Inc. (CCI), the #1 online news and entertainment network for the spirit industry, announced today that it will launch a new cheer industry talk show On The Mat, hosted by Makenzi Swicegood. The show will take viewers behind-the-scenes of cheerleading gyms across the country and offer an inside scoop on gyms and teams throughout the industry. The CCI original series will have its world premier in October and will continue with bi-weekly episodes which can be viewed on the Cheer Channel Network YouTube channel, Cheer Channel website, and On The Mat Facebook page.
The host of On The Mat, Makenzi Swicegood, is an actress, model, spokeswoman, former Cheer Athletics and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. She is the daughter of Jody Melton and Ginger Swicegood-Melton, owners of Cheer Athletics All Stars in Plano, Texas. Swicegood has also previously been a host for the Cheer Channel at cheer events. “I am thrilled to join this project with Cheer Channel,” commented Swicegood. “Creating an outlet for exciting, unique, and uplifting messages from gyms across the country is a great way to show that all-star cheerleading is more than just cheerleading. It is a world of strong and positive individuals making a difference in their communities as well as on the mat.”
Viewers of On The Mat can expect to see industry highlights, two featured “Gyms-of-the-Month,” coach and cheerleader interviews, and who to watch on the road to worlds. Swicegood will also be following causes and showcasing teams from around the country that are making outstanding achievements in communities, causes, and campaigns. Viewers will also have the chance to get involved in the show by participating in show contests for a chance to win prizes from Cheer Channel and On The Mat sponsors. Fans may submit special stories or teams for recognition on the official show Facebook page.
“Makenzi was the obvious choice for this show,” said Cindy Villarreal, CEO of CCI. “She is such a known and respected figure in the industry and we know she will do a terrific job bringing the real world of cheer gyms to life.” CCI and Swicegood were present at the Cheer Athletics Showcase in Plano, Texas on October 3-5 to film and conduct interviews for On The Mat.
Dan Eddy is a life-of-the-party sort. And one of his favorite stunts at a gathering is to pull three attractive women on center stage with him and challenge the crowd to guess which one is a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
After drawing out the fun for a while, it comes time for the big reveal. With great fanfare, he asks the former Cowboys cheerleader to raise a hand.
And then he raises his own.
Well, you can imagine the groans. And, really, don’t try to picture 66-year-old Dan in a blue halter and short-shorts. Please.
But it’s a fact. He’s an actual, honest-to-goodness former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Just not of the era — or curvature — we all think of now.
So today, as the Cowboys open another season, let’s visit a forgotten chapter of team history.
Over the last 40 years, the image of what a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader looks like has been seared into our psyche. So much so that I just about guarantee you could win this bar bet:
“Five dollars says you can’t name the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader elected to public office nine times in Dallas County and considered one of the best public officials ever to serve the area.”
The answer: former state Rep. and Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson. “My deepest, darkest secret,” he jokes.
The reserved, soft-spoken Jackson is now chancellor of the University of North Texas System — and is about as far removed from our image of a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader as is humanly possible.
“People who know me as an adult find it hard to believe I spent that much time raising my voice,” Jackson said. “But you can yell for a football team and still be a quiet person.”
This was back in the mid-1960s, when the Cowboys recruited cheerleaders from high school squads around town. And back when it was common for boys to be on those squads.
Jackson was a cheerleader at Kimball High School in Oak Cliff and was a Cowboys cheerleader for the 1965 and ’66 seasons.
Eddy was a cheerleader at Adamson High School, also in Oak Cliff, and was on the Cowboys squad in 1963 — the first year guys were included, he said.
Archival photos on the DallasCowboysCheerleaders.com website don’t show the boys that year. But they’re in the squad photos from 1964 through 1969. In the 1970 photo, go-go boots and a sexier pose show up. And by ’72, the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders look was in place.
Eddy said Cowboys games in 1963 were nothing like today. “The stadium back then was, at best, about a third filled,” he said. And that was the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park, of course.
He said the cheerleaders got $15 and three tickets for each game. “More than once, I hocked my tickets before the game,” Eddy said. “Seems like face value was $8.50, but I could only get four or five bucks.”
In one of the few televised games, he managed to embarrass himself. “I tried a front flip right in front of the camera and landed right square on my butt,” he said. “I was red-faced for about 2½ years from pure humiliation.”
By the 1965 season, when Jackson joined the cheerleaders, the Cowboys were winning and drawing big crowds. But the cheerleaders were almost invisible on the sidelines, he said.
“All we had were our little high school cheers. And people at a pro game weren’t going to say ‘Go! Fight! Win!’ on command,” Jackson said.
“Like a rotary-dial phone, it all seems so quaint and old-fashioned now,” he said. “But I have nothing but fond memories. It was just fun.”
Eddy, too, has great memories of his year as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader — even if few others remember that men were ever there. He said, “Even the emails I get now from the cheerleaders alumni association start out: ‘Hey, Ladies.’”
But he always reads those emails carefully. “I’m still watching for the first All Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders sleepover,” he deadpanned. “I don’t want to miss that.”
Ready? OK! The eighth season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team premieres at 8 p.m. Friday on CMT. On the night of the final rehearsal last month, we got to go behind the scenes and talk to a few veteran cheerleaders to see how they were handling the pressure of trying to be one of the 37 who make the roster.
Jenna from California, Kelsey from Minnesota, Jasmine from New Jersey and Jessica from Iowa made the cut as newcomers last year, but even returning cheerleaders have to audition every year and hope a newbie won’t outshine them. We asked them about their experiences leading up to this season:
What’s it like being on camera while you’re auditioning?
Jenna: Being on camera for the Making the Team show, it’s a little nerve-wracking, especially coming in for your first year, you’re just like, ‘OK, I’m just trying to prove myself. I’m just trying to get on the team.’ But at the same time, there’s a camera right up in your face, the whole time you’re dancing. It’s a little distracting… Coming in for my second year, it’s better because we just learn to ignore it.
Jasmine: It’s just stressful. It never really gets easy, because you know the world’s gonna see it, and if you mess up, someone’s gonna notice it.
Jessica: As hard as it is having the cameras around, with the added stress and pressure, it’s kind of nice that we have these little moments captured because then my family got to go through the process with me. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise.
What did you learn from your experiences on the team last year?
Jenna: They’re teaching me little things like how to speak, how to present myself.
Kelsey: Our first public appearance, we had to mix and mingle with all of these people we didn’t know. I had never been in a situation like that where you’re representing the whole organization, you’re wearing the uniform and so much is expected of you, you have these standards to uphold. I definitely think I’ve developed a lot more confidence and have developed how to be a role model and a leader.
Does everyone get along or is there drama the cameras don’t catch?
Kelsey: It’s kind of like a sorority because everyone has the same drive and passion for what we’re doing. Everyone just automatically clicks. It’s kind of like going through rush, you’ve gone through so much to make it together that you just bond over that. So everyone is really close, surprising as that is.
What are your plans if you don’t make the team?
Kelsey: You’re living your dream, so you really don’t want a plan B, as sad as that sounds. If I didn’t make it back on the team, I’d probably go back and get my master’s (degree).
Jessica: Some girls move back home.
Kelsey: Other girls go on to try out for other professional teams. If you love dancing and it’s your passion, you try everything to make it on a team.
Jasmine: DCC is like a platform. Girls can use being on this team to help them in their future, like being a director of another team. Making different connections has helped a lot of people to open studios, teach Pilates, yoga. … Not making it back isn’t the end of the world, it’s just something to say we did, and I loved it and I can move on and try something else.
Summer heats up as America’s hottest cheerleaders return for the eighth season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team beginning Friday, September 6 at 9/8c!
This season, the Lone Star State’s most iconic group of women take on more challenging dance routines and face incredibly talented candidates while navigating all the drama that comes with competition; with more action packed episodes, heart-tugging storylines, challenges and surprises.
The American Legion presented its prestigious 2013 Distinguished Service Medal to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders this morning at the 95th National Convention in Houston.
National Commander James E. Koutz praised the Cheerleaders’ dedication to community service and support for the U.S. military.
“Since 1979 the Cheerleaders have made 75 USO tours to more than 200 locations worldwide and have conducted cheerleading classes for the children of military families,” Koutz said. “When not performing at football games or traveling overseas, they spend time supporting charities and visiting hospitals, including many VA facilities. They have also given their support to the Salvation Army, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Association for Hearing Impaired Children, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, nursing homes and children’s homes.”
During the presentation before thousands of convention delegates, Koutz said, “If the Dallas Cowboys are America’s team, our next guests can be appropriately called America’s Cheerleaders. Not because of what they do on the football field but because of how they conduct themselves away from it.”
Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Anderson and DCC Director Kelli Finglass accepted the award on behalf of the entire organization.
“It is an honor to join such a respected group of recipients of The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal,” Anderson said, flanked by cheerleaders.“During their USO tours, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have always strived to bring a touch of home to the men and women of our Armed Forces serving abroad. It is just a small thank-you for the enormous sacrifices our service men, women and their families make to protect our freedom.”
The Distinguished Service Medal is The American Legion’s highest honor. Previous recipients include presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell and former Sen. Richard Lugar.