A Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader performs at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2013 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.
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.”
(Thanks to everyone who wrote in with suggestions)
Redskins Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Cover Model Heather is a former Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader
By Meagan Clark
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.
Videos by Tommy Noel/The Dallas Morning News
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.
The official team photo and bios have been posted on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders website. Go there now!
Additional congrats to this years Group Leaders and Seconds (aka captains and co-capts).
Random thought…I always wonder why anyone does over-the-shoulder thing for their official individual photo.
The team had their big reveal last night, which included an enormous canvas banner of this year’s team
Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Emma, Holly, Kelsey, Mia, Alex, and Jackie made a special appearance at the Four Seasons yesterday. Click here to view the photo gallery!
This time with photos! Big ups to Karla from the DCC group on Yahoo for the scanned pics of the veterans. Rookie pics (starred) come from Twitter.
I’m sure I’m about to alienate a whole bunch of you, but I refuse to give any member of that family one second more of attention by mentioning them by name. In fact, I pray nightly for their 15 minutes of fame (which, admittedly is up to about 45 minutes now) to end. When? When will it be over? And is there anything I can do to make that happen sooner rather than later?
By Molly Chance
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are headed back to CMT with their trademark splits, high kicks, big hair and itty bitty cowgirl shorts. And Zap2it has your first look at the action-packed video super tease for Season 8 of “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.”
As Lenny Kravitz’ “American Woman” plays in the background, we see lots of dancing, smiling, beauty preparations, and CMT’s trademark body part closeups, as contenders for the world class cheerleading squad give it their all for a chance to be invited to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ annual training camp.
But it’s not all happy faces, as the preview makes the point that this season, making the team is “not just about the dance.” During panel interviews, where the questions tend to be along the lines of what might be asked in the “brains” portion of a beauty pageant, one judge asks a group of DCC wannabes, “Can you tell us who the vice president is?”
Looks of confusion fall across several pretty faces before one offers, “Obiden?” The look — make that cringe — on DCC Director and extemporary drill sergeant Kelli Finglass’ face is priceless. “It’s hard to undo stupid,” she says.
We also get a glimpse of the bewilderngly brave women who show up to compete with thousands of skilled dancers at tryouts, but don’t quite make the cut — let’s just say they wouldn’t fit into the trademark DCC uniform, or couldn’t win a local dance competition — while dance coach Kitty Carter, never one to mince words, yells at a true competitor, “You’re a hot mess!” Ouch.
Glimpses of tryouts and training camp practice — where rookies compete against veterans for a spot on the world famous team — preview lots of falls, and one major injury that leaves an unidentified blonde sobbing on the dance floor. Meanwhile, Finglass tearfully informs the team, “We lost a teammate today.”
“Who will make the cut?,” Finglass asks at the end of the tease. Here’s a hint: It’s probably not going to be any of the number of women shown with mascara-laced tears streaming down their faces.
Watch the sneak peek video, then tune into CMT Sept. 6 for the premiere of “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” Season 8.
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