Click here for photos from The Press Democrat.
Gosh, I forgot how much prettier kicks are when the boots allow for pointed toes.
NFL Preseason is here! Click here to check out Sports Illustrated’s first NFL cheerleader gallery of the season.
The Chiefs have updated their individual cheerleader uniform photos. Click here to take a look!
By Sean Keeler
FOX Sports Kansas City
Rachel Wray, the former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader-turned-fighter, is returning to MMA for the first time in more than a year. The Arkansas native tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com that she’s received an offer to fight on July 12, in Memphis, Tennessee, on a card put on by Attitude MMA.
“I was scheduled to fight in June in Mississippi but the entire show was canceled,” says Wray, who sports a 2-1 record. “My coach has been getting several offers for me to fight more of the big-name girls, title fights, et cetera. But he tells them while he does think that I could beat them, I haven’t fought in (more than) a year and I’ve only had three fights. So we need to wait and get some more fights under my belt before I accept a title fight or a more high-status opponent. We need to see where I’m at first.”
After her original opponent for the Memphis bout backed out, Wray says, she’s now slated to fight Jamie Clinton.
“She is a two-stripe white belt (as am I),” Wray says, “so I expect she will have some good ground game.”
The 24-year-old, who was on the Chiefs’ cheerleading squad in 2011 and ’12, bowed out of a bout with Bobby Bedard last August because of a weight issue.
Since then, everything in her MMA circle is new — new gym, new trainer and a new weight class.
“I was cutting way too much weight,” says Wray, who’ll fight at 130 pounds now after cycling between 115 and 125 pounds the last two years. “Fluctuating 20 pounds every couple months just isn’t healthy, especially for a girl. Ten years of gymnastics caused my body to be more naturally bulky and muscular. So I discovered that if I started lifting heavy and went up a weight class, I would feel 10 times stronger, more explosive and powerful.”
As to the latter, well, thank her new boyfriend, Geo, who’s also her strength and conditioning coach. The routine: CrossFit-style workouts at 6 a.m., followed by Olympic lifts and cardio circuits with fighting-style elements.
She’s also been fine-tuning her fighting style, having won gold at an American Grappling Federation tournament last fall, and two silvers at the NAGA World Jiu-Jitsu Championship last December in Dallas.
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“I have really been developing my fighting style and I don’t want to give anything away to my opponent,” Wray says. “But let’s just say what you see on YouTube is not how I fight anymore — at all.”
She’s teaching at UFC Gym in Fayetteville, Ark., and signing some autographs locally in June. But the bulk of the next two months is centered on training. Training and keeping a relatively low profile.
“All of my focus really is on getting ready for my return to the cage,” Wray says.
“When everyone first found out about me going from being a Chiefs cheerleader to an MMA fighter, there was a huge uproar with the media and caused sort of a frenzy. It was very stressful to me and brought many emotions that got in the way of my training. ‘Step right up, folks, see the amazing cage-fighting cheerleader!’ That’s how it all felt.”
Goodbye, pompoms; hello, Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association. Next up: Wray plans on being tested for her blue belt in the mixed martial arts style.
“This has been my most important goal — more important than winning fights — since I first started fighting,” she says. “The reason why it’s so important to me is because it’s the best way to display my discipline and dedication to the sport.
“I also believe that it will force the MMA community to respect me. Nobody will be able to say that I’m ‘not qualified’ or ‘not experienced enough’ or ‘don’t deserve it’ or any of that stuff (that) I used to hear when I first started. Nobody can say that I haven’t put in the work, because I will have a great way to prove them wrong.”
The 2014 squad gathered at Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs Cheerleader poster shoot
By Rachel Santschi
The Chiefs Cheerleaders returned from their calendar trip last week and just finished their poster shoot over the weekend at Arrowhead Stadium. The 33 ladies arrived at 7a.m. for an all day photo shoot on Saturday, including individual shots, a group shot, cheer group shots and a shoot with all the captains.
“Poster shoot is a long and tedious process,” Stephanie Judah, Chiefs Cheerleader Director, explained. “You can’t rush and you need to make sure you get the best shot of each girl. It’s fun, but takes a lot of work. Thankfully, we have a huge team to help make this day run smoothly. From our amazing photographer, to Beauty Brands styling hair and doing make-up, to Alumni Cheerleaders helping and guiding poses and positions, it takes all of us to create this amazing piece of history.”
The Chiefs Cheerleader posters are used throughout the year. The girls bring these posters on appearances, to community events, on game days or on military tours; they autograph each one and distribute them to the Chiefs Kingdom.
To kickoff the day, each girl took a headshot and a full body shot in the Chiefs Cheerleader uniform and for some, this was when a dream became a reality.
“Poster shoot is a very exciting time for all of our Cheerleaders,” Judah noted. “It is when the rookies put on that uniform and realize their dreams have come true. For veterans, it is that moment of excitement to be part of history for another year. It is so special to watch all of them come together and become the 2014 team. It is truly a special moment.”
During the poster shoot, it is a chance for the veterans to work closely with the rookies and is the first time they are all able to wear the Chiefs Cheerleader uniform.
“Poster shoot is the moment when it all hits you and you realize that we are the current team, we are the 2014 squad,” Krissy, Chiefs Cheerleader Captain, explained. “For the rookies, poster shoot is their ‘pinch me, I really made the squad’ moment and as a veteran, I love seeing the rookies blossom and their eyes twinkle with excitement. We take so much pride in these posters and it’s an incredible experience with the team.”
Following individual shots is the group shot, which includes all 33 ladies and takes much longer than you would think.
“Most people don’t realize how much goes into shooting that group photo,” Summer, Chiefs Cheerleader Captain, said. “Every detail has to be perfect, including the spacing of the formation, angles of the bodies, uniforms laying the right way, hair and makeup and more. Having 33 people take a great photo all at once is not an easy task, but we want to give this organization the representation that it deserves and we always end up getting an incredible shot.”
There is also the captain photo shoot; these photos will appear on the back of the poster, while the group shot is on the front. The girls also pose with their cheer groups and to end the day, they have their individual athletic shots.
“The last shoot of the day is our rendition of ‘Sporty Chick’,” Krissy said. “It’s our opportunity to show our fashion personalities with a sporty twist and is probably the shot that the girls enjoy the most. I love watching the ladies during these individual shots; I feel I learn so much about their personalities and fashion taste and we all have a lot of fun with these shots.”
It was a long day and a lot of hard work but the girl’s love seeing the final product and being able to hand out those poster to Chiefs fans around the world.
“These posters become a piece of history that lives on forever,” Judah noted. “This 2014 squad did a phenomenal job. I truly appreciate everyone’s hard work and can’t wait to see the finished product.”
Earlier today, the Kansas City Chiefs announced the names of the ladies selected to this year’s dance team. The 2014-15 squad is 33 strong, including 28 field cheerleaders, who dance during the game, and five ambassadors, who are the promotional arm of the squad. Twelve rookies made it onto the team, three ambassadors, and 9 field squad.
Click here to see who made the team!
This year we also welcome a new set of twins into the NFL. Claire, and Caroline, originally from Iowa, are alumni dancers from semi pro football teams, the Ceder Rapids Titans and River City Roughriders. Congrats to these sisters, on being called up to the pros!
Claire (left) and Caroline (right)
Another day of auditions is over and the group of dancers has been narrowed down to 65 finalists. That group includes 27 veterans, who are determined to keep their spots on the team. The Chiefs usually field a team of about 34 dancers and ambassadors, so if all the veterans make it back, that doesn’t leave much room for newbies. They’ve danced their hardest and done their best. Now it’s in the judges’ hands and there’s nothing to do but wait…
[Click here for photos of the finalists. Rookies in black, veterans in red.]
The first round of auditions for the 2014-15 Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders took place last night. The field of candidates danced and participated in a public speaking exercise, and at the end of the day, the group was down to 83 semi-finalists. Congrats ladies! This morning, they will be joined by last year’s returning KC3 veterans for the next step in this rigorous audition process. Click here to see who made the semis last night.
Chiefs Cheerleader Krystal traveled to Japan
By Rachel Santschi
Recently, Chiefs Cheerleader Krystal traveled to Japan with ProTour Productions for the Military Super Bowl Tour. Krystal, along with five other NFL Cheerleaders visited Camp Zama, a United States Army Military Installation, to meet military families and celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII.
On Thursday of last week, Krystal flew out to Los Angeles to meet up with Jenna, a cheerleader with the Titans, and Alice, a cheerleader with the Falcons. From Los Angeles, the girls flew to Tokyo to meet Vikings Cheerleader Missy, Redskins Cheerleader Susan, and Cardinals Cheerleader Kristen.
“We were one of the bigger groups on the Military Super Bowl Tour and it was an incredible opportunity to meet the other women and experience Japan,” Krystal noted. “While we were in the airport, we actually ran into some of the girls that were traveling to another base in Japan and a group that was traveling to Alaska. It was pretty cool to find out that there were girls all around the world on this tour.”
After their 11-hour flight, it was now Friday and they had finally made it to Japan and were ready for their Military Super Bowl Tour to begin.
Saturday morning, the girls had breakfast with Garrison Commander Colonel Joy L. Curriera, Command Sergeant Major Katrina M. Najee and Major General James C. Boozer, Sr.
“It was really cool to meet everyone on Saturday,” Krystal commented. “We ate with a few of the military members from the base and it was awesome to have breakfast with them and hear their stories. We all enjoyed their company and we also got to meet some of their families.”
Following breakfast, the girls visited the military police and fire department. They took a tour of the jail, learned about the men and women’s daily responsibilities and even experienced what it was like to take a mug shot.
“They staged our meeting and actually pulled us over on the side of the highway and asked for all of our passports,” Krystal explained. “We were all a little panicked, until they finally told us it was just a joke and then it was pretty funny. After we all calmed down and laughed it off, they took us to the station and we met some of their families and toured the facility.”
Saturday afternoon, the girls hosted a youth program for young children, many of whom are interested in cheering or dance. The girls taught the group a few routines, spoke to them about cheering for an NFL team, and explained that they are each professionals and have full-time jobs outside of cheerleading.
“The program we held on Saturday was similar to what the Chiefs do at Arrowhead Stadium, through the Junior CC’s program,” Krystal said. “We spoke with the girls about the importance of higher education, told them about ourselves and our full-time jobs and also taught them a few dances that they then later performed for the group.”
Sunday, the girls were able to spend some time sightseeing and taking in Japan as a tourist.
“We were able to go explore Japan on Sunday and act as a tourist for a day,” Krystal commented. “We visited one of the temples, the Asakusa Temple, went inside and received our fortunes, and then we went to one of the fashion districts. It was really interesting to experience the Japanese culture and explore the city.”
Monday morning, it was finally time for the big game. In Japan, Super Bowl XLVIII aired Monday at 8:15a.m. The girls arrived around 7:30a.m. to perform a pregame routine, mingled with the families and enjoyed the game. They also performed at halftime, signed autographs and even met a few Chiefs fans.
“It was so incredible to meet some Chiefs fans in Japan,” Krystal said. “One to note was a man who spoke no English, so his friend helped translate our conversation, so we could easily communicate. He told me he visited Arrowhead Stadium one time and loved it. He said while he was there, he bought a Chiefs jersey and said he can’t wait to go back one day.”
Monday afternoon, following the game, the girls visited the US Army Aviation Battalion, tried on the gear, and learned about the daily operations.
Overall, the cheerleaders had an incredible time and Krystal said she would love to travel back one day.
“I loved the trip,” Krystal said. “The experience was eye-opening and it was amazing to hear the families’ stories. It was awesome meeting these men and women and their families, as well as meeting the other girls. I’m so thankful for the relationships I built, while I was there, and would go back in a heartbeat.”
These trips are special for the girls and the military bases they visit. To see more photos of the trip visit ProTour Productions Facebook here.
[Krystal at KCChiefs.com]
[ProTour Productions on Facebook]
By Rachel Santschi
Chiefs Cheerleader, Summer will experience an opportunity of a lifetime, representing the Chiefs in Hawaii during the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Summer is a first grade teacher from Springfield, Missouri and is in her fifth year as a Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader. To learn more about Summer check out her biography here.
“Summer is a five year member of our team and a two year captain,” Stephanie Judah, Chiefs Cheerleaders Director, explained. “She has been selected as the 2014 Pro Bowl representative of the Chiefs Cheerleaders. It is a huge honor to represent our team at the Pro Bowl; we are so excited for Summer and extremely proud of her.”
After the announcement was made, I spoke with her about her reaction to the being selected, her experience as a Chiefs Cheerleader and her future trip to Hawaii.
R: Tell me about you experience as a Chiefs Cheerleader.
S: That’s a pretty loaded question just because there’s been so many things that I’ve been able to experience being a Chiefs Cheerleader for the past five years. It’s been really amazing being a part of this team. There have been so many people I’ve met and friends I’ve made through this experience. There are also so many opportunities to interact with the community and I feel privileged that I’ve been able to meet passionate Chiefs fans, do so much with the military and represent the Chiefs as a Cheerleader. It really has been a life changing experience.
R: Did you ever dream you would be cheering at the Pro Bowl one day?
S: No, not at all. I was on the squad for four years before I was nominated so for the past few years I’ve seen so many girls be that role model for the team. I never honestly considered it because there are so many wonderful girls that could go, so I never thought it could be me. It’s a huge shock to me still but I’m so honored.
R: How did you find out you were selected to go to the Pro Bowl?
S: Every year the whole team votes, usually around October or November, for their top five choices of who they want to see go to the Pro Bowl. All we know is that sometime in November or December the announcement will be made during a game. Right before we perform, the staff will tell us to stay on the field and then we realize we are about to find out. It’s a fun way to find out. This year there were six nominations, so those were announced on ArrowVision and then a few seconds later, they announced the girl chosen to go to the Pro Bowl.
R: What was your reaction?
S: I saw my picture, they put a lei on me and next thing you know we were off and running. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that I was chosen to go to the Pro Bowl.
R: What are you most looking forward to about this trip?
S: I’m really excited for all the new experiences and the people that I will meet. I’m excited to meet girls from other NFL teams, hear their stories and get to know them. Plus, I’ve never been to Hawaii before so it should be really fun.
R: What does it mean to you to be selected and to represent the Chiefs?
S: This is a huge honor. I’m really nervous but also really excited. There is only one girl from each team that is able to represent their city and their team, so I’m nervous, but I’m also extremely excited to see the Chiefs Kingdom in Hawaii. This is a huge honor and I’m so thankful for the opportunity.
[Summer at KCChiefs.com]
Former Chiefs Cheerleaders reunite for Alumni Weekend at Arrowhead
Each year, the Chiefs host an alumni weekend, celebrating those who have worn the skirt, waved the poms, and sported the white boots on the sidelines at Arrowhead Stadium as Chiefs Cheerleaders.
Former, as well as current, Chiefs Cheerleaders talk about a bond that they share, describing it as a strong and unbreakable bond between each of the women on the squad. During alumni weekend, it was evident that this bond truly is never broken but can last through the years.
“Once a Chiefs Cheerleader, always a Chiefs Cheerleader,” Jennifer Green, Chiefs Cheerleader from 1993-2000 noted. “To be able to come back and see these women again and reminisce on the memories is amazing. This sisterhood lasts forever and being reunited with them is incredible.”
To begin the alumni weekend, on Friday, the former cheerleaders were invited to the current cheerleaders’ practice, which was a trip down memory lane for all.
“Walking into the practice facility all those memories came flooding back of how hard you worked, how much fun you had and the friendships that you created,” Shearon Nowak, Chiefs Cheerleader from 1993-1996 explained. “We watched the girls practice and then had the chance to talk about what it was like when we cheered, gave them some words of wisdom and we also brought a photo of us from our cheerleading days and shared a funny story or a special moment.”
The group took a tour of the stadium on Saturday and then gathered again on Sunday, before the game, to tailgate outside of Arrowhead Stadium, the place they still call their home.
“So much of our time was spent at Arrowhead, so it’s a special place to all of us,” Green said. “Every time I go through the gate, I get the goose bumps and feel like I’m transported back to 1993. Coming back for this weekend, it feels like I’m home again.”
Prior to kickoff, the group headed inside and stood on the field, where they recalled the memories of performing on that sideline, encouraging the crowd to get loud and cheering for the Chiefs.
“Being on that field brought back so many memories,” Raquel Thomas, Chiefs Cheerleader from 1998 to 2004 noted. “Cheering on those sidelines is something that you will always remember. Stepping onto that field again, brought back a wealth of memories. It was incredible to be down there again and see the current Cheerleaders perform.”
From those who cheered in the 1960’s to those who just recently hung up their uniform and retired their poms, all agreed that the memories formed are unforgettable and the friendships made are unmatched.
“You can’t help but feel this sense of pride and belonging to this organization, and I will never lose that feeling,” Green commented. “When Lamar was here, he instilled a real family atmosphere and being part of the Chiefs family is amazing. Arrowhead will always be called home for us and we will always share that bond of sisterhood. Like I said, once a Chiefs Cheerleader, always a Chiefs Cheerleader.”
[KC Chiefs Cheerleaders]
Click here for the latest gallery from Sports Illustrated. This one includes teams from the Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Patriots, Ravens, Eagles, Bucs, and Cardinals.
And speaking of the AZC, looks like they’ve revamped their Cardinal Red uniforms for 2013. That’s the new one on the left and last year’s version on the right.
The Chiefs have had cheerleader headshots on their site since May. Seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? Well, now they’ve added new individual photos as well as bios for this year’s team, so click here to go there now!
Well, look who it is! Hometown girl Janea has returned from her time in Tennessee and is a back in KC, this time as a brunette. What do you think? Blonde or brunette, she’s purty either way.
Click here for this week’s Sports Illustrated gallery, which features dance teams from the Cardinals, Bengals, Texans, Chiefs, Patriots, Jets, Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, and Redskins.
2011 KC Chiefs Pro Bowl Cheerleader Liz