From a recent trip to Phoenix, here are the 2016 Sidewinders the dance team for the Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers:
From a recent trip to Phoenix, here are the 2016 Sidewinders the dance team for the Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers:
We are excited to announce an exciting new feature that will highlight the lives and accomplishments of our alumnae cheerleaders. “Where Are They Now?” will give #PatsNation a chance to see what their favorite former cheerleaders have been up to since retiring their uniform. First to be featured is Sloane Heffernan:
Sloane Heffernan, born and raised in New Bedford, MA, was a New England Patriots Cheerleader in the early 90s. Her years with the Patriots set the stage for the rest of her professional life. At just 18 years old, she was the youngest woman to make the team. She had just graduated from high school and didn’t have any immediate plans to continue her education. “The intelligent, ambitious, and confident women that I met on the squad empowered me to go back to college and become a journalist”, said Sloane.
She attended Emerson College in Boston and had her first internship in the sports department at WBZ with Steve Burton. She later went on to cover local news at NBC affiliates in Fort Myers, FL, Albany, GA, and, currently, Raleigh, NC. Sloane recently won an Emmy Award for breaking news coverage in North Carolina! In addition to enjoying incredible professional success, Sloane is happily married to the man she was dating back when she made the squad in 1990! They have three beautiful children together, as well as an English Bulldog named Rosie-Belle.
The Tennessee Titans recently hosted the NFL Cheerleading and Entertainment Directors meetings for their annual three-day League Conference.
For the second time over their nearly two decade history, the Tennessee Titans hosted the NFL Cheerleading and Entertainment Directors for their annual three-day League Conference from February 22nd to February 24th.
“I was thrilled and proud to showcase our incredible town and our team to the rest of the league,” said Kinder. “It was an honor to be nominated as the 2016 host, and the city of Nashville proved again why we are the hottest place in the country right now!”
The conference began with the Vendors Showcase in the West Club at Nissan Stadium. The evening included presentations from 19 different companies, with products ranging from apparel to jewelry to photography. The night also included a surprise Writers in the Round with performances by multi-platinum recording artist Tracy Lawrence, ABC “Nashville’s” Charles Esten and Titans Cheerleader/country music artist Heidi West. Additional dance performances by the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders and DC Dance Factory took place throughout the evening.
The second day of the conference was held at the Hilton Downtown Nashville. The day included a number of guest speakers discussing topics ranging from dermatology to the psychology of coaching. Additional breakout sessions included sponsorships, social media and junior cheerleading programs. The night concluded with a fantastic dinner in The Gulch at Sambuca and a visit to Broadway’s famous honky tonks.
After conference meetings concluded the morning of the 24th, attendees boarded the Big Pink Bus for an unforgettable tour of Nashville by the Jugg Sisters on their Original NashTrash Tour. The final day ended with Directors enjoying a memorable performance by songwriter Lance Carpenter at The Listening Room.
More photos here.
The 2016 Face of AKD Model Search is here! Have you dreamed of being an international model? Would you like to combine your love for dance, performing, modeling, and sports? Are you a current or former collegiate, semi-pro, or professional dance or cheer team member? If so, then this is the opportunity for you!
This is the 5th year for the AKD Model Search. Our past winners are spectacular and have represented the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Pelicans, UNLV Rebels, and St. Louis Rams. Your team could be next!
The Face of AKD is selected by a prestigious panel of celebrity judges. The producer of NBC Sports Sunday Night Football, Emmy Award winners, the director of the famous Los Angeles Laker Girls, TV hosts, and the sports industry’s’ top entrepreneurs. As an applicant, you will be personally reviewed by these high level judges, that alone is an exciting, once-in-a-life-time opportunity!
As the 2016 Face of AKD, you will be flown to Texas for a photo shoot, featured on the HOUSE of AKD print campaigns in three countries, featured as a live dance model representing AKD in Las Vegas, and much more! If you win, your team wins! The winner’s current or former team benefits by receiving free workout wear for the whole cheer/dance group. Applicants will receive prizes every step of the way during the search, plus you could earn the title of AKD International Top Ten and win a custom piece of AKD jewelry!
Entering is easy, just visit our web site at www.AKDmodelsearch.com and click on the APPLY NOW button. Have some photos handy, as you will need to submit them with your application. (Head shot, body shot, and an optional extra photo) You may also attach an optional resume. If you have any questions, please contact us at marketing@HOUSEofAKD.com. We look forward to receiving your application… “It Could Be You!”
Former cheerleaders of the Los Angeles Rams gathered Sunday afternoon for a reunion.
Tina Bright said she’s the oldest. She started in 1980. Regardless of the era, though, it was obvious the women share a bond. They were the chosen ones in blue and gold.
“There was about 2,000 girls who tried out,” recalls Bright.
The women said back then, they devoted about 25 hours a week to practicing routines, doing promotional and charity work, and performingat Rams games.
The pay? $40 per game.
Discipline was demanded and life lessons were learned:
“You learn teamwork. You learn how to sacrifice and how to put in long hours,” said Jessica Guzman, another former cheerleader.
Guzman and Elliana Reece were not only Rams cheerleaders in LA, but also cheered and coached the squad the first year in St. Louis, too.
Photographer Henry Yep’s photo album was the most treasured item brought to the reunion and took the women back to their early 20’s.
The women have been able to stay in touch through the years, especially thanks to social media. But, they say, the biggest change now is their topic of conversation.
It used to be make-up, dance routines, and nightlife. Now, they say, it’s about their kids, many of whom are in dance and some of which are cheerleaders as well.
The women say they are pleased to see the Rams returning to LA.
By Vicki Terwilliger
A Valley View woman’s hoping the view from the sidelines at Philadelphia Eagles football games is one she’ll bring into focus.
Amanda Lyn Gerber will soon try out for a spot on the team’s cheerleading squad at Lincoln Financial Field, home stadium of the National Football League’s Eagles.
It’s a position she’s been in before — just one of 400 hopefuls vying for the opportunity.
“Last year when I was cut after the third audition round, I immediately knew I would be trying out again this year because it was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life to date,” Gerber, 20, said. “I was given the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, and I learned so much about my own skills and abilities, as well as confidence in myself.”
Gerber spent the last year preparing for a few short moments in front of the judges. Boosting her dancing abilities was something she was committed to do in order to become a professional cheerleader.
She’s currently a student at Penn State Berks Campus, Reading, studying communication sciences and disorders, and will further her education in State College this fall.
“I immediately began looking for studios that I could take classes at once my fall semester started up. I actually found an amazing coach through a mutual friend of my mother, and she was just beginning to teach at Dance Fusion Studios in Reading. I started taking private lessons towards the end of August, and in September I joined a jazz class at the studio.”
Gerber has her own fan base of family members who’ll be rooting for her again this year.
She resides with her mother, Ruthann Harner; stepfather, Chad Harner; and two younger brothers, Brenton and Kaden Harner. She’s also the daughter of Gary Gerber, Shamokin, and has an older brother, Jonathon Gerber, who resides in Florida. Gerber is the granddaughter of Ruth Riley, Valley View, Bruce and Penny Johnson, Gratz, Sandy Gerber, Quakake, and Kim and Janice Harner, Sacramento.
This year’s tryouts will begin with a dance prep workshop and mock audition on Feb. 16 and 17, respectively. Gerber said that’s the time when she’ll learn the audition dance two weeks prior to the open call audition, which is March 5.
“I will definitely be accompanied by my mother and my older brother, Jonathon, and hopefully more members of my family as well. However, the open call audition is not open to the public so they cannot watch my audition. If I advance past the open call auditions on March 5, I will likely have a second audition that same day that determines if I make it to semifinals.”
Gerber’s unsure of the exact number of cheerleaders they are looking for, but recalled last year they were seeking about 40 people.
“The tryout process is pretty simple,” she said. “You are taught choreography very similar to what the Eagles dance style is. At the open call audition, you are given a number, and you perform in groups of around 10 girls. The judges are looking for girls who can memorize and perform choreography correctly, have skills in dance, and who just generally look happy while doing it.”
“I recall a member of the crew saying last year, ‘We aren’t just looking for dancers, we’re looking for models.’ So, fitting the part is pretty cut and dry,” said Gerber, who has participated in cheering since she was young, in high school, and now as a cheerleader for the Penn State Berks men’s basketball team.
The preparation has been an entertaining part of the journey, she said.
“The most exciting and fun part of this process, though a little stressful, is the preparation — getting my hair done, ordering the perfect, flashy and bold audition outfit, getting photographs taken for my portfolio and so much more. The most challenging part has been completely dedicating myself to being prepared for this year. It was very difficult with work and school, but I’ve really focused on being in shape and eating clean to prepare for this year’s audition. I’ve worked hard in my dance classes, and improved my flexibility and dance skills tremendously, although there is still always room for improvement.”
She’s planning on using her past audition experience this time around.
“Right before my audition last year, all I kept telling myself was that I should be happy no matter what the outcome is, because I was so proud of myself for even having the guts to audition in the first place considering there were over 400 girls at the audition. I almost felt a little in over my head, but excited at the same time. I was not surprised when I was cut after the first round, and I was still so thankful for the experience. So, a few days after the open call audition where I was originally cut, I received a phone call from the director asking if I would be interesting in coming back for the semifinal audition. I’m sure you can only imagine how excited I was, and of course I said ‘Yes!’ I think I was already dialing my mother’s phone number before I even hung up with the director because I was so anxious to share the news.”
She took another trip to Lincoln Financial Field to learn the choreography for the semifinal audition, and a few short weeks after that was faced with yet another “nerve-wracking” audition, she said.
“This time I was dancing along side just one other girl, and the audience was not only the judges, but also 50 to 100 Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holders. I barely even remember auditioning. It was so quick and I had so much adrenaline. But, again I was happy with whatever the outcome was. Unfortunately, only about 75 girls made it through the semifinal round and I was not one of them, but the amazing feeling I had after auditioning that day still plays through my head,” Gerber said.
She added, “I’ve dreamed about cheering for them since I was young.”
By Shay Burk
The Hastings Tribune
When Super Bowl 50 kicks off Sunday, some Hastings residents won’t be looking for Peyton Manning to yell “Omaha” or for “Superman” quarterback Cam Newton’s moves on the field.
Instead, they’ll be looking for a familiar face.
Among the 26 members of the Denver Broncos cheer squad is Hastings College alum Jozie LaViolette, who is in her first year with the squad.
And to say that she is excited for the game is an understatement.
“The fact that the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl alone is absolutely incredible. The fact that we get to join them … no words,” LaViolette told the Tribune.
“We know how blessed we are that Mr. Bowlen (Mr. B) has made it a point to include us in every aspect of the DB experience and organization.”
LaViolette, a 2013 Hastings College graduate, may have danced on the field at the college but she admits her cheer and dance career started at an older age than some.
Growing up in Omaha, LaViolette started out as a player on the field, not a cheerleader.
“I was an extremely competitive soccer and softball player before dance took over my life,” she said.
Then a friend invited a 13-year-old LaViolette to a visitor’s day at her dance studio and, just like that, she was hooked.
“I asked my parents to take me to a few more classes, and I fell in love with it,” LaViolette said. “I tried to do soccer, softball and dance but there wasn’t enough time for all three. I chose to concentrate on dance and the rest is history.”
In high school, LaViolette was on the pom squad at Papillion-LaVista High School and competed with Mary Lorraine’s Dance Center in Omaha.
At Hastings College, she served as technique coordinator and captain of the Crimson Spirit Dance Team. She doubled up by also serving as a Danger Doll for the first year of the Nebraska Danger arena football team in Grand Island.
“With each team and season, my love and passion for dance and cheer and working on a team grew,” LaViolette said. “I knew I wasn’t done after graduating from HC.”
That’s when LaViolette moved to Colorado where she started working in web communication design, the major she pursued at Hastings College.
While she had a full-time job, LaViolette was still hunting down that dream of making it onto a professional dance team.
LaViolette spent two seasons as a member of The Wild Bunch, the squad cheering for the Colorado Mammoth, the state’s indoor lacrosse team. During that time, she also tried out for the Denver Bronco cheerleaders for the first time and was rejected.
That rejection only fueled her fire to work harder to prepare for the auditions and, hopefully, make the squad.
“Auditions are long and rigorous but they are a wonderful opportunity to meet people and it’s overall such a positive and inspiring environment,” she said.
Each time LaViolette tried out for the Denver Bronco cheerleaders, she was competing with more than 200 other women who all had to learn combos and routines to perform in both the preliminary and semifinal rounds before even making it to training camp.
In training camp, LaViolette was up against 49 other candidates who were expected to learn three more routines, self-choreograph a solo, showcase technique across the floor, take a 100-plus question football exam, and be interviewed by a panel of unique judges.
That all comes before the final test when the last cuts are made and members of the squad are named.
As a Denver Broncos cheerleader, LaViolette performs at all home games. They are required to know the game of football, know the Broncos team history, understand referee signals and know what other teams in the league are doing, as well.
“We pride ourselves on our knowledge and love for the game of football,” she said. “We can’t lead a crowd if we don’t know what’s happening on the field.”
The women practice two evenings a week and attend all home games. In terms of exercise, the women don’t have a set fitness schedule. Instead, most take yoga classes, visit the gym or participate in other workout programs on their off days.
Along with their cheering duties, the women also give of their time racking up 400-plus hours of community service time in the Denver area each season.
LaViolette said her favorite outside activity is working with the Dare to Cheer program, which works with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.
Dare to Cheer is comprised of young girls, boys, men, and women with Downs Syndrome who love to cheer and love the Denver Broncos.
“Having a brother with special needs makes this program especially close to my heart,” LaViolette said.
While those commitments keep LaViolette and the other cheerleaders busy, this isn’t their lives.
In fact, it is just a part-time job.
Among the cheerleaders are law students, master’s program students, mothers and those who have a full-time job. LaViolette has had several jobs in her time in Colorado and is currently serving as co-director of marketing and social media at The Sawaya Law Firm in Denver.
As for going to California for the Super Bowl, LaViolette said she’s ecstatic not only for the game but the connections she will make.
“Something that is specifically special to the DBC is the chance to meet the Panthers Cheerleaders and to share the field with them,” LaViolette said. “We love getting to meet women who love football just as much as we do and care for the hometown and state communities on the same level.”
By Lindsay Watts
It was nearly four decades ago when the Denver Broncos made their first Super Bowl appearance, and a Boulder woman got to see that game right from the field.
Pat Mansfield went by ‘Pat Chance’ back when she was selected to be a cheerleader on the newly formed Pony Express.
“It was a once in a lifetime thing,” Mansfield said. “It was magical. It was a time when the Broncos had just started becoming a winning team. There was a new coach coming in, there was a new quarterback.”
Mansfield said the excitement in Colorado in 1978 remains unmatched.
“To go to the Super Bowl was beyond anybody’s dreams,” she said. “And because it was the first time, the whole community was euphoric.”
Mansfield showed off her collection of photographs as well as her ‘Orange Crush’ t-shirt she has kept all these years.
“Throughout the nation, throughout NFL, they were known as the Orange Crush defense,” Mansfield said.
The Pony Express was disbanded after just a few years due to cheerleaders posing for Playboy Magazine. The Broncos then went without a squad for more than a decade.
“I was really excited when I saw they were bringing cheerleaders back because I really think they add something to the ambiance of the game,” said Mansfield.
She said she’ll still be cheering for her team on Sunday, though this time, from her couch.
“I’m just so grateful I have the privilege of being part of that very first time,” she said.