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Scenes from OKC Thunder Girl auditions

38 Headed to Finals
J.P. Wilson
OKC Thunder

More than 100 talented ladies spent Saturday vying for spots in the Thunder Girls Finals, presented by Riverwind Casino. When the preliminary auditions were finished, 38 dancers made the cut. The public is invited to the Finals, Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at Riverwind, doors open at 6. PHOTOS | VIDEO | THUNDER GIRLS FACEBOOK

Video: Thunder Girls begin new season with auditions


2012 P-R-O Convention All Star: Oklahoma City Thunder Girl Jessica

When I first received notification that I would be attending the P-R-O Convention, I started doing my research and scanned the listing of squads that would be in attendance.  One of the new squads was the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls and I was excited to see who they would bring to P-R-O.  There are many NFL squads, but only a few NBA teams in attendance, so I was looking forward to photographing them.  And I was not disappointed as there were several girls that stood out for their beauty and tremendous dance ability.

In this edition, we feature one Oklahoma City Thunder Girl…Jessica, whose beauty and talent was readily evident.

Photo of the Day: July 12

An Oklahoma City Thunder Girl – It’s Christmas in July!

SI.com: Thunder Girls

Click here to check out Sports Illustrated’s new photos of the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls in action!

2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder Girls

The Thunder Girls have updated their page with lots of new individual photos. Go check it out!

[OKC Thunder Girls]

All Aboard the Polar Express

by Karina Henderson


If you didn’t hear the sound of jingling silver bells Wednesday afternoon at Sooner Elementary, then you probably could have used a ride on “The Polar Express.”

You would have had company on board the “train” when it left the school that afternoon: about 40 kids ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade (all dressed in their pajamas), a few fifth-grade “helper elves” and four Thunder Girls reading aloud the original Chris Van Allsburg book.

The Thunder Girls joined this magical journey as part of the Thunder’s Reading Timeout program, presented by American Fidelity Assurance Company.

“I walked in not really knowing what to expect, and it was incredible,” said Roy Bishop of American Fidelity. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

At the entrance to a classroom hall stood a locomotive and an overflowing toy car, with a fifth-grader stationed to punch each child’s ticket before they boarded for their journey.

Inside, school staff transformed the narrow hallway into a train bound for the North Pole, just like in the book. The lights were covered, and Christmas lights mimicked starlight on the night train. Each seat was covered in red felt with gingerbread men and Christmas trees sewn on the back.

Holiday music played softly, and train whistles blew quietly, as though in the distance. Frosted windows hung on the paper-wrapped walls with snowflakes and icicles and countryside views.

Once each child took their seat on the train, Thunder Girls Alexis, Kelsey, LaTeshia and Sheri began to read the book about a child’s journey to meet Santa Claus.

“This is just like the movie that we watched!” exclaimed one child after the story began.

Marybeth Gann, one of the teachers who set up the event, said this is the ninth year the school has created a “Polar Express” experience like this, but that they try to do a little more with it every year. This year’s biggest change was asking the Thunder Girls to take part.

“We have so many fans of the Thunder basketball team here (that) we thought (there’s) nobody better than to ask the Thunder Girls to come and read our ‘Polar Express’ story this year,” said Gann.

“The kids really, really look up to … anybody from Thunder Basketball. To get them to come out here – just the looks on (the kids’) faces, they were thrilled. It means so much, and I think we’ll be talking about this for the rest of the school year,” she added.

When the ladies finished the story, which focuses on a gift of a bell from Santa’s sleigh, they asked the children to jingle the silver bells each had been given with their train ticket.

The bells all jingled, and everyone heard their happy sounds – a sign, according to the book’s legend, that they still believed in Santa Claus.

“I still hear my bell, and I’m actually going to be ringing it all day ‘cause I believe,” laughed LaTeshia.

“The kids … are so excited about reading, which makes us excited to come out and read a book to them – and be a part of this awesome experience.”

She noted that the transformation of the school into a storybook train created a richer environment for the kids to engage their imaginations.

“I think they really thought they were on a train and they believed that they were going to the Polar Express, so it was really fun for us to see how engaged they were,” she added.

Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader to Direct Omaha Beef Prime Dancers

The Omaha Beef announce Carmen Butler, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Dallas Mavericks Dancer, and Dance Team Manager and Choreographer for the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls, as the new Director for the Omaha Beef Prime Dancers.

Carmen, a Nebraska native, graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Education Degree. In addition to her dancing career, Butler has worked as a special education teacher in Nebraska, Texas, and Maryland.

Butler began her professional dance career in 2000 with the Omaha Beef, where she danced for five years, earning the leadership role of co-captain. In 2005, she realized her dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. “I always wanted to become a Cowboys Cheerleader. They represent the gold standard of pro sports entertainment, the very best. I am looking forward to bringing that same level of professionalism and prestige to the Omaha Beef Prime Dancers,” Butler said. During her three years as a Cowboys Cheerleader, she was selected as a group leader, named veteran of the year, and facilitated cheerleading camps and other community events. From 2008-2009, Butler was a dancer for the Dallas Mavericks where she was selected best in appearances. During the 2010-2011 NBA season, Carmen was the Dance Team Manager and Choreographer for the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls and the junior dance team, The Raindrops.

Butler states, “It’s a great honor to be back with the Omaha Beef where my professional dance career began. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue to develop the Prime Dancers’ profile within games and in the Omaha community. I am looking forward to working with this talented group of women.” Josh Roehr, General Manager for the Omaha Beef stated, “We are lucky to have Carmen on board with us. She brings a great deal of experience and professionalism and we are excited to have her.”

Butler will oversee the 2012 Prime Dancers audition process. Open auditions will be held at 24 Hour Fitness (2718 N. 118th Circle), beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 19th. The final round, including interviews, will be held on Sunday, November 20th, at 11:30 a.m.

According to Butler, “we are looking for talented, poised, charismatic, professional woman who are committed to entertaining our fans and representing the Omaha Beef through the community. I encourage any women with a passion and energy for entertaining to come try out. Don’t prejudge yourself. You never know what we might be looking for and you might be a perfect fit!”

Thunder Girls

The 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder Girls have been selected. Congratulations!

Paige Carter to Manage Thunder Girls

Oklahoma City Thunder:

OKLAHOMA CITY, August 10, 2011 – The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today Paige Carter as manager of the Thunder Girls dance team. Carter, who grew up in Phoenix, brings an extensive background in choreography, dance and leadership. Her sports experience ranges from the NFL, NBA, WNBA and AFL, most notably with the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals. She was in attendance at Saturday’s open auditions at the Cox Convention Center.

“Paige will be a great addition to the Thunder family,” said Thunder Director of Events and Entertainment John Leach. “She brings a vast knowledge of both NFL and NBA game experiences and a strong dedication to community involvement. In addition, she has held numerous roles and responsibilities as a dancer, teacher and performer. We are confident she will continue to bring world-class entertainment to Thunder fans.”

Carter earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Arizona, where she was a member of the Varsity pom team. She began her professional sports dance career in 1997 with the Phoenix Suns as a Suns Girl and cheered on fans for six consecutive seasons. During her time with the Suns, Carter performed on the Phoenix Mercury’s (WNBA) hip-hop dance squad and also worked as a choreographer for many esteemed dance studios throughout the Phoenix and Scottsdale area.

Following her NBA tenure, Carter earned a spot on the Arizona Cardinals’ cheerleading team where she was chosen as “Rookie of the Year” (2005). In addition, she was a Line Captain for the Sidewinders, the dance team for AFL’s Arizona Rattlers.

Most recently, Carter has held the role of Varsity Pom Coach for Desert Mountain High School. The team has established a winning tradition under her guidance and choreography, including AIA State Champions (2007) and USA Regional (2007, 2011) and National (2007, 2008, 2009) Champions. She also continues to work with the Cardinals’ Cheerleader program as the Dance Condition Coach for their training group.

Carter will help oversee the audition process as the 2011-12 Thunder Girls team is selected. Auditions began Saturday at the Cox Convention Center. Finalists will move on to the next round which includes interviews, a written test and practices. The seven-day process will conclude with the final round on Thursday, Aug. 11 in front of a live audience at Riverwind Casino. This event is free and open to the public. Fans are encouraged to arrive when doors open at 6 p.m. The final round will begin at 7 p.m.

Thunder Girls Finalists Announced

Aug 08, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY – After a long day of open auditions, only 40 young ladies remain the running to become members of the 2011-12 Thunder Girls Dance Team.

Saturday, News9’s Lauren Nelson helped judge the auditions session in OKC and more than 100 girls showed up for their chance to become a Thunder Girl.

At the end of the day, 40 ladies survived the cuts and were selected for a final audition on Thursday, August 11th at the Riverwind Casino.

Fans are invited to watch 2011-12 Thunder Girls Auditions live on Thursday as admission is free and doors open at 6 p.m. with the show set to begin at 7 p.m.

At Thursday’s final round, each finalists will showcase their dance talent as well as highlight their personality with Q&A sessions. The end of the night will conclude with the announcement of your 2011-12 Thunder Girls dance team.

The event will take place in Riverwind’s Showplace Theatre and parking is free.

Video: 2011 Oklahoma City Thunder Girls Open Auditions

Thunder Girls Return; Auditions Coming Up

The Thunder Girls have wrapped up their trip to China, traveling as a part of the NBA Lenovo Pavilion Tour 2011. Catch up on the last part of their trip by reading the THUNDER GIRLS BLOG.


If you’re thinking of trying out for the squad, auditions is Saturday August 6th and prep classes have already started! Go here to sign up for prep classes; and for more information on auditions,

Thunder Girls Invited to Perform in China

Third invitation to represent the NBA internationally – Six members of the Thunder Girls have been invited to participate in the 2011 NBA Lenovo Pavilion Tour the Thunder announced today. The tour is a grassroots NBA event combining outdoor tournaments with fan events and interactive basketball elements.

It is the third consecutive year Thunder Girls has been selected to represent Oklahoma and the NBA during an international tour. The Thunder Girls will be the only NBA dance team represented at the event. Team members scheduled to join the tour include three-year veterans Riane, Sheri, Brittany and Haley, in addition to newer members Jessica and Marisa.

The team is scheduled to leave Oklahoma City on Thursday, June 30 and will return to the States on July 11. Their schedule includes sponsorship events, performances and photo opportunities with fans.

“We’re honored to be selected to represent the NBA, our fans and the state of Oklahoma,” said Brian Byrnes, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Thunder. “We are proud to showcase our dance team and the Thunder overseas for the third year and look forward to spreading the Thunder spirit worldwide.”

In 2009 Thunder Girls were selected to attend the London 5 United Tour, and in 2010 they were invited to NBA Madness in Taiwan.

Fans can look for updates and pictures of the tour on THUNDER.NBA.COM or follow the Thunder Girls on Facebook (facebook.com/thundergirls) and Twitter (@thundergirls). The 2011-12 Thunder Girls are sponsored by Riverwind Casino.

In 2010, the OKC Thunder Girls international trip was to Taiwan

Oklahoma City Thunder Seek Dance Team Manager

The Dance Team Manager is responsible for the choreography for all entertainment teams to include, but not limited to, the Thunder Girls and Rain Drops and reports to the Director, Events & Entertainment.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Act as a liaison between the dance teams and the Thunder front office
• Choreograph all dance team performances and routines
• Schedule and direct rehearsals
• Select and produce performance music
• Conduct auditions and interviews with front office staff to select dancers for both teams
• Work with front office staff to design and create costuming/uniforms for both dance teams
• Attend all Thunder games to monitor performances
• Develop and sustain a strong relationship with local dance studios
• Work together with Thunder sponsors, community partners and broadcast partners
• Pursue, schedule and choreograph (if necessary) out-of-arena appearances for both dance teams
• Responsible for payroll for all groups
• Special projects as assigned
• Maintain good attendance and punctuality
• Other duties as assigned

Qualifications and Requirements:
• College degree preferred
• Has strong background in jazz and hip-hop dance and choreography
• Has good understanding of Oklahoma City Thunder marketing, strategies and team philosophies
• Able to connect with and understand the Oklahoma City Thunder fans
• Has an established knowledge of the NBA and the NBA standards
• Has management experience with strong leadership skills
• Must be able to work under pressure, well with a group, build chemistry and have a strong sense of team
• Understands that the Events & Entertainment show directly reflects on the image of the team as well as the NBA
• Ability to work weekends and evenings – flexible schedule
• Detail-oriented with excellent communication skills
• Able to take creative direction and feedback

This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Director, Events & Entertainment.

Apply online here.