San Diego is Peyton’s Place

This past Sunday, the Denver Broncos were in town to play the San Diego Chargers.  The early November temperature was a balmy 80 degrees and the good weather must have accounted for the thousands of orange clad Denver fans who descended upon Qualcomm Stadium to escape the cold.  Or perhaps it was a chance to see future hall of famer Peyton Manning shred the Chargers defense for 330 yards and four touchdowns.  Either way, Qualcomm Stadium was a sea of orange.

A spirited second half by the Chargers kept the game’s final score close, but really this game was all about Peyton Manning and the Broncos and they scored all the points they would need in the first half.

Final score: Bucking Broncos – 28, Chargers – 20.

Monday was Veterans Day and the Charger Girls wore their military themed uniforms to celebrate the occasion.  And they must have the sexiest military themed uniforms in the NFL because the weather in San Diego is pretty much great all year long, so the Charger Girls can get away with wearing more skimpy and revealing outfits all season long.  None of this parka and dance pants nonsense for us.

Hot weather and hot cheerleaders, well you get the idea.

Watching future hall of famer Peyton Manning was nice.  Getting out to San Diego and supporting the Chargers was nice.  The weather was nice.  But I would have to say the highlight of my Sunday was the Charger Girls.  I always have a great time photographing “the hottest dance team in the NFL”.  Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it.  And I guess that falls on me.  But I digress.

Okay let’s begin this week’s coverage by highlighting the Line Captains: Katelyn, Natalie, Ariel, and Kara.

This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is becoming one of my favorite Charger Girls to photograph.  She’s very photogenic and a great dancer and perhaps this is why she is a second time award winner for this season.  Introducing…Hope.

November games are always a challenge to photograph because the lighting changes over the course of a game.  Qualcomm Stadium is an old converted baseball stadium and the dark foreground shadows caused by the high lighting stanchions combined with the bright back lighting are a challenge in November.  Sometimes the results are mixed.  Oh well…we will be getting a new stadium soon (fingers crossed) and hopefully these issues will be addressed in the new design.

Continue reading San Diego is Peyton’s Place

Colts Run Out of Luck on Monday Night Football and Lose to the Chargers

The Chargers broke out the old power blue uniforms, hoping to stir up some magic in their Monday Night Football contest against the Indianapolis Colts.   The football gods must have heard their prayers because the Chargers held rising star Andrew Luck to a pedestrian 200 yards passing and no touchdowns enroute to a 19 – 9 victory.

Philip Rivers continued his resurrection from depths of football mediocrity and methodically drove the Chargers down the field for three long scoring drives.  The new coaching staff’s offense has proven that Rivers is at his best when his passes travel less than 10 yards in the air.  Hey if it works for Alex Smith…so be it.

Four field goals by Charger kicker Nick Novak and a 100 yard rushing performance by much maligned running back Ryan Mathews sealed the Colts fate.

Final Score: Powder Blue Bolts – 19, Luckless Colts – 9

And the Chargers weren’t the only ones looking sharp in their game day uniforms…see for yourself.

This being the only home game in the month of October for the Chargers meant that this was also their Breast Cancer Awareness game, hence the vibrant pink pom poms. Let’s hope we find a cure to breast cancer soon and no longer have to shake pink poms or wear pink ribbons of remembrance.

So let’s begin this week’s coverage with the Captains: Ariel, Kara, Katelyn and Natalie.

This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a first year member and native San Diegan, introducing Lindsay.

Continue reading Colts Run Out of Luck on Monday Night Football and Lose to the Chargers

More on “America’s Team”

Well, that’s what they look like, right? If there was an Olympics of pro cheerleading, this is exactly what Team USA would look like. (This plus a lot of sparkles.) And they would dominate. USA! USA! USA!

Seriously, we should send these ladies to the Olympics. And the UN, and international chess competitions, and things.

(FYI, these costumes were produced by our friend Terra Saunders’ company, Dallaswear.)

We first heard about this group when a UK reader emailed James a photo of this autograph card:

Click to view full size

Personally, I was aghast. How could this kind of thing be going on, and here I am, was completely unaware? Those of you who should have told me about this, and you know who you are, should be ashamed.

In my perfect world, every team would send me a copy of their upcoming appearances each month, but alas that is not the case. Thank goodness we can rely on you faithful ones out there to keep us in the loop.

I was immediately curious because I recognized most of the ladies in the photo. I thought it was strange that someone put together an independent team of cheerleaders to go London “coincidentally” the same time as the Vikings/Steelers game. After all, there were more than enough Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders to go around. Did somebody seriously think there was a cheerleader shortage in London? The MVC were everywhere!

So I did a little snooping around, and I think I’ve pieced it together. Here’s the skinny: the league is doing a month-long “Touchdown Tour” in London and south east England, with one stop in Birmingham (a working class town north of the capital). Every few years there’s a lot of hype about having an NFL team in the UK, and I guess this is part of the latest round of hoopla. And “hoopla,” by definition, includes cheerleaders. Or should. Cheerleaders, and a big truck with lots of merchandise, games, big important trophies, and cardboard cutouts of famous football players.

I gather that the league hired e2k to produce a team of red, white, and blue cheerleaders to support the tour. E2k, for those who don’t know, is the company that produces the Charger Girls and the 49ers GoldRush. (Unlike other teams in the league, the Chargers and 49ers contract out instead of producing their own in-house dance teams. So the ladies who direct those teams are e2k employees, rather than employees of the NFL franchise.) E2k also produces the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders every year. So that’s why it was logical to have e2k produce this touring group.

Sidebar: the NFL doesn’t seem to realize it, but they are alienating the heck out everyone who resides more than half a day outside of London. The Scots, the Welsh, everyone north of Birmingham, they all feel rather insulted that the NFL isn’t bothering with them at all. I say ‘suck it up, Brits.’ I can tell you, as a resident of Los Angeles, that you’ll eventually get used to being ignored by the NFL. (Ignored, misled, used as a pawn…need I continue?)

Cheer Team USA consists of eight NFL Cheerleader alumni, five from the San Diego Charger Girls and three from the San Francisco 49ers GoldRush. I don’t know how they chose these particular eight. I’m sure tons of women wanted to go. (Free trip to England!) But I doubt that many could afford to take off an entire month for the tour, so no doubt that narrowed the field more than a little. And of course, they had to have eight who are still in fighting shape and still have (or can acquire) long, flowing cheerleader hair. So here’s who they chose:

(Note: although there are seven women in the team photo, there are eight in the group.)

San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-11, 2012-13

San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-12

San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-13
Los Angeles Clippers Spirit, 2008-10

San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-13

San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2010-12

San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2011-13

San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2009-12

San Diego Charger Girls, 2007-10

I’m not sure what this group’s exact name is, but on Twitter, they call themselves the “NFL All Star Team.” That’s a little misleading, but I don’t suppose “NFL Alumni Cheerleaders” has the same ring to it.

I went looking for photos of this group and hit the jackpot on Flickr. God Bless the interwebs!

Click here for 5DII (aka Bill’s) gallery
Click here for Jordi Corbilla’s gallery
Click here for Flakker’s gallery (HUGE collection that also includes many excellent photos of the Vikings Cheerleaders)
Click here for Dave Pearce’s gallery
Click here for Mark Andrews’ gallery
Click here for Tony Grimes’ gallery
Click here for Niz Mohamed’s gallery

This photo is from the Tony Grimes collection.
From left: Rachel, Megan, Marissa, Amanda, Vanesa, Lauren, Myka, and Emma.

Almost all of the photos I found are from the group’s performance at the big rally on Regent Street in the heart of London last month. What you will notice immediately is that a good 75% of the photos are pictures of Amanda. I figure there are a few possible reasons for this.
(A) She’s got some sort of mojo that causes every photographer to fall under her spell
(B) She was all “Outta my way biatches. I’M the star here”
(C) The ladies danced in a relatively tight formation that put Amanda dead center more often than not.
(D) She just happened to be in the spot where the light was best. Considering most of the other girls were in shadow, I’m going with this one. I’m guessing she couldn’t see a thing with that light in her face.

This one's from Niz

The team is under the direction of E2K producer Lindsay Rosenberg. Los Angelenos may recognize her as an alum of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit. Perhaps she was chosen for this gig because she is already familiar with the color scheme. (Hardy har har.)

Lindsay retired from the Clippers in 2007 and has gone on to do all sorts of other cool and exciting things in the entertainment industry. In fact, I recall correctly, she was in Iron Man 2, as one of the “Ironettes.” I never saw the movie, but I can only surmise from photos that the Ironettes were pretty badass.

With one game down and one to go, the tour still has a couple of weeks left. Their last stop is a tailgate event back at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Oct 27th, when the Jaguars host the 49ers. Both of those teams have their own cheerleaders, so get ready for poms out the wazoo.

In addition to that, the league has announced that next year, there will be THREE regular season NFL games at Wembley. I’m sure some sort of tour will hit the road next year as well. And where there’s an NFL tour, there are cheerleaders. I for one, will be keeping an eye out for the red, white, and blue. I hope none of those games involve the Patriots, Texans, or Bills, because all that red, white, and blue would be powerful confusin’. Not that the British know the difference. That weekend, every cheerleader was a Vikings Cheerleader.

NFL All-Star Cheerleaders in London

The ROAR of Jacksonville and the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders aren’t the only NFL Cheerleaders visiting the UK. A couple of weeks ago the NFL All-Star Cheerleaders took London by storm.

Sasha of course immediately recognized these ladies as former San Diego Charger Girls. So perhaps this is an e2k production.

Chargers Corral The Cowboys For The Win

It is always a big game when the Dallas Cowboys come to town.  Their fans travel well and Sunday was no exception as the stadium seemed to be evenly split between Cowboys and Charger fans.  In a surprisingly competitive game, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns and over 400 yards, reminding fans of days gone by when Rivers was a top five NFL signal caller.  A fumble by receiver Terrance Williams on the Chargers’ goal line with 2:42 left in the game, sealed the fate for the Cowboys.

Final Score:  Chargers – 30, Cowpokes – 21

For me, it was a glorious day.  A day game, the first of the season, and I was able to photograph the glorious Charger Girls in the golden California sunshine.  Living is Southern California is truly a blessing.  The weather is always nice.   There’s always something interesting to shoot.  And the girls…well…you know.  Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

We begin this week’s coverage of the Hottest Dance Team in the NFL with the Captains: Ariel, Kara, Katelyn, and Natalie.

There were a number of girls worthy of this week’s Charger Girl of the Day award.  Perhaps it was the great weather.  Or perhaps it was the absence of that big movable stage that had plagued my section the previous two games.  I don’t know, but I got a few more memorable images from one girl in particular.   This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a seasoned world traveler and is a third year veteran, introducing Kylie.

Continue reading Chargers Corral The Cowboys For The Win

Bonus Charger Girls

I was out at the Texans opener in San Diego for week one of the NFL and stopped by the Power Party to meet up with some of the Charger Girls.

Anjelica shows off her calendar photo

[Chargers Girls Power Party Gallery]

Former Charger Girls Pass the Barre

Remember these two?

Earlier this year, former Charger Girls Lauren and Giselle teamed up (again) to open their own Barre 3 studio in San Diego. For the uninformed (which included myself until about fifteen minutes ago), Barre 3 is a new approach to fitness that is sort of a hybrid between pilates and the classical ballet exercises done at the barre in dance studios all across the country. (You remember. Plié…and up..down, up, down, up, and turn…) The point is it help you develop that long, lean look of a dancer. Without having to actually be good at dancing. I think it’s also a bit like yoga in that you have to hold some poses until your arms and legs are shaking, and you start wishing you’d parked closer to the entrance because you may have to crawl to your car when this is over. On the up side, this isn’t one of those things where you have to actually be able to dance. Klutzes can do this. Dudes can do this. Every single member of The Rhythmless Nation can do this.

Giselle and Lauren opened their studio (the first one in California!) back in April, and the reviews have been oustanding.

Lauren sent over a few photos from a recent shoot, and I must say, opening your own place like this is a pretty clever way to stay in shape when you no longer have long hours of rehearsal and brutally long game days to keep you in top condition. And then – BONUS! – you can model for your own ads. (I’m all about the savings!)

Not quite six months into it, and it looks like these two have a success on their hands. There’s nothing but good reviews on Yelp, and maybe some of you will add a few more. Townies, you should definitely check this out:

8895 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 101
San Diego, California

Now the ladies show us how its done:

Anyone else getting a little Ashley Judd vibe here? No? Just me.

I kinda feel like I’m better off not knowing what the straps are for…

Tee hee, I see Giselle’s tushie. (Yes, I’m twelve, ok?)

Sidebar: Aspiring Charger Girls, you need to get over there. I’m not saying you should pump these two for audition tips, but hey, they’re pretty much sitting ducks over there, and they’re way too nice to tell you to shove it. I mean, you have to take class. They’re trying to run a business, ok? Don’t be all tacky and charge in there with a bunch of questions, like you have no home training. And don’t expect some kind of Charger Girl seminar (although, Lauren and Giselle, you might consider that, since you have space to do it. I’m just saying). However, the occasional question or two won’t get you thrown out.

Second Half Collapse Dooms The Chargers

A blown officiating call and 24 unanswered points by the Texans cost the Chargers a win in week 1.  A misinterpretation of the hitting a defenseless player rule on a Texans field goal attempt led to a touchdown that was critical in keeping their comeback hopes alive and provided a palpable momentum change.  For most of the Charger fans in attendance, a loss was inconceivable with a 24 point lead in the third quarter and Philip Rivers performing like his old non-interception throwing self.  But as the second half evolved, the Texans surged back on the exceptional play by quarterback Matt Schaub and an interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker Brian Cushing.  It was a disappointing end to a promising start for the Chargers.

Final Score: Texans – 31  Chargers – 28.

Well at least the Charger Girls were entertaining.

Last game, I mentioned how difficult it was to get some good shots of the Charger Girls in first half of that game because of a stage that was placed in front of my section.  It was a challenge and that stage really did obscure our site lines to the field.  It was an absurdity, in my opinion, to do this to so many seated ticket holders for one song at half time.

So this week, what do I see when I get to my seats before game time?  An even larger stage.

That’s my seat on the left with the bottle of water and the Oggi’s pizza box.  Well at least the band, Lonestar, played two songs.  So my apologies to the first two lines of the Charger Girls…I couldn’t get many decent photos of them, as you can well understand.  I sure hope that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence because this really negatively impacts about 50 or so people in two sections who have their view of the game blocked for a half for essentially three minutes of entertainment.

Okay let’s get back to our regular programming and begin with our coverage with the Line Captains: Ariel, Kara, Katelyn and Natalie.

This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a former Anaheim Bolts Dance Team Member and a rookie Charger Girl…introducing Jessica.

Continue reading Second Half Collapse Dooms The Chargers

From The Vault – 2011-12 San Diego Charger Girls

(While I’m on vacation, I’ve posted some galleries that I never got around to posting)

[Charger Girl Gallery]

Photo of the Day – September 9

Charger Girl Angela

More from the Charger Girls calendar release party

Click here for more photos on!

Charger Girls unveil their 2013 calendar

Fox 5 has shots of the calendar and the party. Click here to go there now!

More Familiar Faces In New Places

(Thanks to everyone who wrote in with suggestions)

Redskins Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Cover Model Heather is a former Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader

Colleen of the Gotham City Cheerleaders is a former member of the New York Jets Flight Crew


Continue reading More Familiar Faces In New Places

Charger Girls Salute The Military with Special Themed Uniforms

This past Thursday, the Chargers organization celebrated their 25th annual Salute to the Military with special pregame and halftime ceremonies honoring local servicemen and servicewomen.  And this year, the Charger Girls wore special military themed uniforms to help celebrate the occasion, a first for the venerable cheerleading squad.  Now if only the Chargers could have put up a better effort against the visiting San Francisco 49ers, the event would have been complete.  But alas, it was not meant to be as the 49ers crushed the Chargers in convincing fashion, 41 – 6.  Not even a special halftime performance by rock band Madison Rising could help raise the spirits of disappointed Chargers fans.

But the Charger Girls could and they looked amazing in their special game day uniforms.

As is custom for these game day reports, let’s begin with the Line Captains in their military themed uniforms: Ariel (Army), Kara (Marine Corps), Katelyn (Navy), and Natalie (Air Force).

This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a rookie that caught my eye.  With a flirty personality and All-American good looks, this week’s Charger Girl of the Day is rookie Shelbi.

Shelbi was recently voted one of the 100 hottest NFL cheerleaders by the Bleacher Report.


Continue reading Charger Girls Salute The Military with Special Themed Uniforms

Jessie’s Mom Has Got it Going On…

So I was perusing the news the other day, and came across as story about a local dance studio in Northern California, whose students will we performing halftime at a local university. The studio is Dance Academy USA,which is under the artistic direction of one Jane Carter.

Jane Carter…Jane Carter…Jane Carter…I know I know something about Jane Carter. But what is it?

DUDE! That’s Jessie’s mom!

And then it all came back to me. All about Jessie’s mom, and everything Jessie told me a few months ago, and how this is THE GREATEST mother/daughter story to hit Ultimate Cheerleaders EVER. Y’all know how I am always on the hunt for twins/sisters/mother-daughter combos for our “relatives” page. My only excuse for forgetting about this is I am easily distracted and somebody must’ve waved a shiny object in front of my face.

First let’s start with Jessie. Such a sweet girl, that Jessie. Nice in a completely non-annoying way. She looks all intimidating in this photo. Soooo not her personality.

Jessie danced for the Los Angeles Clippers for two seasons (2008-2010).

I think she was all of 18 when she made the team.

Then she was with the Charger Grls for a season (2010-11).

After a season off to focus on school, Jessie got itch to get out there again. She had a little over a year before graduating from college, and decided she wanted to experience dance team at the college level. So she auditioned for, and was selected to the world famous Song Girls from the University of Southern California. That’s something new. A college dance team with an NFL/NBA alum in the ranks.

She was on that team last year (2012-13). There’s no telling where she’ll turn up next, but I am convinced she’s not finished dancing. It’s in her blood.

Which brings me to Jessie’s mom, Jane. As I mentioned above, Jane is the Artistic Director of Dance Academy USA. In addition to Jessie, Jane, and her husband Jim have two other daughters; Jamie and Jodie. Jane, Jim, Jessie, Jamie, and Jodie. I’ve seen pictures of the five of them together, and they look like the photo that comes with the frame.

Jim, I am informed, is the only one who can’t dance. Not even a little.

I’m keeping my eye out for Jamie and Jodie.

But back to Jane. This was Jane back in the day:

Like her daughter, Jane, also danced for both the NBA and the NFL. However, it was not for the Clippers and the Chargers. Jane was a Northern California girl, so her experience centered around that area. She started off with the San Jose State Spectrum Dance team in 1983-84. (To this day, Spectrum alumni are consistently selected for the NFL, NBA, and AFL.) A year later, she became a Golden State Warrior Girl.

(Top right, y'all)

She performed with that team for two years before spending a year with the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush.

After that, she retired from her career as a pro sports entertainer and opened Dance Academy USA. A couple years later, little Jessie was born, and the rest is history.

These days Dance Academy USA keeps Jane plenty busy. It’s one of the largest. most successful studios in the region. They have 40 instructors, and over 1600 students. They teach hundreds of classes each week. Successful? You better believe it.

But back in the day, it was glam all the way. I have so many questions for Jane about what it was like back then, but if I sit down to figure them all out, this post will go on the shelf yet again. So for now, let’s enjoy the pics. Many thanks to Jessie for all the photos of her mommy 🙂

Sidebar: if you know of any sisters, cousins, moms and daughters, to add to the list. Let me know at sasha (at)