By Kelsie Hoitomt
Seven cheerleaders from the Glenwood City High School enjoyed the experience of a lifetime on January 1 while performing in front of nearly 60,000 people at the Capital One Bowl.
The bowl game featured the UW-Wisconsin football team against South Carolina, which ended in the Badgers losing 34-24.
However, the loss couldn’t take away the special feeling that each girl experienced as they cheered during the pregame performance.
On game day, the girls practiced on the Citrus Bowl field and were given special sneak peaks at the half time performer, Hunter Hayes.
Also while they waited, the girls were able to watch the football teams warm up and the Wisconsin marching band perform.
There were over 600 cheerleaders from around the country that took the field for the performance, which included just two schools from the state of Wisconsin.
“It was over five minutes long, but it seemed like it flew right by,” said Tammy Erickson, cheerleading head coach. “They did an awesome job and I am so proud of how well everyone did.”
After the performance, the cheerleaders remained on the field for the National Anthem and then took their seats to watch the game.
“Even though the Badgers lost the game, we were very happy to have been able to take this trip. It was an experience none of us will ever forget,” expressed Erickson.
The journey to Orlando, Florida started back in July of 2013 when the cheerleaders participated in a Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) cheer camp at the Glenwood City High School.
It was a three day camp that had the cheerleaders work on their jumping skills and their cheering and dance routines.
Then, during the final day of camp the girls had to perform all cheers, jumps and routines for a score. That score qualified the cheerleaders for events that were held through the Varsity and UCA programs.
It was through the UCA program that the Capital One Bowl came into the picture and the cheerleaders were offered the experience. The idea was brought to the Glenwood City Board of Education and approved shortly after.
Upon approval, the cheerleaders began raising money for the trip through a local paper drive. Over 22,600 pounds of newspapers were collected with the help of the community, then sorted and finally brought to Applegate Insulation in Bloomer, WI. The group hopes to continue collecting newspapers and magazines as a fundraiser.
“So far it has raised just about $800 and we are hoping to keep raising money for any upcoming trips that may be in our future,” Erickson said.
Aside from the football game, the girls stayed at the Disney All Star Sports resort and were able to make a few special trips to the Disney parks.