Over the weekend, more than 200 women auditioned inside Arrowhead Stadium’s state of the art North Club for an opportunity to join the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleading squad. In the end, only 33 will wear the skirt.
The large turnout was not only impressive in volume, but the quality of candidates set new standards for the future of Chiefs Cheerleading as well. Following three days of tryouts, Cheer Director Stephanie Judah said that the final cuts were among the most difficult that the cheer staff has ever had to make.
“This was by far the hardest year for deciding on those final choices,” Judah said. “But it’s also exciting, because this is going to be one of the best overall squads we’ve ever had.”
The process in becoming a Chiefs Cheerleader is similar to making any athletic team. Candidates must survive three rounds of cuts before finally making the squad. As the tryouts wage forward, expectations increase.
Friday’s preliminary round consisted of dance drills, public speaking and learning two types of choreography (sideline and main routines). The first round of cuts were made Friday night before the semi-finalists returned on Saturday morning to learn production routines that would be performed during a portion of tryouts open to the public later that evening.
Another round of cuts came late Saturday night, following talent show auditions by team veterans.
Veteran cheerleaders are eligible to participate in the Chiefs Cheerleaders Varity Show, which is performed at military bases worldwide. Chiefs Cheerleaders have previously visited stateside troops as well as those stationed in places like Guantanamo Bay, Italy, Egypt and Portugal.
Sixty-some finalists were thrown a curveball Sunday morning when former Chiefs linebacker Anthony Davis served as a guest judge and quizzed each hopeful on Chiefs history, NFL knowledge and general football rules. The ladies then reported for photo shoots in uniform and swimsuits, underwent a fitness evaluation and went through more dance drills before performing in front of judges.
Sunday’s finale not only included solo dance performances, but public speaking tests as well. Each portion of tryouts was scored by judges of various expertises.
Judah brought in a new set of guest judges this year that included local television and radio personalities as well as former Chiefs players. A professional dance choreographer flew from out of state to critique dance technique and a pageant director from Miss USA competitions was on hand as well.
Each guest judge scores candidates in areas that include fitness, glamour, dance and public speaking. Judah then selects the final team alongside Tavia Hunt and Chiefs Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tammy Fruits – a process that lasts into the wee hours of morning.
Hunt has become intimately involved in the selection process, signaling a commitment to the quality of the Chiefs Cheerleading program from the top of the organization.
“It’s an honor to have the support from the Hunt Family that Tavia provides,” said Judah. “She’s an integral part in selecting the final squad.”
Hunt was joined by daughter Gracie throughout the weekend and in comparing notes with Judah and Fruits.
The 2011 squad is set to officially unveil Tuesday afternoon on KCChiefs.com. From there, the team will have its first meeting on Friday to prepare for upcoming photo shoots and begin training. The team’s first public performance will take place in front of Chiefs fans at the annual Draft Day Party in late April.
New this year, fans can witness the photo shoot for the 2012 Chiefs Cheerleader Calendar first hand. The calendar shoot will take place May 9th-13th in the beautiful Dominican Republic. Click here for details on reserving your spot.