The first rehearsal of week 8 was a big night for Kelli and Judy since they would be making their final decision. They paid very close attention to girls they had been on the fence about all summer. They wanted to be absolutely positive that the right girls were selected for the team. While showing off routines, Breelan had a lot of memory mistakes–but overall she demonstrated better showmanship. Ashley made a lot of mistakes as well, but they seemed to be a bit more concerned about her because of feedback they had received.
Ashley was called into the office, but they first called in her group leader, Emma, to get her honest opinion about her potential teammate. Emma was Ashley’s number one fan and said nothing but kind words. Best of all, she said she was willing to go the extra mile to give her the support she needed. Next, Ashley was invited in the office, and Kelli wanted to share information that was shared from her previous dance directors. Kelli was told that she could come off as standoffish, lacked confidence, could seem rude, disrespectful, and would freak herself out in stressful situations. Ashley’s two group leaders countered the negative comments by saying she was more mature than the previous year and would make a great teammate. Kelli gave Ashley the benefit of the doubt saying that she too was often misjudged in situations, and could often be misread.
Kelli and Judy brought the team back together for what seemed like the moment we had been anticipating all season. She announced that the first performance was set for 2014, and sure enough she announced the team as she displayed the printed team headshots in the Dallas Cowboys magazine. The girls jumped for joy as they learned they were now part of Dallas Cowboys history. Kelli and Judy decided to keep Breelan because of her potential to be a great performer. They also thought that Ashley had a lot to offer and could one day be a fan favorite.
The next day was squad photo day–an extremely memorable day for a DCC. This day is full of excitement as you get pampered and the chance to bond with your teammates. The rookies were given their official uniform tailored just for them to keep for the year. The girls were then strategically placed in their positions for the squad photo. Front and center girls were usually reserved for the senior squad members, and traditionally the rookies would take up the top back rows. But when you’re a rookie, you usually can’t care less where you stand–you’re just grateful that you are a part of such an amazing moment.
Next the girls prepared for family and friends at the Gaylord Texans’ Glass Cactus. Show group would also be performing. Each group performed before their loved ones and friends–and they all looked so beautiful.
To finally celebrate the official making of the team, Kelli and Judy decided to take the girls out for a team retreat at the Willawalla Creek Shooting Center in St. Joe Texas so the girls could compete for the infamous Hog Hunt trophy. The girls had to set up the best tent with an exciting theme. With two Aussies in the group, team one called their tent “Shrimp on the Barbie.” Team two decided to be more traditional and stuck with America’s Sweethearts. Team three took a heroic approach and dressed up as super heroes with a creative twist. Finally, team four decided to be minimalist and set up a zen tent. After the judges deliberated, they decided that team three “Super heroes” deserved the win. Next up was the sniper challenge where the girls headed out to a shooting range. In the end, each group member picked their top shooter to represent their group. Once again, team 3 took the win with vet Brittney Schram hitting the target. As for the main event–the much anticipated hog hunt, a severe storm erupted cancelling the event, so group three took the win!
The final moment the girls had been waiting for arrived. The girls loaded the bus to head out for their first preseason home game at the AT&T stadium. The girls were presented with their new stadium locker dressed up with their life-size photo. As exciting as it all was, it was time to hit the field to run through all of the game day performances and procedures. Kelli reminded the girls of the four p’s–precision, power, projection, and personality. Unfortunately, Kelli was not pleased and had the team start their entrance over due to being so distracted. She yelled out that there were no excuses for not being game ready. Dallas Cowboys Chief Brand Officer, Charlotte Jones Anderson, joined Kelli and Judy to watch the girls rehearse, which added to Kelli and Judy’s stress.
Rookie Caila stood out during practice because of her tendency to rush counts. Kelli had technique coach Shelly McCaslin give Caila an urgent and necessary pep talk. Kelli also mentioned to Judy that there was a possibility that she wasn’t polished enough for the team. Caila left practice frustrated and a bit emotional, but later she was ready to show Kelli and Judy that they selected the right girl.
Some of the rookies explained how amazing their first game day experience was. Ashley described it as the most rewarding feeling. Caila said that she did her best, but was excited about only getting better from this point.
Melissa Rycroft hung around in the locker room ready to surprise the girls she had been working with. It seemed as if she really connected with Breelan as the two of them seemed to be featured together the most. Breelan admitted that Melissa truly helped her, and Melissa expressed how proud she was of Breelan.
At the end of the game, Kelli gave a shout out to the rookies acknowledging their hard work. Now that they had their first game under their belt, she hoped they knew that they accomplished something so huge and world-renowned. In the end, Kelli was pleased with the selection of girls for the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.