Bluecat Cheerleaders deserve their props!
06/18/03 Jeff Gregory
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“Right in the middle of the dance, my pantyhose came right off. The only thing holding them up were my bloomers. Everyone saw my behind and I was totally embarrassed. I stopped dancing and just stood there.” Octavia Kimbro, of the Evansville BlueCats cheerleaders was very candid in describing her most embarrassing moment as a member of the squad. The women that make up the BlueCats cheerleading squad are not only sexy, but smart, fun, and dedicated to their team and their fans. They also don’t mind sharing their thoughts about performing, the football team, and even personal experiences that would surprise their fans.
The ladies in blue are enchanted with performing and getting the fans involved with fun. For many, it is a natural progression from what they have been doing since they were in their youth. Kimberly Townsend has been dancing since she was three years old. She, like the others on her team, love to be in front of the crowd. Even though she has a career as high school biology teacher and fitness trainer, she jumped at the chance to perform again, “When I heard I could dance again, I was really excited,” she said after hearing about the tryouts.
THE CHEERLEADERS DRAW ATTENTION FROM OPPOSING TEAMS
There is a strong devotion to the fans from the girls. They love the fan interaction. Ms. Kimbro is especially touched by the admiration of young girls that may follow in her footsteps, “An interesting experience I have is signing a lot of autographs – having little girls come up to you and asking you, ‘Will you sign this please?’ That’s a really good feeling.”
Samantha Wargel points out that there are a few fans that stick out, “You know, there is beer at these games and by the time you reach the third quarter . . . One of my favorite’s are these two guys that look like a son and his father. They would get up and sway and blow kisses say, ‘We love the cheerleaders!’ And there is a handful of guys who blow us kisses and come down and talk to us and tell us that they are there for us (the cheerleaders).”
The squad has also had interesting experiences with visiting football teams. It seems that there is a consensus among the girls that the Lexington Horsemen are the favorites among the opposing teams. “The players were so nice and so much fun,” said Ms. Wargel, “They were out there dancing with us.”
Ms Townsend added, “They were so hospitable. Their coaches were so professional and complimentary to our squad. They went out of their way to compliment us on what we did. They watched our practice. From our standpoint, (Lexington) was the nicest group. They were kind to the younger girls (the youth cheerleaders known as the Baby Cats and the Sassy Cats). They were the kindest, most considerate professional team that we have played at home.”
Other INFL teams did not fare as well on the BlueCat Cheerleader approval meter. The Ohio Valley Greyhounds have not proven as cooperative as the Horsemen. After participating in an on-field skirmish with one of the BlueCat football players, an unnamed Greyhound allegedly took out his frustrations on Ms. Townsend. “We went out to dance and I was tapping on his back, saying ‘Excuse me, sir, you are in my spot.’ He looked over his shoulder - we have it on tape. And (then) he (swung his arm) and knocked me over. Needless to say, I was totally off the whole rest of the dance. And then another (Ohio Valley) guy called one of the girls an obscene name.”
The cheerleaders also feel the effects of the BlueCats’ dismal record. After getting beat on the road this past week by Myrtle Beach, the ‘Cats are 0-12. “It bothers me because when they lose, it is kind of down on us,” Ms. Wargel said. “I am a very competitive person. I have threatened to put on a uniform and go play for them.”
Ms. Townsend included, “ We have to cheer harder. When the record is down, we have to work harder to get the fans excited . . . because it is easy to be excited if they are winning all the time . . . (then) they can get up on their own.”
Ms. Kimbro has some advice for the team. She feels that there is a need for more team unity, “I think they should be able to accomplish more as a team, not as individuals, but I think they should focus more as a team. I think they could get a lot accomplished that way.”
The BlueCat cheerleaders are not the stereotype cheerleaders that some people envision. While it has already been mentioned that Ms. Townsend is currently a high school biology teacher, Ms. Kimbro has plans to join the army later this year. There are a lot of misconceptions that the ladies would like to clear up. Ms. Townsend affirms, “Everyone is a professional student or is a professional in some job. Everyone is in college or has a college degree at this point. No one is an airhead. Everyone is intelligent and on top of it.”
Ms. Townsend would also like for the fans to know of the squad’s dedication, “The girls of the Bluecats are dedicated dancers and do it simply because they love to perform. I am pretty confident when I say that we do the most dances and material than any other team in the NIFL. Our pre-game routine alone consists of 18 songs and is 31 minutes long. We cheer the entire game on the sidelines, dancing sideline routines and performing on the field during media time outs. We never sit down. Throughout the game several girls will be available for autograph signing as well - not to mention the charity events that the girls promote...on their own time.
OCTAVIA KIMBRO (left), SAMANTHA WARGEL (center), and KIMBERLY TOWNSEND (right)
PHOTOS COURTESY MARK MCCOY, EVANSVILLE BLUECATS
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