Douglas cheerleaders earn trip to San Francisco for regional competition |

Douglas cheerleaders earn trip to San Francisco for regional competition

by Betty Jo Heaton

The Douglas Pop Warner Pee Wee Black Cheerleaders want to thank each and everyone who contributed funds, making it possible for them to go to San Francisco and compete in the Regional Cheerleading Competition held Nov. 25.

Special recognition is extended to the Minden Elks Lodge #2670, Minden Rotary, Diamond Metals, Gary and Kelly Dahlberg and Charlie and Wendy Fecteau for their generous contributions.

They became eligible for the regionals after taking second place in their age division at a competition in Sparks Oct. 28.

In their quest to raise funds for their trip, the Pee Wee Black Cheerleaders held a raffle. Prizes were donated by the Carson Valley Inn, Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Office Depot, The Record-Courier and Sonic Burger. The squad also bought a Razor scooter for the raffle.

The raffle prizes and winners are Carson Valley Inn dinner for two, Mr. Wayne; Squaw Valley all-day adult lift tickets, T. Orosco; The Record-Courier Carson Valley Historical Book, Mr. Wayne; Office Depot certificate, Stephen Kindermann; and Sonic Burger gift certificate, Dan Timmons. The Razor Scooter was won by Lynsey Fecteau, who donated the scooter to another child.

The cheerleaders also held a bake sale at Wal-Mart Nov. 18 and want to thank everyone who purchased baked goods.

A special thanks is extended to Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School for the use of their facilities, enabling the girls to continue practicing three nights a week until the competition.

The Pee Wee Black cheer squad is represented by Head Coach Diana Biggs, Assistant Coach Renee Harmon, cheerleaders Jessica Harmon, Amelia Biggs, Jessica Souder, Amber Ward, Christy Heaton, Meghan Elliott, Kaela Horse, Lynsey Fecteau, Amanda Biggs, Angel Rojas, Ashley Arnold and mascots, Alyssa Biggs and Carlie Fecteau.

The cheerleaders met at Lampe Park at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, and as tradition merits, decorated the windows of the bus with encouraging words for the Tiger cheerleading squad.

The bus departed at 7 a.m. for San Rafael.

Assistant Coach Renee Harmon says, “The bus ride was a lot of fun. We went with 11 cheerleaders, two mascots, 14 parents and 14 siblings ranging from age 2 to 16. We all pulled together and helped out with the kids. If you did not have one of your own kids in your arms, then you probably had someone else’s. We were one big family.”

Upon arrival in San Rafael, the cheer squad needed to unwind after the four-hour bus ride. So they grabbed their bathing suits and enjoyed a heated pool and jacuzzi for a couple of hours. Then they hit the showers, and they all met in Harmon’s room for a hair rolling party. In cheerleading competitions, the whole cheer squad must have the exact same hairstyle and hair adornments.

Pre-registration for the competition was held at 5 p.m. and the paperwork for each cheerleader was certified at that time. Birth certificates, school report cards and physicals were verified, and each one of the cheerleaders were asked specific questions during the certification process.

The next morning, the cheer squad arose at 5:30 a.m. for the hour drive to the University of San Francisco campus where the competition was being held in one of the gymnasiums. There were five regions represented in this competition. Alaska South Central Pop Warner, Peninsula Pop Warner, Redwood Empire Jr. Football Conference, Rogue Valley Pop Warner and the Pee Wee Black cheerleaders represented Douglas County with the Sagebrush Empire Pop Warner.

Harmon said, “When we arrived at the University of San Francisco, Head Coach Diana Biggs had to attend a head coaches’ meeting, which left me with the cheer squad. This was my first year and I had no idea what to expect. I listened to the other assistant coaches and went along with what they were doing. When I heard one say, let’s practice, then I had the girls practice, then I overheard an assistant coach say we need to get the curlers out of the girls hair, so that’s when I removed their rollers.”

There was standing room only, as the two-tiered seating was filled to capacity.

“The girls had so much fun and enjoyed themselves in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. They sat in awe and watched other cheerleading squads with their flashy routines, and they were very inspired,” says Head Coach Diana Biggs.

Unfortunately, the Douglas Pee Wee Black Tiger cheer squad did not place in either the first or second position to qualify them for the national competition in Florida, but they can proudly say they are one of eight top cheer squads in the Pee Wee Small Division for the Western Region.

Tough competition. The caliber of the cheer squads in this regional competition was extraordinary, and the girls have to now set their sights on flashier and jazzier dance routines, stunts with more degrees of difficulty and high velocity cheers to be more competitive next year.

“The girls did phenomenonally,” Biggs said. “I’m so proud of each and every one of them. They performed a good routine and they all had a great time! This year, I feel that the support and involvement of the parents of the cheer leading squad made a big difference. Every single girl on the cheer squad had at least one parent there to cheer for them.”

Harmon said, “The girls did a great job. We went through a lot of obstacles to get there and I think they did great and the girls had so much fun.”

Harmon added, “We are all geared for next year. After seeing all the work it takes to do this, we cannot thank Diana enough for all her time and the endless nights she had to put into cheer leading this year. A special thank-you goes out to Gary Harmon (one of the fathers) for all the help with the girls and Charlie Fecteau for giving all the girls red roses at the conclusion of their performance.”

On the bus on the way home, Gary Harmon summed up all of the parents’ feelings, saying “Girls, you finished No. 2 in Sparks and you’ll always be No. 1 in our hearts.”