ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)--It was a nail-biting, nerve-racking Tuesday night in St. Louis: the final auditions for the 2012 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders squad at the Pageant in the Loop.
FOX 2's Andy Banker hosted the event, along with News 11’s Melanie Moon.
After a couple of hours of tough competition, they read the names of 25 winners from 51 contestants.
It was sort of like being at the Miss America pageant. The cheerleading hopefuls had to compete before a panel of judges and a live audience.
Proceeds from ticket sales went toward breast cancer research.
The place went nuts when the winners were read; each contestant had her own cheering section. They competed in three categories: question and answer, a swimsuit competition, and a dance competition.
Still, it was about more than good looks and great dancing.
Rams cheerleaders average more than 850 hours of charity and community service work each year.
“I was absolutely sweating it back there [backstage],” said Sydney, one of the winners. “Once it starts rolling, you don't really realize what you're doing until the end and you're waiting there to hear your number called.”
“I didn't think I would get called,” said Michele, another winner. “I was the first one called. It took me a minute. They had to push me. They were like, 'Oh, that was you. You should probably go out there.’ I didn't expect it all.”
“A lot of people just see them on Sundays cheering on the Rams,” said judge and former Rams great, Orlando Pace. “'During the course of the week they do a lot of things in the community.”
In the community and around the world: cheerleaders have traveled to Kosovo, Iraq, and Kuwait to visit US troops in recent years.
They still make it to smaller events closer to home.
All that charity work adds up to about 21 weeks of full time work, on top of their actual cheerleading duties and full-time jobs elsewhere.
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