Flashing lights, celebration music, Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse ushered Cinnaminson’s Pee Wee Cheerleading squad into the next level of Pop Warner competition on Nov. 13, at a competition.
There, they heard their name called as one of the squads who will travel to Disney World for a competition.
Brittany Rodgers, head coach, described it as unbelievable when they announced their name.
“We knew we had a shot, it was just so crazy,” she said.
They were given t-shirts, led down a tunnel to a dark room, then lights started flashing and Santa and Mickey appeared to greet them and celebrate. Bethy Shiffer, an 11-year-old with the squad said, when they announced their name, she jumped up and down and thought to herself, “I can’t believe we won!”
Since advancing to the national competition, their hard work and determination has not wavered. The girls continue to practice three nights a week. Their routine has stayed the same since it has proved to be a winning one but a few more details have been added.
In addition to practicing, the squad has been fundraising to help defer their travel costs. They‘ve held coin drops in town at , 7-Eleven, , and the at .
They will be at this Friday at Wood Park selling t-shirts, scarves and candy. They will also be raffling off a Vera Bradley Weekend Tote and around $65 worth of Pep Boys car cleaning products. Raffle tickets are $2.
The team heads to Florida on Sunday, plans to spend Monday practicing and will compete on Tuesday, Dec. 6. This year's National Cheer Competition and Pop Warner Football Super Bowl take place at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Over 300 cheer and dance squads are hoping to become Pop Warner National Champions.
It won’t be all work and no play for the Pee Wees. Cinnaminson’s cheer squad will be staying at the Caribbean Beach Hotel in Disney World and will have some free time to relax and enjoy the amenities. In fact, Disney is shutting down Hollywood Studios on Wednesday night for a Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading party.
The girls are looking forward to their trip but are also excited about performing. Natalie Lavala, 11, will be flying and visiting Disney for the first time. She's happy she gets to go with her friends and in her words, "Not just alone with her brother."
Lilly Starkman, a 5th-grader from is looking forward to being on television, going to the parks and said, "winning would be the best."
student Brookann Rodgers said she's most looking forward to, "performing live on ESPN3.com." The competition will be streamed live online at ESPN3. For more information, click here.