Cheerleaders are all about the competition | SierraSun.com

Cheerleaders are all about the competition

Dan Savickas

Courtesy photoThe TNT Explosions pose for the camera after a performance at the Truckee Fourth of July parade.

Being a cheerleader in this day-in-age isn’t about standing on the sideline and looking pretty, it’s about competing.

Competition is what inspired Teri McKinney to start the TNT Explosions All-Star team. After coaching cheerleading at Truckee High School, McKinney quit to coach in the competitive side of the sport. “I coached there for a year, but they seemed to think cheerleading wasn’t a sport. I wanted to start a team so that girls can compete,” said Coach Teri McKinney.

During her four-years of high school from 1979-1982, McKinney was a cheerleader for THS; and she remembers a much different side of the sport. “Back then we competed all the time. We used to have our own trophy case filled with trophies. It’s no longer there, they told me the trophies are all up in the attic,” McKinney said.

This team of competitive cheerdancers is totally separate from high school cheerleading, although many of the girls on the team cheer for their high school. The team is composed of nine cheerleaders from Truckee and North Tahoe schools, grades seven to 12. This is the first competitive cheer team in the area.

The team holds practices twice a week at the Sierra Nevada Dance studios. Each member of the team pays $60 per month for studio space, and to hire stunt and dance choreographers.

Currently, the team is trying to raise money for transportation, lodging and competition fees. They are selling sponsorship spaces on the back of their sweatshirts for $300. The team will wear the sweatshirts to each competition and team event. They are also selling raffle tickets at this year’s Truckee Rodeo, and putting change jars in local businesses.

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The Explosions are set to perform in their first competition on Sept. 28, at Great America. They will compete against teams from all over California. Their season starts with this competition, and continues on until March. The Explosions will compete in two different categories, All-Star Novice and Hip-hop. The All-Star Novice division is known as cheerdancing, because the athletes do a number of short cheers intertwined with dance moves. The Hip-hop division is strictly dancing.

The goal for the Explosion’s inaugural season is to make the USA Nationals. In order to qualify, they must score 85 out of 100 points at any of their seven competitions this year. But even if they qualify, the team must first endure the final and semi-final rounds before they can dream of seeing themselves on ESPN.

Although the Explosions have yet to compete, they performed at Cannibal Cruise and the Fourth of July Parade. This Saturday they will perform at Hot August Nights in Reno.

The Explosions are looking to fill two more spots on the team. The positions are open to both boys and girls. Interested parties should contact Teri McKinney at 582-6994. Next year McKinney looks to add a peewee team for grades one through six.