In a celebration of Father’s Day, we bring you a series this week where we asked a few of our Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as their dads, about their journey to becoming one of America’s Sweethearts.
This coming Sunday is when we’ll take the time to honor the old man, pops, papa, father, ATM machine or, of course, daddy. Wanting to show a little love to those dedicated few who sat through countless hours of dance rehearsals and cheer competitions, we posed questions to several of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the men who helped raise them. Today, meet Lauren and Terry.
Happy Father’s Day!
What do you remember about your relationship growing up as a dancer?
Lauren: Unlike most dads, mine had a slight history with dance. My mom was a dancer and a Kilgore College Rangerette, and my dad was a Rangerette manager. The thing about the Rangerette managers is they don’t just carry stuff and get bossed around. My dad performed, and took to bossing the girls instead. This, of course, easily transferred to bossing me.
When it came time for competitions, my dad would insist on attending my solo rehearsals. I was never practicing enough, not kicking high enough, not working hard enough, but I knew it was because he loved me and put my success before his own. My parents’ unconditional love and support is the only reason I’m still a dancer today. The business is tough, and failure is always around the corner, but with them on my side, I’ve continued to stand and keep my passion alive.
Terry: It was a big deal. Lauren’s mother is a former Kilgore Rangerette and was the drill team director at Austin High School in Austin while Lauren was growing up. One of her godmothers was a former Kilgore Rangerette as well and the drill team director at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, and another godmother was a former member of the University of Texas Band and the drill team director at Bowie High School in Austin. Oh, and I was a former manager of the Kilgore Rangerettes. So yes, it was a big deal.
And there was never a doubt. As her dad, I did my best – ultimately to no avail – to overcome her mother and two godmothers to try to make a basketball player out of her. I knew it was all over when, while in the middle of a 31-0 ninth grade basketball season, she was spending time between tournament games practicing her audition solo for the high school drill team tryouts. She couldn’t do both and I had lost.
Sure enough, she made the drill team and off we go. No more basketball. Instead it’s summer camp, football, basketball, contest season, spring show, officer tryouts, banquet. Daddy-daughter dances and helping build the sets and working backstage during the spring show was the best. Repeat, repeat while adding officer camps to the mix.
Then it’s graduation time and she applies to the University of Texas and auditions for Texas Pom. She makes Pom and is accepted into the University of Texas and is all set and ready to start her college career, except for one little thing. Remember all those Rangerettes? The morning of Rangerette auditions she says, “Dad will you drive me to Kilgore?” We make it in time, I drop her off and head back home.
The call comes in about noon the next day, “Dad will you come get me?” It wasn’t right for her. She had already bonded with the girls on Texas Pom, but she had to go to be sure. Glad she did. As luck would have it, Texas Monthly was doing a piece on the Rangerettes and mentioned all the hard work that was necessary and how much pressure the girls auditioning were under. They even commented on one young lady that couldn’t handle the pressure and was just sitting on the curb waiting for her dad to pick her up.
Lauren went on to perform over 500 times for the University of Texas, including two very special appearances at the Rose Bowl. After college, she spent a year in New York working with Lisa Shriver, a Broadway choreographer and auditioning. She was assistant choreographer for a Christmas production held in the Lincoln Center and made it to the final 30 out of about 3,000 that auditioned for the Radio City Rockettes. Unfortunately, the Rockettes didn’t need a 5-9 girl that year.
What was the conversation like when you talked about trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?
Lauren: I was living in Oklahoma City at the time, and was ready for a change. We had just attended my first Cowboys game and clearly I was smitten by the organization. When it came time to discuss my decision to audition, it was as if we had already had the conversation. He immediately jumped on the idea and encouraged me to reach out to dance instructor Kitty Carter and get the ball rolling.
Terry: My friend offered us his tickets to a Cowboys game in December 2009. As we’re watching from the 400 Level, Lauren asked to borrow my binoculars. I notice that she’s not watching the game. After about a quarter she says, “I think I can do that.” She’s living in Oklahoma City at the time, working as the assistant pom coach at Oklahoma City University. My thoughts were, if we want to do this, then let’s find out what we need to do to make it happen. Lauren moved to Dallas, one of her friends from Texas Pom tells her about Miss Kitty. We meet Miss Kitty and start working with her. She also started attending prep classes at Valley Ranch and we hired a trainer.
Have you been surprised with what goes into being a DCC, from the tryouts to the games to the appearances?
Terry: Not really any major surprises as we have known several DCCs over the years and had a pretty good idea what it took to be a part of the organization. Especially after working with Miss Kitty for several months, you get a real good feel for what it takes. Probably the biggest surprise was the amount of time that the girls spend at the stadium on game day.
How does dad handle seeing you perform, not to mention posing in calendars, with millions watching you?
Lauren: The only emotion I have ever seen from my dad before, during and after performing is pride. He stands tall at every game just beaming. Knowing that my family is in the stands supporting me at every game means the world to me. I wouldn’t be able to survive the four-hour performance without them!
Terry: There’s no difficulty at all knowing that millions are watching the cheerleaders perform. I’ve never been nervous watching Lauren dance; no reason to be because these girls are so prepared that there is nothing to be nervous about. Regarding the calendars, I have them. They are unopened under lock and key and will remain so. I do have the cover of last year’s swimsuit edition of the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine [which featured Lauren on the cover] framed and hanging on the wall in our den – high on the wall. It’s a tall wall, very tall.
What has your dad’s love and support meant to you?
Lauren: There is nothing better than the love from your family, especially your dad. My father has made life tough for any potential suitors. He has shown me what genuine love and support is, and how that should never stop. He has been there for me through the worst of times, and the best. I will never stop looking up to him. Love you Dad and thank you for the incredible life you have provided for Morgan and me. One day I’ll pay you back!