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These boots are made for walking...

Reliant Stadium won't see pre-season competition until August 7, 2008, but there's competition going on in Houston right now. Upwards of 600 women are dancing their hearts out fighting for just 35 spots on the 2008 Houston Texans Cheerleader squad.

Stephanie Stradley wrote a great article about this year's tryouts. I did some hunting on Google and found out just how amazing our Texans Cheerleaders are.


Try to picture a "Dancing with the Stars" marathon. You have to be a Rockette with a series of front kicks and side kicks. You're there from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.. It's like a 13 hour spin class.
Contestant 1A starts things off. The curvy blond performs flawless kicks -- side to side, straight up -- and has a perfect smile. She's a shoo-in. So is 1B, a beautiful Latina whose perky grin lights up the room and wins Gary over. Identical -- and dead sexy -- twins 4A and 4B make the cut, too. Watching these ladies kick well above their heads or drop into the splits is entertaining. And seeing them rock their practiced routines to Prince's "Black Sweat" -- while never breaking their Colgate smiles -- is just scandalous.

Then there's the interviews.
The judges ask the women questions such as "What if you caught another cheerleader fraternizing with a player?" (These things come up.) Contestant 7B says she'd "make sure the appropriate people know." What's the one thing 6A can't live without? Her Strawberry Shortcake pillow (awww!). Who would 5C like to play her in the movie about her life? "Reese Witherspoon!" she beams.
Just being one of the 35 women chosen after a grueling day of competition would be enough to get high praise, but these Texans Cheerleaders do so much more.


Each of these women have to maintain a full time job or be a full time student. Then there's practices at least 3 times a week. And to top it all off, they make about 50 appearances in a year. It's a full time commitment.

The Texans Cheerleaders make a lot of meaningful appearances. They work with children at the Houston Texans AbilityCAMP. They work with cancer patients at the Burzynski Clinic. They put on literacy classes with the Boys & Girls Club. And they raise money every year for the Houston Texans Foundation & Teach For America.

Don't think these women don't know how to have fun. They make a lot of fun appearances too. See below:

Your Houston Texans Cheerleaders are all over our fair city.


There are some really amazing women who are part of the squad.
The Texans cheerleaders are indeed pom squad coaches and fitness instructors and aspiring singers. There's also a Stanford grad who works at a major investment management firm and a woman who coordinates patient care for a home healthcare agency in the group. In her first year, Williams did receive several raised eyebrows from the cheerleaders for her outside-football life; her second, not so much.

One you want to get to know is Summer Williams. She is a "rocket scientist." She works as an aeronautical engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group tasked with supporting NASA's work on the International Space Station. Her road to becoming a cheerleader and what she's learned are really worth reading. There's a video clip of her here.


There's a lot of pride in being a Texans Cheerleader. Janna Skrabanek, Betsy Young, Dana Sullivan and Celina all have a lot to say about being a Texans cheerleader. I like the way Summer Williams put it:

"All the girls have to work their butts off," she said, refusing to say her career is more taxing. "Obviously my perception and opinion of cheerleaders has changed drastically."

The biggest surprise, she said, is that there's no cattiness, no personal subterfuge. This is the first time she's worked with women (on her 40-or-so person project at NASA, there are just two other women and, for the record, they love how she moonlights) and she said that's somehow made her more confident.

We can all be proud of our Houston Texans Cheerleaders.