After months of learning a new routine and practice, the Moffat County Thunder Competitive All-Star Cheerleading Program was able to cash in at the Las Vegas Jamfest.
At the April 10 and 11 national cheerleading competition, the Moffat County Thunder was able to finish fifth, its highest finish at a national event.
Coach Jannie Brenner said the team’s strong finish was the culmination of hard work.
“It’s huge,” she said. “It’s gratifying because these kids poured in their hearts and souls, and this is the best they have done at a competition this big.”
The Thunder is comprised of 14 girls and five boys between the ages of 8 and 17.
Normally, the Thunder has a youth team and a senior team, but for Jamfest, the two teams were combined, Brenner said.
“It was fun for the entire team,” she said. “They did awesome.”
The Thunder was the only team from Colorado in attendance, Brenner said.
“There were teams from Los Angeles (and) Las Vegas,” she said.
For this year’s routine, the Thunder had a private choreographer help the team discover some new moves, Brenner said.
Brenner, along with assistant coach Debbi Schmidt, helped tailor the routine to the squad’s strengths.
“It was our most difficult routine we have ever done,” Brenner said. “We had to tweak it to fit our style.”
The team practiced the routine twice a week for more than two hours each practice.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Brenner said. “Cheerleading is very physically demanding.”
All the months and the hours spent in a gym practicing was for a performance that lasted less than three minutes, Brenner said.
“They have 2 1/2 minutes to perform their routine,” she said. “And it has to be perfect. There are no second chances.”
To add to the pressure, the Thunder had to watch other teams perform their routines backstage, Brenner said.
“You could see all the other teams competing, and it was nerve wracking,” she said. “The kids had butterflies — some of them were completely white before they went out.
“But as soon as our music came on and they shouted, ‘Moffat County Thunder,’ they were ready to go.”
One of the best parts of the competition was representing Moffat County at such a large event, Brenner said.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “I’m grateful to all the moms and dads and the kids because this is a huge commitment.”
The team’s next performance will be during the June 16 to 19 Whittle the Wood Rendezvous at Craig City Park.
“We’re excited to perform in our hometown again,” Brenner said.