Orange Bowl dreamin’ |

Orange Bowl dreamin’

Local teens to perform during pre-football game festivities in Miami on Jan. 3

John Vandelinder

— Laughter and playful giggling can be heard echoing around the vast interior of the Gymstar Fun N Fit Gymnastics building on a snowy Christmas Eve in Craig.

Two teenage girls are in the midst of an adolescent debate about who is getting the window seat.

It’s not a dispute involving the car ride home – it’s an all-out war for the rights to the window view for the duo’s upcoming airplane ride to Florida.

“It’s my first trip, and I get the window,” Amber Luker says.

“No way,” Clara Tomlin sneers. “We’ll throw you out of the plane.”

National Cheer Association All-American team members Amber, 17, and Clara, 13, have been cheerleading for more than five years, practicing two times per week in an effort to compete four times each year.

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The pair cheered the loudest when learning this past August they had earned a spot on national television.

Amber and Clara will participate Jan. 3 in the Orange Bowl pre-game festivities in Miami.

It’s a college football battle between ACC Champion Virginia Tech and a one-loss University of Kansas team, from the Big 12.

Although the game has implications in college football’s final standings, the girls could care less.

It’s all about them, cheerleading on TV and fun in the sun.

“I’m really excited to go to the beach,” Clara said, smiling at the thought. “The hot weather and the cute boys.”

They both giggle.

“I’ve never been to Florida,” Amber said. “I want to see the sun. It’s so much warmer down there. I can’t wait.”

The pair was chosen by an instructor from the NCA, who visited this summer at a camp run by Clara’s mother, Debbie Tomlin, who also is making the trip as chaperone.

They will perform a routine received by mail, on a DVD that they’ve never seen before.

Are they nervous?

“I don’t feel nervous,” Clara said. “I feel famous.”

“Neither do I,” chimed in Amber. “I’m nervous about the ocean. I’m allergic to salt water.”

“Ha ha, you won’t get to go in the water,” Clara said poking fun at Amber.”

It’s not the water Amber’s after, or the national spotlight. She just wants to be warm.

“I hate the snow and the cold,” she said. “When are we leaving?”

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or

If you watch

What: Orange Bowl – Kansas vs. Virginia Tech

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 3

Where: Dolphin Stadium, Miami

Channel: FOX