Cowboys Cheerleader Hopefuls Do Their Best to Brighten Up the Gaylord

If you can make '80s dance covers look fun, you too could be on CMT someday, or even on the big screen in Arlington
If you can make '80s dance covers look fun, you too could be on CMT someday, or even on the big screen in Arlington
Patrick Michels

Update: Check out more photos in our slide show from the tryouts.

It was easy to spot Morgan Willey's family in the Gaylord Texan's courtyard Saturday afternoon, in their matching white T-shirts with blue Cowboys stars. Airbrushed onto the back of each shirt was Morgan's name and their relation to her -- just in case you were wondering, or in case one of them forgets.

Doug Willey -- in the "Morgan's Dad" T-shirt -- said his daughter grew up as both a Cowboys fan and a ballerina, but it was CMT's reality show Making the Team that really sparked her interest. They'd flown in from El Paso to show support at the tryouts, and her uncle Ted has been hosting the 19-year-old dancer in Dallas for weeks while she practiced her routine.

Upstairs in the ballroom, the CMT cameras once again had the tryouts well covered, but it took a lot more than an airbrushed shirts and a travel story to stand out among the hundreds hoping to make the first cut for this year's batch of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Six at a time, hopeful cheerleaders filed onto the dance floor and tried to wow the dozen judges with their personal introductions. One girl said she'd driven six hours to reach Dallas after graduating from high school the night before. Another drew applause by announcing her plans to get married in August. They ranged in age from their late teens to late thirties, and though most were from North Texas, dancers came from all over the country for the tryout weekend in Grapevine. 

Having introduced themselves, their sole possession of the spotlight was history. When the music started up, each launched into their own routines, side by side on the dance floor but each otherwise on their own planet.

Some went with the swing-your-arms, snap-your-fingers move, some tried to impress with their winning smiles, and one girl got the room's attention with a series of back-flips and cartwheels just shy of the terrified dancers watching from the front row.

The second round, with one standard dance routine, was held Sunday, and a third round of tryouts will decide who finally makes the squad.


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