Cheerleaders Bring Spirit to the South

November 5, 2005--Posted at 6:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR--Brookland, Valley View, Nettleton, and even Little Rock. Some of the region's most highly skilled athletes faced off today at the Arkansas State Convocation Center.

2...4...6...8 They are the cheerleaders of Region 8.

"The athletic abilities of these girls is just phenomenal," said Pam Statler of Clear Channel Radio.

Today squads from across the region assembled for the 3rd Annual Spirit of the South Cheerleading Competition.

"This is actually a pretty big deal because there isn't a cheerleading competition in our area other than regional competition so this gives them a chance to prepare," said Statler.

31 squads competed today in a sport that has evolved over the years.

"Over the last 20 years it has become so much more athletic, they have to be a gymnast they have to be in shape and they have to have an immense amount of stamina or they will not be able to withhold," said Nettleton Jr. High Coach Debbi Blankenship.

"We have dancing cheering, tumbling you name it we can do it," said Nettleton Cheerleader Brynn Reid.

The squads perform for two and half to three minutes showcasing all their skills.

"It feels so good because we have worked so hard on this routine," said Reid.

A lot of schools like the Corning High Cheerleaders have been practicing their act all summer so a lot of work goes into these routines.

"You have to put a lot of work and effort into cheerleading it's not just something you do it is who you are," said Reid.

So like a baseball player who spends time in the batting cages or a basketball player who hones their shot in the gym these cheerleaders have waited a lifetime to be on this stage.

"These girls a lot of them have worked since they were two and three years old to get to this point," said Blankenship.

Still some people don't believe cheerleading is a sport.

"I would say they are completely mistaken and they need to come out and watch these girls because I think they could take them," said Statler.

They are a group of hardcore athletes that really give you something to cheer about. The annual competition was put on by Clear Channel Radio and the Arkansas Cheer Company based here in Jonesboro.