Phil SandovalFree Press Sports Editor

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November 7, 2007
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Spirited weekend ahead for area cheer, dance teams

G-O, Lets Go.Silently, the 2007-08 Colorado spirit competition season began last weekend. For local middle and high school units, the volume pumps up Friday evening.Our town hosts back-to-back spirit competitions this weekend. For those of you whove watched these events on ESPN (admit it guys, you have) its time to see a spirit competition up close and personal.Trust me, you wont be disappointed.Competitive routines consist of precise dance motions beyond moves duos on Dancing with the Stars would try along with intricate formations, gobs of spine-bending gymnastics, and vertical leaps LeBron James would die for. And the brightest smiles outside of the dentist office.The challenge? Each competing teams routine has to include all these elements. And, weave them into a 2 minute, 30 second time limit.Other towns may claim it sorry Glenwood Springs but Grand Junction is the spirit capital of the Western Slope.The proof is in the numbers.This season, more than 250 middle schoolers were members of a Mesa County Junior Cheer Association squad.All eight of the associations cheer teams will compete at Fruita Monument High Schools main gymnasium Friday evening.The first competition one of four separate categories where a champion will be crowned begins at 7:30 p.m.To secure a seat, get to the gym early. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. that night. In the past, all seating has been filled in minutes.On Saturday morning, the competition scene shifts to Mesa State Colleges Brownson Arena for the 12th annual National Cheerleaders Associations Western Colorado championships.Local high school teams currently on the participation docket include Grand Junction High Schools cheer and pom teams as well as Fruita Monuments pom squad. Additionally, event coordinator Dawn Carey mentioned Palisade High School has entered individuals in various cheer skill competitions.That will make it a long day for those Palisade Bulldogs cheerleaders, considering they and I will have to zip over to Stocker Stadium for Palisade football teams state playoff game that afternoon.Other units making the trip to Mesa State include high school cheer teams from Cedaredge, Montrose, Paonia, Rifle and Steamboat Springs, along with the dance team from Hotchkiss High School.Carey said the list of participating schools and teams at Saturdays competition will grow as late entries are processed and factored in the mix. Hopefully, the late list will include the Grand Junction Stars dancers and the Fruita Recreation Department Liberty cheerleaders.If thats not enough incentive to come, try this.The Spirit Express cheer and dance teams are scheduled to perform at both events. Thats not to belittle any of the competing teams, but, its well worth the $3 adult admission price of Fridays event and/or the five bucks it cost at Mesa State to see them live.And, should you decide to go to Mesa State, please make sure to buy a hot dog or two. The Mavericks cheerleaders will man the concession booths on Saturday. A portion of sales go back to that program.Also, if you ask nicely, Im sure the Mav cheerleaders will exhibit their skills as well.Unfortunately, due to lack of available facilities, this weekend is the only time spirit competitions are held locally. The balance of the competitive spirit season, which continues to March, is held on the Front Range.Another cheer program thats taken root in the Grand Valley is the Express Gold Wings cheer team. That squad consists of mentally and physically-challenged individuals ages 7-22.Its not too late, Gold Wings head coach Cindy Byerly said, for girls and boys who have special needs to join that program. Team practices are held at the Express studio Sundays from 6-7:30 p.m.Call Byerly at 314-7844 or Express director Tena Preuss at 201-3453 with questions on the Gold Wings program.

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 7, 2007 06:48PM Published Nov 7, 2007 06:48PM Copyright 2007 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.