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Diary of a Cheerleader

Ascot 2010 - Cheer Diary

Ascot Shergar Cup 201Pineapple Cheerleaders at Ascot Shergar Cup0

By Emma, Rossella & Sarah

Everyone agreed that last year’s Shergar cup was a huge success. So how to improve on it this year? More cheerleaders of course!!! We were delighted when Ascot decided to hire the Pineapple Cheerleaders not only to cheer on the races and perform for the crowd, but also to model with the jockeys and to provide cheerleading workshops for the children. So, here’s how one of our biggest, busiest events of the year went down!

A Cheermodel's POV - By Rossella

Helllllllllllllllllo Ascot! We are back for the amazing, exciting Shergar cup 2010. This time however was a little different, as they had hired us to model as well as perform so I got the even more glamorous role of one of the cheer models! First of all being a cheermodel for the Shergar Cup was a great honour! As cheermodels we are basically there to add glamour to all of the ceremonies so our first duty was to accompany the jockeys in the autograph signing. Being Italian, I was really pleased to wear the blue uniform and represent Team Europe: Olivier Peslier the captain along with Umberto Rispoli and Christophe Soumillon.

After meeting the fans, our next task was to represent the cheerleaders in a live interview for ‘At the Races’. The presenter wanted us to give away insider cheerinfo and even seemed interested in learning some of our moves! So, as a PC cheermodel, I was delighted to answer the very curious questions. Most of you might think that my famous line: ‘ the best thing about being a cheerleader is being a cheerleader’, is the greatest answer to every cheerquestion, (which it sure is btw), but I never release the same statement twice ;-) and this time everyone learnt  how to shimmy, how to form a low and high V position and a liberty. Useful stuff ; )

Next came our trickiest job – modelling with the winning jockeys. It sounds easy but we were required to wear the colours of the winning jockey which meant getting dressed in the time it took him to ride around the grandstand into the parade ring – about 2mins!!! We watched each race on the screens in our dressing room, with 4 different outfits on standby. We tried going by the odds to guess which Jockey would win, and put the uniform on ready, but it wasn’t that reliable (a lesson in betting!). But once we were dressed and out there it was fabulous. We got to walk alongside the N1 horse & jockey, escorting them into the ring. Then we had to pose with them for the press & publicity photos and lead the applause as they were presented with the trophy.

A very exciting day where all teams won one race but in the end it was Ireland that made the winning podium for the day.

Dancing at Ascot - By EmmaPineapple Cheerleaders dancing at Ascot

Ascot is one of the best gigs in the calendar for a dancer because we perform 6 different routines, all of which are high energy, big crowd pleasing numbers.The day kicks off with the rehearsal then it is straight out into the crowds for mix and mingle! This is personally one of my favourite aspects of being a Pineapple Cheerleader. It’s a great way to meet some of our adoring fans and give them the opportunity to have their photos taken with their favourite squad! Along the way we met tons of wonderful CheerFans! I could see some great potential PC’s in the making!

Then it’s time for the most important part of the day…the opening ceremony. Now what makes this performance so special is the 30,000 strong crowd, all gathered round the Parade Ring, waiting to catch a glimpse of the jockeys they will be supporting throughout the races. Now as Cheerleaders it’s our job to get the eager crowd cheering for their team, so that’s just what we did, after all… we have a whole year worth of excitement waiting to be unleashed!

‘Don’t stop believing’ (the Glee version of course) is our opening routine and has never gone better; it definitely helps having thousands of faces smiling back at you. Next we were introduced to our team jockeys. CeCe and I were cheering for Great Britain! Hayley Turner, Jim Crowley and Alan Munro, Come on the Reds! We were having so much fun performing our signature routines for each team anthem… until out of nowhere rain started pouring, no cheerleader wants to risk being styled out on Live TV! Instinctively we all run for cover back to our dressing rooms to preserve what’s left of our fabulous curls!

At least the rapid change in weather gave us a chance to wear our custom made Ascot caps, designed perfectly to match our uniforms. Us PC’s are always fully prepared for any disaster that may happen, rain, sleet or ladders! That being said, there’s always an unexpected Cheersprise! Now if you’re a long-term follower of the PC’s you may remember that at last year’s Ascot Shergar Cup I was stung by a wasp caught lurking in my gold Poms, well this year Greta was struck! It seems even wasps can’t get enough of us Pineapple Cheerleaders…if only they could play nice!

After such an eventful yet amazing start to the day it’s on to our next task – performing in front of the huge grandstand for each race. We can’t wait to get back out and give the crowd what they want! Ascot have a special cheerleaders podium on the green in front of the track and it was so much fun to come bounding through the crowds and up onto our stage to perform the victory dances after each race.

We finish the day by cheering on this year’s winners, Team Ireland, in the Closing Ceremony. Its the second year in a row that they've won… never underestimate the luck of the Irish! I know who my money’s on next year! Luckily we all absolutely loved the anthem for Ireland which was Elevation by U2 and we got to perform it one last time while the jockeys celebrated another amazing victory! There was however a slight interruption during the performance when we heard the far too familiar sound of a champagne cork popping, we did what any true PC would do and leapt off the podium to run for cover! Being soaked in Champagne is not a good look!

Running the workshops - By SarahKids Cheerleading Workshops at Ascot with The Cheerleading Company

Being a PC isn’t all about performing. Some of the squad girls are also fully qualified cheerleading instructors and there’s nothing we love more than meeting our younger fans and running cheerleading workshops giving them the chance to see what it is like to be a Pineapple Cheerleader. So when Ascot asked us to include cheerleading workshops at this year’s Shergar cup, it was H to the Y from me!!!!
We kicked off with our official P.R. duties, team photo shoots & interviews, then as the others went off to do mix n mingle with the crowd, there was no hanging around for Kim and me. We grabbed our bags of pom pons and headed to the entertainment room.
Our task for the day was to run 4 separate cheerleading workshops for children, then, to bring them all together at the end of the day to give a performance in the Parade ring!

When we got to the first workshop we couldn’t believe how many kids there were. We expected 20 participants so when an excited crowd of about 40 smiling children came swarming in we knew it was going to be fun. The organisers told us that the workshops were so popular that they had been fully booked two weeks ago and now there were even more people wanting to take part. Luckily we’d brought extra poms so we said ‘let them all join in’! The kids loved it. We taught them a special version of our Hey Mickey routine and they were fantastic. From toddlers to teenagers, everybody totally got the cheerleading spirit and it was so sweet to see the youngest ones holding poms that were almost as big as them!

At the end of the session Kim and I handed out medals to every child for taking part and they had the biggest smiles on their faces. Then, when we told them that they would get to perform their routine in the parade ring at the end of the day with the Pineapple Cheerleaders, they cheered with excitement. They couldn’t wait for the big performance……
By the end of the day, with all of the workshops done, and the other PC’s performing in the closing ceremony, Kim and I had nothing to do but wait for the kids to arrive for their performance. I was a bit nervous thinking ‘what if none of the kids come?’ But I needn’t have worried because from 5pm, they started to arrive and by 5.15pm there were masses of children queuing up at the gates ready to perform. As we all watched the closing ceremony they were telling us how excited and nervous they all were!

Then it was time for the big performance. The gates were opened, Hey Mickey came on the sound system and hundreds of mini-cheerleaders came streaming into the parade ring and started dancing their hearts out for the crowd! It was such a great feeling and, with all of the parents’ cameras flashing, I know the kids felt like stars! I was so proud of them all and the other PC’s couldn’t believe what a great job Kim & I had done in making it happen!

All in all the kids workshops were a massive success. I just hope they had as much fun as we did!

The races are over but that doesn’t mean the fun is! At the end of the day, it’s off to the 80’s concert with Boy George and Belinda Carlisle. Cheerleaders, cheermodels and cheercoaches re-unite to champagne toast the success of the day, and make our way to the VIP concert stand. The concert was packed with screaming and singing fans, the sun was shining again and everything was simply perfection.Another fantastic day at Ascot…if you didn’t catch us this year, don’t miss it the next!