Rain or shine, the cheer squad is leading Montana State fans during athletic events. The Montana State Cheer Squad members function as student-athlete ambassadors for MSU. You can find them at home football games, volleyball games and basketball games, both men’s and women’s. According the the mission statement on the squad’s website, their goal is to create and promote school support and interest in athletics, increase enrollment at Montana State, develop high team standards and provide quality entertainment. In order to achieve these goals, the squad holds open tryouts each year. This year tryouts were held Sept. 12.
The tryout not only awards members a spot on the team, but a chance to win scholarships that are announced after the tryouts. Each year there are seven fee waivers with a total value of $33,000 that are awarded to Spirit Squad members. These scholarship dollars are divided at the coach’s discretion between the members of the squad.
The scholarship money is not only spent on tuition, but warm-ups, practice and travel gear and shoes. Each squad member receives allowances for meals on trips, access to a team physician as well as mental and medical health professionals and an athletic trainer at all practices, games and competitions. The team also has access to the Hosaeus Recreational and Fitness Center and academic support and tutoring as needed.
However, being on the cheer squad is no easy task. They practice three days a week for three hours, as well as performing at scheduled Bobcat athletic contests and appearances. All members are in the weight room with a strength coach two days per week. In addition to practices and athletic events, the cheer squad makes many appearances around Bozeman and is involved in community service projects. It is typical that they spend up to 20 hours a week during the season with workouts, practices and appearances, all of which earns members two elective credits.
In order to join the squad, prospective members must be able to do a multitude of performance requirements. This includes tumbling, an incorporation of multiple movements such as a standing back handspring, a roundoff back handspring and a toe-touch back handspring. Potential newcomers must also be able to do stunts, bases and backspots, and learn a motion/dance technique portion where the cheerleaders must perform a sideline dance and the fight song dance, both of which are taught during the tryout. The tryout finishes with an individual interview with the coaches.
Spectators at Bobcat athletic events may not think about the extensive preparation and ability it takes to be a cheerleader. But take a moment to notice some of the intricate movements and body positioning of which they are capable. Often, when the main event might not live up to expectations, the cheer squad is something to count on to support the Cats through thick and thin.
The next time you get a chance, show the squad some love, join in and cheer along. You can learn more about the spirit squad at msubobcats.com.