After a long weekend of tryouts and tough decisions, 28 cheerleaders were selected for the 2004 squad, including returning veteran Jennifer Summers
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers partnered with the world-renowned Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in March, the goal was simple: To produce 'the most beautiful, exciting and spirited cheerleaders in the NFL.'
Mission accomplished. Over the past weekend, Wilhelmina's decades of talent scouting were put to the test, as a field of over 500 applicants was narrowed down to a final team of 28 stunning women. Three Wilhelmina representatives – Jason Christeanson, Tara Intoci and Jeff Schock – served as judges as for a process that took the better part of three days and wasn't complete until 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
"We brought in Wilhelmina Models, and they used their expertise to find the best selection of women for our team," said Sandy Charboneau, the Bucs' cheerleading coordinator. "The Wilhelmina judges were fantastic. Obviously, their process of choosing models is different from the process of selecting NFL cheerleaders, but I think they knew exactly what to look for. We told them what we wanted out of the team and they used their experience from there to put together an outstanding squad."
So, without further ado, let us introduce the 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders:
|**2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders**|
|Jennifer Abbott||25||Pharmacy Assistant||5-Year Veteran|
|Clarissa Anderson||19||Fashion Design Student||Rookie|
|Melanie Capello||19||Marketing Major||Rookie|
|Vanessa Castillo||20||Psychology Major||2-Year Veteran|
|Nichole Creadon||22||Exercise Physiology Major||Rookie|
|Keri-Anne DaCosta||22||Graduate Student||2-Year Veteran|
|Danielle Dolen||20||Mass Communications Major||3-Year Veteran|
|Kayla Drawdy||23||Mass Communications Major||3-Year Veteran|
|Dawnyale Foster||26||Speech Pathologist||3-Year Veteran|
|Shana Geramita||22||Cheer Instructor||Rookie|
|Melissa Giovannello||23||Mortgage Broker||Rookie|
|Andrea Gordillo||31||Dentist||4-Year Veteran|
|Lacey Greene||21||Financial Assistant||Rookie|
|Jennette Harshman||23||Account Executive||2-Year Veteran|
|Tomoko Kojima||26||NFL Japan Cheerleader||2-Year Veteran|
|Natalie Maddox||25||Biologist||2-Year Veteran|
|Carol Mays||26||Sixth-Grade Teacher||Rookie|
|Laine Melendy||18||Full-Time Student||Rookie|
|Brooke Newton||18||Full-Time Student||Rookie|
|Juneanne Nguyen||21||Communications Major||Rookie|
|Michelle Penaranda||22||Fashion Design Student||2-Year Veteran|
|Lori Rumberg||25||Private Investigator||Rookie|
|Tara Steele||20||Psychology Major||Rookie|
|Jennifer Summers||22||Mass Communications Major||2-Year Veteran|
|Taylor Tagliarino||20||Marketing Major||2-Year Veteran|
|Victoria Vodar||23||Graduate Student||2-Year Veteran|
|Leigh Vollmer||27||Behavioral Health Clincal Coord.||5-Year Veteran|
|Stacy Westbrook||23||Bio-Medical Science Major||Rookie|
Fifteen of the 28 members of the team are returning veterans from 2003. Those experienced cheerleaders joined the audition process on Sunday, after two eliminations on Saturday had pared the field from its original total to 100, leading to a semifinal field of 127 women. That group was narrowed down to 50 finalists by Sunday afternoon during group auditions. On Monday, each of the final 50 was given a one-on-one tryout with the Wilhelmina judges. Thanks to the across-the-board beauty and excellence of the finalists, the Wilhelmina judges went well past midnight to make their final selections.
"This process is difficult every year, but I think it was even tougher than usual this time," said Charboneau. "We had over 500 women try out, and just getting that group down to 50 was extremely hard. Then, when those women came back for their one-on-one tryouts, we saw so much more in them. It was so tough to choose among those women, but I think we came out with an amazing group."
In promoting this year's tryouts, the Buccaneers indicated that no dance experience was necessary for interested applicants. However, pre-audition classes to explain the process and introduce some rudimentary routines were held last Monday and Tuesday, and attended by approximately 450 women. With or without dance experience, the Buccaneers Cheerleaders will be asked to entertain Tampa Bay fans at games and countless community appearances.
"We were looking for women with an overall glamorous and beautiful quality," said Charboneau. "Our main focus was to see their appearance, their showmanship, their personality shining through, because that means a whole lot on the field in front of 65,000 people."
This year's auditions were not only enhanced by Wilhelmina's presence but also held several months later in the spring than usual. With just over two months before Buccaneer players report to training camp, the 2004 season – and show time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders – is just around the corner. Charboneau said the new squad will be extremely busy over the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, however, the chosen women can take time to bask in the glow of their success. The Buccaneers intend this year's squad to be not only the most glamorous and beautiful in team history, but in all the NFL. Meeting that goal was made possible by the expertise of the Wilhelmina judges and the hard work of over 500 applicants.
"We just want to thank everyone who tried out and worked so hard," said Charboneau. "I was so impressed by everyone who came out this weekend. Trying out for an NFL cheerleading squad takes talent and guts, and all of these women had plenty of those things."