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Alumna chooses cheer career

The shouts of cheerleaders fill Denver, Colorado?s Invesco Stadium as a Broncos wide receiver rushes in to the end zone to add six more points to the scoreboard. The crowd erupts in wild cheers.

Alumna Shelby (Wells) Britton, ’95, a rookie cheerleader for the Broncos, thrives on bright lights, cheering crowds and the NFL players of Sunday night football games.

Britton?s journey to a professional cheerleader began her eighth grade year. Though she had no interest in cheer, she tried out for the squad with her best friend Nicole Renney.

?After I tried out and made the team, I fell in love with cheer,? Britton said. ?I had a lot fun cheering at games and building relationship with my fellow classmates. From this experience I dreamed of one day performing for a professional team.?

Besides cheerleading, Britton participated in student council, yearbook, journalism and tennis.

?I loved going to junior high and high school at FC, because I could participate in many activities,? Britton said. ?Since the school is small, I got to know almost everyone.?

Fellow cheerleader and current cheer coach, Katie (Boozer) Mendenhall, spent the ’92-’93 school year as the base for Britton?s stunts. That year the varsity cheer squad placed 2nd at the USA National cheer competition without school divisions.

?She was an amazing flyer,? Mendenhall said. ?She not only has skill as a cheerleader, but she was always very sweet and kind to everyone on our team.?

Britton?s former cheer coach, Eunie McEntee, founded the campus cheer program in ’81.

?Shelby was a wonderful cheerleader,? McEntee said. ?She was a hard worker that strived for excellence. She was also very creative in helping to make up the cheer routines.?

McEntee supported Britton in her dream of a professional cheer career.

?Mrs. McEntee was a big support as I tried out for the college cheerleading at San Diego State,? Britton said. ?She drove all the way down there with me to support me as I auditioned.?

After college, Britton founded Fire and Ice, a traveling hockey entertainment team that dances and performs directly on the ice with rubber shoes. While she owned the squad, she also danced full-time with them for three years.

Britton gained experience as she auditioned for multiple professional cheer teams before she interviewed with the Denver Broncos.

?More than 400 women tried out to be a part of the Broncos cheer team,? Britton said. ?I was extremely nervous as I talked in front of a panel of judges about the players and rules of football.?

The most memorable experience of Britton’s cheerleading career came when the judges called her name as a member for the 2007-08 Broncos cheer team.

?I felt so excited, the nervousness was over,? Britton said. ?I was thrilled to be a part of the ‘premiere? cheering event, along with being a role model for the people of the community.”

Each individual on the squad commits multiple hours of practice and other events each week. Britton learned to manage her time from balancing cheer and her full time job as a marketing director.

?We have to practice two times a week for four to five hours at a time,? Britton said. ?The cheer team also does different appearances at community events. This is a great way to meet many different people in the society.?

Britton credits her confidence, public speaking skills, and ability to work under pressure to experience with the cheer team. Senior Taryn Brown, co-captain of the varsity squad, admires Britton’s attitude.

?It?s awesome that someone from this school does cheer professionally,? Brown said. ?I think it was noble of her to go out and pursue her dreams.?

Natalie (Giannetta) Douty, ’95, sophomore English teacher, participated in high school cheer with Britton.

?I am amazed,? Douty said. ?She has been able to turn what started as a fun high school activity and make it into a successful career as a professional cheerleader.?

Britton advises students to remain persistent in pursuing their dreams.

?Don?t let anyone tell you that you will never achieve your dreams,? Britton said. ?Trust God that He will show you the right path to take. He will you put you in the right place at the right time.?

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