KaShara is Pro Bowl Bound!!!
Congratulations to KaShara, our Pro Bowl 2018 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, who will represent Cowboys Nation during a full week of NFL festivities in Orlando, Florida. A three-year DCC veteran, KaShara was selected by a vote of teammates, DCC staff, and Cowboys fans.
KaShara was literally ‘Thunderstruck’ by her Pro Bowl selection.
“I found out before our final home game on Christmas Eve at the end of our pregame rehearsal,” recalls KaShara. “We had already run through ‘Thunder’ (pregame performance of Thunderstruck) and our quarter changes and our Christmas Halftime Show. After the run through, we always watch our Thunder rehearsal on the big screen. Kelli (Finglass, DCC Director) usually points out anybody standing out in a good way or a bad way. We were watching the screen and Kelli said ‘Who is on the 41-yard line in the Kick Line?’ And I was, ‘Oh, that’s me’. I was thinking, ‘Did I mess up? Surely not!’ (laughing). I said, ‘Oh, that’s me, Kelli!’. The next thing you know, the screen changes over and it shows ‘Congratulations, KaShara on Pro Bowl 2018!!!
“I was so surprised. Someone could have kicked me in the back of the knees, I just dropped to the ground. I’m not an overly emotional, crying type of person. But I was definitely surprised and emotional. And all the girls just dog-piled on top of me. In all my life I’ve never felt such love and support and utter shock. I thought Kelli called me out because I messed up, but it was such a nice surprise. It was a lot of emotion that a month later I still can’t filter through.”
KaShara is grateful to Cowboys fans for their votes, and especially proud of the affirmation from her DCC teammates whom she considers ‘sisters’. Their votes were especially meaningful.
“When your team votes for you as well as the DCC staff – those people that work with you every single day—I spend all my time with them both in-and-out of practice. To know they chose me is absolutely incredible.
“About a month-and-a-half before our final game, each DCC member gets an e-mail which asks us to submit your Pro Bowl nominee and explain why. We e-mail our votes to Kelli and to Judy (Trammell, DCC Choreographer). I remember as a rookie, I thought I knew what was expected of our Pro Bowl representative. My second year, I knew a little more about what’s expected, so I felt more confident in answering the question and voting for a deserving teammate. This year, I was in a little different position (as a group leader). We are supportive of everyone and try to lift each other’s spirits, whether they’re having a good day or a bad day.
“After the Pro Bowl announcement, I called my mom and said, ‘I don’t know who should be more proud, me or you?!?’ You show up to practice every day and I’m very aware of the impact we have on our community and on young girls and young athletes, but the impact you have on your teammates is something you don’t always recognize each day. You just show up and give 110%. As long as you give your all, you hope and expect them to give their all.
“To know I impacted my team enough that they voted me to be their representative with all the other NFL teams at the Pro Bowl, I honestly can’t describe the feeling. It’s a lot of responsibility and I feel a weight on my back because I want to go there and be the best I can be to represent all of us who wear a DCC uniform. I’m also representing all the DCC alumni as well as the entire Cowboys organization. The whole organization has been amazing to me so I feel the responsibility of representing all of us, all of Cowboys Nation.”
KaShara’s trip to the Pro Bowl is not a vacation. It’s not just showing up for Sunday’s game and cheering on the sideline. It’s a week-long itinerary jammed with appearances and rehearsals and community outreach.
“We arrive in Orlando on the Monday (January 22nd) before the Pro Bowl and we’re there the full week,” she notes.
“We start rehearsals on Tuesday morning and take a group photo. We’ve already received handbooks with the full list of activities and responsibilities for the week. We’ve got NFL Play 60 youth camps that we’ll be working. We’re doing the Disney 5k Princess Run at Magic Kingdom. We will be at the NFL Skills Challenge for the players. There are other events like parades. And not only have they sent us videos with the choreography so that we can practice individually, we also will learn a pregame and halftime routine on-site.
“From what I’ve heard from Jennifer (DCC Pro Bowl 2017), there’s not a lot of down time. You’re at appearances and at kids’ camps and other NFL-sponsored activities. And what’s great is that NFL fans enjoy meeting the representatives from all our different NFL squads, so it will be fun to interact with the fans.”
KaShara’s trip to the Pro Bowl is the capstone of a terrific season. It’s not just about dancing the “point” (front-and-center during the Thunderstruck pregame performance), it’s about assuming a larger leadership role within the squad within three short seasons.
“It is really crazy how three years goes by so fast. I could never have imagined this would happen to me, especially when I think about how I felt when I arrived here three years ago. First of all, I was shocked I made the team. Yes, I had confidence in myself, but still!!! To get to this point, to be THE Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in the Pro Bowl, I think about how much respect I have for Jennifer, and how much respect I have for Holly (DCC Pro Bowl 2016) who was our representative my rookie year.
“I view those girls as the right kind of leaders who shaped me. They were so much more than role models to me. They were at my side, encouraging me through ups-and-downs. They continue to be mentors even after they retired. They check back in with us and I still view them as titans, they have a huge presence. When they walk in the room, all eyes are on them in a good way. They have everyone’s best interest at heart, and that’s how I want to be.”
And now KaShara, like Holly and Jennifer before her, is a veteran leader that the younger DCC try to emulate. She’s come a long way from the nervous rookie who messed up big-time on her very first day of Training Camp.
“I’m the small-town girl from Eastern Kentucky who wore the wrong outfit on the first night of DCC Training Camp. That was shown on the CMT: Making the Team television show. Everyone reminds me about it (laughing)! Yes, I know I wore the wrong outfit! I’m very aware of it because they replay it every year on TV (laughing harder). I do think my story is relatable to people, though. I did not expect to make the team. It’s been a long journey, but a great journey.
In addition to teammates, fans and DCC staff, KaShara is immensely appreciative of her family.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘sacrifice’ to describe my situation because my family’s sacrifice doesn’t compare to the sacrifice of military families. I could choose to go home to Kentucky if I wanted, it’s not like a military family that has to spend time apart. But my family has helped me so much, especially my mom & dad. It’s not been easy to move to Dallas and be away from family.
“But once I got here, my goal wasn’t just to stick around. I realized that I have a lot more to give. It goes to show that you have to be patient and trust in God’s timing. Just keep working hard! Sure, we all have our off-nights where we’ve got outside things going on from work or other places, but if you keep showing up and giving your all, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”