(Caps Outsider) University of Maryland graduates and Capitals Outsider contributors Ben Barr...
Caps Red Rockers Auditions!
Photos by Bruce Andrew Peters for Capitals Outsider.
Scores of hopeful, enthusiastic young ladies came out Saturday to audition for the Washington Capitals Red Rocker elite spirit squad. Day 1 of the auditions was held at Sport & Health: Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA and was hosted by radio station DC101 disc jockey, Elliot Segal, and DJ Jarrod Wronski.
Lest you think a Red Rocker audition is just another cheerleading try-out, the judges look for so much more than just sis-boom-bah. They look for ladies with warm and positive personalities to be ambassadors for the Washington Capitals organization. Poise, confidence and a welcoming attitude are essential to representing and supporting the team during home games at the Verizon Center in addition to community and charity events.
Ladies came from all across the Washington metropolitan area to audition. The group was quite impressive with diverse background experiences. There were teachers, artists, medical assistants, a photographer, a microbiologist, a United States Air Force veteran, and loads of college students working on their undergraduate degrees to doctoral studies, just to name a few.
Tia G. from Alexandria, VA was eager to audition. “I have a passion for this kind of thing. I love to make people smile and bring happiness to others,” she said.
Warunya A., also from Alexandria, came to the auditions with a lot of cheerleading experience. “I cheered for four years and I really miss it and the whole atmosphere. I was also in a sorority so I love being around the other girls and the developing friendships.”
“I grew up around hockey and I love it,” said an excited Amanda B. from Huntingtown, MD. “I really want to a part of it all.”
Maika R., originally from Oregon, now lives in Kensington, MD. “I am fairly new in town. I thought this would be a good way to get to know new people and be a part of the community.”
Segal, host of Elliot in the Morning on DC101, was at the audition this year to joke around and put the ladies at ease during their introductions, and to conduct interviews for Caps Red Line. Segal, an avid Caps fan, hosted a 2013 segment of Monumental Network’s series Caps Red Line which was awarded an Emmy by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in June 2014. It was the third consecutive year that Caps Red Line was awarded an Emmy for Best Local Sports Program Series.
“It’s the best day of the year, are you kidding?” said Segal when asked about his role at the auditions. “I’m here to conduct interviews and do a little foolin’ around, a little emceeing,”
Day 1 was quite eventful as Michelle Dee, a three-year veteran Red Rocker, stepped into her new role as coach/choreographer and taught the ladies a series of dance moves for the audition.
Kevin Giambi, Mascot Coordinator for the Caps, planned challenging games for the ladies to play to demonstrate their spirit, cooperation and teamwork. Great music and direction provided by DJ Jarrod added to the fun for the participants.
At the end of the day and a lengthy deliberation with his staff, Tyler Hines, Game Entertainment Manager for the Caps, announced the 29 finalists.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Hines added sincerely with new coach Michelle Dee nodding in agreement. “If you didn’t make it this year, please try again next year. I hope you had fun and we all want to thank you for coming out today.”
A mandatory practice for all finalists will be held on Wednesday, July 23. The final audition will be held on Saturday, July 26 at the Verizon Center. At that time, the final selection will be made and the 2014-2015 Red Rocker sprit squad will be announced.