The Making of a Red Rocker: Day 1

Posted July 29, 2013

All photos by Bruce Andrew Peters for Capitals Outsider.

Ever dreamed of being a cheerleader for a major league sports team?

Auditioning for anything can be an exciting, yet daunting, experience. Just ask the 90 beautiful, talented ladies that came out Saturday to try out to be a member of the Red Rockers, the Washington Capitals cheerleaders. The Red Rockers represent the Caps at home games, charity appearances and other events within the Washington D.C. community. It is a part time, paid position, and most team members have full time employment or are in college in addition to their work for the Caps.

What does it take to be a member of this elite team? Michael Wurman, Director of Network Production and Game Content for Monumental Sports and Entertainment explained, “Poise, a positive attitude and attention to detail are all essential to being a team member. Red Rockers are not cheerleaders in the traditional sense. They are ladies with excellent interpersonal skills. They need to be able to engage and interact with the fans, and be ambassadors for the Caps.”

Applicants need to be 18 years of age or older, complete an online application, and present a resume and headshot to be considered. There is no specific height or weight requirement, but an athletic appearance is a must. Dance and cheer experience is not mandatory as applicants are assessed on their enthusiasm and ability to learn and perform simple routines. Being able to ice skate is not required and is not tested, but is considered a plus.

With the auditions scheduled to start at 10:00 am, Red Rocker hopefuls began to arrive at the Verizon Center when the doors opened for registration at nine o’clock. They were dressed in form fitting, athletic attire, most baring their midriff as suggested on the Caps web site, and wearing tennis shoes. And with sparkling smiles, perfect hair and makeup, there was no question that they were serious and ready to perform to grab a spot on the prestigious team.

Erin M. has been a Red Rocker for the past two years. A 2013 graduate of the University of Maryland and recently securing her first teaching position, Erin found the experience so rewarding that she decided to try out for another year. “We have to register and try out like everyone else,” said Erin. “We have to do everything the new applicants have to do.”

Day 1 consisted of the ladies getting to know each other. The applicants played some games and did some drills just to relax and get acquainted. They were assessed on their enthusiasm and willingness to work as a team during a personal interview.  They also learned a short dance routine that they would perform if they made the cut. At the end of the day, only thirty of the original ninety applicants were asked to return for Day 2.

Read more about Erin M. from our interview earlier this year.

All photos and video by Bruce Andrew Peters for Caps Outsider. See his website and see more photos on his Facebook page.

Also see what happened on Day 2.

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