Red Rocker Auditions 2015! Day 1

By
Posted July 20, 2015

Photos by Bruce Andrew Peters. Check out his site at www.GreatWriteUp.com and his Facebook page facebook.com/BruceAndrewPeters.

The Verizon Center was full of excitement Sunday as dozens of energetic, enthusiastic young ladies came out to audition to be a Red Rocker on Sunday. Most fans think the Red Rockers are simply the Washington Capitals’ cheerleaders, but that is only partially correct. Certainly, they encourage fans to cheer on the team during home games; however, there is so much more to being a Red Rocker. It is an elite spirit squad. The team members act as ambassadors in the arena and throughout the community all year long. They represent the Washington Capitals organization, and that is why self-presentation, a positive attitude, and attention to detail are all crucial to being a team member, as is being a big Caps fan.

Slide9“My boyfriend is a huge Caps fan and I go to the games with him,” said Mary C. from Annapolis, Md. participating in her first Red Rocker audition.  “When I first saw the Red Rockers, I thought it looked like fun. The girls seem to have a sisterly bond that I had when I was on a dance team, and I miss that.”

Sarena H., from Chantilly, Va., came out to audition for the second time.  “I love the Caps so much and I love to perform.  I made it to the finals last year and wanted to try again.  I’m also exited that T.J. Oshie is playing for the Caps now.”

The audition began with greetings by Game Entertainment Manager, Tyler Hines.  Game Entertainment Coordinator, Connor Leipold, took over the mic and introduced the judges and all the people playing a part in the day’s activities.

After the participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves, Kevin Giambi (Mascot Coordinator) lead the participants in a variety of team building games and activities planned to display physical fitness, camaraderie and team work.  DJ Jarrod Wronski, owner of Metro DC DJs, was also on hand, for the fourth year in a row, to provide music and audio support for the event.

Returning this year as the squad’s coach and choreographer, Michelle Dee taught the participants a dance combination designed to showcase their physicality and coordination. The girls had the opportunity to repeatedly practice the dance in groups prior to performing for the judges.  She spoke about her expectations for this year.

“The stakes get higher each year,” said Coach Dee, who spent three years as a Red Rocker before becoming the coach last season.  “We are looking for people that exude friendliness and are approachable.  We are looking for collegiality.  How they interact with each other will show us how they will interact with the fans.”

Being a Red Rocker is a paid position with the Caps – it’s a job. It takes hard work and dedication. For most Red Rockers, it is their second job.  A lawyer, a pastor, several teachers, nurses, nannies and college students were among the group this year.  Just because someone is chosen one year doesn’t mean they are automatically on the team the next year. So, what drives someone to audition year after year?

Prior to accepting her current position as in-game host at Caps’ home games, Erin Magee was a Red Rocker for two years.   “I just couldn’t say goodbye.  The fans, honestly, I got to know them and they knew me.  They convinced me to try out again.”

Red Rocker Becca is auditioning for her fourth year on the squad.  “You meet a lot of great fans and they become like your family.  It’s a great experience.”

Day 1 ended with the field of Red Rocker hopefuls being narrowed down to 34 final participants. Tyler Hines, with Coach Dee by his side, announced the finalists. Through smiles and tears, the girls congratulated those chosen with the others being encouraged to try out again next year. The finals will be held on August 1 at the VIDA Fitness Verizon Center location with two practices being held in the meantime.

Photos by Bruce Andrew Peters. Check out his site at www.GreatWriteUp.com and his Facebook page facebook.com/BruceAndrewPeters.

Click to enlarge: