Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Raiderettes Around Town 

Posted by Sasha at 8:01 PM ET

Many thanks to Dave for this update on the Oakland Raiderettes and the awesome photos he sent along with it!

Typically on Saturdays during the NFL season, the Raiderettes are scheduled throughout the Bay Area for appearances in conjunction with sales of their popular calendar. As my pilgrimage to visit Oakland for the Raiders-Browns game neared, I noticed that there were no scheduled appearances for the Raiderettes the Saturday before the game. Apparently, the complexities of international trade had held up the shipment of the calendars, but luckily these issues were resolved and they arrived the previous Friday night. Three Raiderette appearances were added to the raiders.com calendar Friday, and I was able to take some photos at these events.

The first was Saturday at the Raider Image store in the vicinity of the Oakland Airport. Raider fans were in full game day garb, players were available for autographs, and Irecel and Nicole J. were available for autographs. Lots of fans came out to check out the store, buy their Raiders gear, and finally check out the new Raiderette calendar.

Simultaneously, a second appearance was occurring up north in Concord’s Raider Image, and included Jovann and Kathleen. When told I would submit the photos to the cheerleader blog, they immediately responded that they check the blog out all the time to check out the latest happenings, and particularly noted that they appreciated that no other site concentrated on pro cheerleading in this way. It is a credit to James’ and Sasha’s hard work that cheerleaders appreciate, respect, and most importantly, are able to gain needed info from the blog.

Jovann and Kathleen were really great answering my questions about the next day’s (game day!) schedule of events, they showed kindness and patience with all kinds of fans, from the small to the tall, and exemplified the best of pro cheerleading. Kathleen even saw me from the field in the 4th quarter the next day and would pause following routines so I could snap away. THANKS KATHLEEN!!

The third appearance was back at the Oakland Raider Image store directly following the Raiders' dramatic victory. What a long day it must have been for Jennifer N and Kristen, from the early morning practices to the post game appearance. But they greeted the happy fans in the late afternoon sunlight that finally emerged as if a symbol that the Raiders were no longer winless.

Though headed to McAfee Colisseum to photograph the Raiderettes on the sidelines, I was pleasantly surprised to see other pro cheerleaders, both current and alumni, before the gates even opened.

First, Warrior Girls Jaclyn and Jessica were seen leaving the adjacent Oracle Arena, home for the Warriors, and going to the suite level entrance of the Raiders home for pre-game appearances.

Also, signing autographs to support the Chivas USA soccer team were Chiva Girls (www.chivagirls.com) dance team members Kortney and Lauren, who appeared along with 2006 MLS rookie of the year Jonathan Bornstein. The Chiva Girls signed autographs, enjoyed interacting with the little ones, and posed for photos with fans.

The Browns-Raiders game was the “Fiesta Latina 2007” celebration, so I noticed the important role of former Raiderette Patty Herrera, who is now a member of the Raiders organization in the multi-cultural initiatives group, who was coordinating activities prior to the game. She was kind enough to pause for a photo before she zipped her golf cart off for more pre-game preparation.

Speaking of former Raiderettes, Jeanette Thompson was still working hard along the sidelines, but now in her role as Raiders.com correspondent.

Also, outside the stadium, Raiderette Erica A. is featured in the advertisements for Coors Light’s sponsorship, which are posted all around the stadium. In fact, throughout the Bay Area, prominent billboards feature Erica.

I think the high esteem that Raiders fans have for the Raiderettes and their importance as a “brand attribute” of the Raiders outside of the Bay Area is exemplified by both the use of Raiderettes in high profile advertising, and that the organization taps the alumni members of the squad for other roles.