Wednesday, October 03, 2007
By Melanie Conklin
Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin State Journal
The last time I saw Kelly Jo Stauffacher was two years ago. She was the reigning Miss Madison, attending a MAGNET anniversary party and working a day job at Inacom as a marketing manager.
Now she's living in Dallas, still working in the technology field, although she's with AT&T. And her new side job gets far more attention.
In August, she officially donned the famous blue-and-white uniform of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
In college at UW, Stauffacher, a Madison native, was on the Badgers dance team. But before Cowboys tryouts the 26-year-old hadn't danced much since graduating in 2002.
After a company she'd been working for in Charleston, S.C., was sold last year, Stauffacher returned to Madison and was staying with her parents between jobs when she saw a TV show called Making the Team, about the Cowboys cheerleaders.
"I just fell in love with the idea," Stauffacher says. "Once I saw the show, I thought, I 'm not done dancing!'"
After April's cheerleader auditions, she made the initial cut for training camp, which she says was difficult.
"We had to learn the jump split, which is something
I 'd never done before, but it is the signature Cowboy thing, " she says.
"What I was unprepared for, however, was the level of expectation. There 's no room for mistakes, no room for excuses. It wasn't a typical rehearsal. It was always an evaluation."
Asked if she gets recognized around Dallas when she's out of uniform, Stauffacher says it is happening more frequently and the reaction is generally one of awe, something else she 's still adjusting to.
"The mystic, the tradition -- it is so big here in Texas," says Stauffacher. "It's one of pure respect.
"At my local Starbucks I get free coffee, which is good because I like my lattes "
It also means Stauffacher has to "keep up appearances at all times when I 'm out in public."
Stauffacher credits her mother, Karen Stauffacher, who recently retired as assistant dean of the UW School of Business, as her role model.
"My mom takes the bull by the horns," she says. "She taught me well."
While even veteran Cowboys cheerleaders have to re-audition every year, Stauffacher hopes to remain on the squad, which she describes as close-knit, for "many seasons into the future."
You can see Stauffacher on this year's version of the show that attracted her to Dallas. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders -- Making of the Team 2 airs at 8pm (CT) Fridays on CMT.