Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Living Her Dream 

Posted by Sasha at 12:56 PM ET

By Ashley Walker
Emporia Gazette
November 29, 2008

Barista. Dance instructor. President of her sorority. Full-time undergraduate student. And now ... NFL cheerleader. ESU senior Katie Beyer is busy.

But then again, she knew what she was in for last March when she tried out to be a Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader: the chance to do what she loves.

“Dance has always been my passion,” she said. From the time she was 2 1/2 years old, Beyer has been dancing. “It’s always been my thing.”

As a child, her parents would drive her up from her hometown of LeRoy to take dance lessons at Kari’s Dance Academy in Emporia. She continued to excel at the academy and eventually competed on the Starfire Dance Team.

So when it was time to look for a college to attend after graduating from Southern Coffey County High School in 2004, Emporia State seemed like the natural choice.

As a health promotion major, she continued to pursue her passion for dance by being on the ESU Stingers team and teaching dance lessons at Kari’s. But it wasn’t until the spring of her junior year that she decided to take another step in her dancing career — to audition for the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader squad.

With the support and encouragement from family and friends, Beyer traveled up to Kansas City to audition against 200 other hopefuls for a spot on the squad. After a month of intense competition and scrutiny of her dancing abilities, fitness level, presentation skills, even her talent at designing a cheer uniform, Beyer was picked to be one of 36 Chief’s cheerleaders.

“It was intense,” she said, comparing auditions to the popular CMT series, “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Making the Team.” “The auditions are to find girls who would best fit the team for the year.”

The squad has been a good fit for Beyer. “It has been really busy,” she said. “But worth it. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t enjoy dancing and hanging out with the girls. I get to do what I love to do.”

But doing what she loves to do demands a lot of work, too. She is required to attend three, three hour practices a week in Kansas City, which means lots of mileage on the road each week. It’s that time, on the road, though, she uses to connect with friends and family — on her cell phone.

On top of the ten home games the girls are required to cheer at, they also do special appearances, perform a holiday show and instruct the junior chiefs cheer clinic. And then there are her responsibilities in Emporia. Beyer works approximately 15 hours a week at the Java Cat, teaches dance four hours a week at Kari’s Dance Academy, is taking 13 hours at ESU and is the president of her sorority, Chi Omega.

She has to be organized to get it all done. “I do have a detailed planner,” she said. “And if it’s not in there it doesn’t get done.”

One of the most memorable parts of her first season as Chief’s Cheerleader was her first game. “I was overwhelmed at first,” she said, speaking of the number of fans who filled the stadium.

And on signing autographs for the first time, she said, “I probably didn’t say as many “thank you’s” as I should have.”

The rookie cheerleader is not sure what her career plans are when she graduates next May, but one thing she does plan on doing is auditioning again next spring for another year with the Chiefs. Beyer has two more home games of the season, Dec. 14 and 21.

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