Rookie of the Year - Michelle, Raiderette of the Year - Kelly, Dancer of the Year - Natalie. Photo by Tony Gonzales
The 2012 Raiderette awards were presented during halftime of the Raiders final home game December 16. The Raiderette of the Year Award was presented to Kelly, the Dancer of the Year to Natalie, and Rookie of the Year to Michelle.
Kelly was surprised when her name was called. "Complete and utter shock," said Kelly. "I didn't believe that they called my name. I just kind of stood there for a little bit until I realized people were looking at me and yes, they did call my name."
The third-year Raiderette is honored to be representing the Raiders at the 2013 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. "It's a complete honor to know that my sisters voted for me and wanted me to represent them at the 2013 Pro Bowl," said Kelly. "There are so many amazing women on our team that almost anyone is qualified and would do a great job representing us. There are so many people that are deserving of the title and of the award so I feel truly touched and honored that my teammates chose to me to represent them."
Raiderette Natalie, who was named Raiderette of the Year in 2011, is excited for her teammate. "It's really exciting to see somebody go through the emotion of winning Raiderette of the Year and realizing they're going to go to Pro Bowl and go to Hawaii next month," said Natalie. "I've spoken with Kelly a little bit here and there and I know I want to get together with her and just kind of make her confident with what she's about to do and take on. It's a challenge and so I'm happy that I can be here as a support and guidance for her. It's exciting to just watch someone else go through the excitement and honor of it."
After speaking with Natalie, as well as Anna who represented the Raiders last year in Hawaii, Kelly is looking forward to the upcoming experience. "I'm most looking forward to meeting all the other girls that are coming from other teams," said Kelly. "I hear so much from Anna and Natalie who were both Pro Bowl cheerleaders before in the past about how quick you make such strong friendships and how amazing all the other women are, that they are just really good people. Of course I'm really excited about the game and being able to represent the Raiders is just so amazing in itself. There's nothing that I'm not looking forward to, to be honest."
This season, Natalie was chosen by the director and choreographers as Dancer of the Year. The five-year Raiderette veteran was excited to hear her name. "When I heard my name I was very excited," said Natalie. "I give my all in each and every practice and to be recognized by my choreographers and director, it's an honor and I'm excited."
Michelle was voted by her teammates to receive the Rookie of the Year award. "It just honestly means the world to me to have my sisters think that I'm worthy of Rookie of the Year," said Michelle. "I already look up to them and think that they're so wonderful and the fact that they think I am good enough really means a lot to me."
Kelly was thrilled that Natalie and Michelle earned the other Raiderette awards. [Michelle is] an amazing person so I'm so happy she got Rookie of the Year and beyond happy Natalie got Dancer of the Year," said Kelly. "Natalie is amazing in every single aspect of the Raiderettes and both girls are completely deserving of those titles and I'm very happy about that."
All three Raiderettes have had a season they will remember. "This whole season has been very enlightening for me because I've learned so much from my director and choreographers and my sisters," said Michelle. "It's made me a better person, dancer and cheerleader. It's been one great, big learning experience that I'm going to take a lot from and will never ever forget it."
Natalie has enjoyed her season because of the great friendships she's created. "This season has been a full circle and I'm in a position where I've made so many friends so it's like going to work with all your friends," said Natalie. "There are a lot of new people to try to get to know, it was just such a great team spirit this year. Everyone worked so well together, liked it each other genuinely and just had a great time every time we were at practice together. It was so much fun just being with your friends the entire season."
Kelly's third year with Football's Fabulous Females has been her favorite so far. "This season was by far my favorite season," said Kelly. "I was given the leadership role as being a captain and it was just so amazing this year. This was my favorite year because the girls on our team are such strong dancers and it's a strong dance team this year. My line, I'm part of Line 3, everyone in Line 3 has just been so supportive and really it's been a camaraderie so it's made it such a fun year. Every game we have such a blast together. It's been an amazing year."
Kelly will travel to Hawaii to participate in the 2013 Pro Bowl festivities, which will take place Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium.