A group of candidates poses for a photo. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Preliminary Raiderette Auditions, presented by Bud Light, concluded Sunday afternoon with the announcement of the finalists who will compete against returning Raiderettes Sunday, April 17, for a spot on the 2011 edition of the squad.
Raiders.com had the opportunity to speak with several candidates, rookies and returning former Raiderettes, as 2011 preliminary Raiderette Auditions, presented by Bud Light, progressed throughout the day at the Hilton – Oakland Airport.
Erin:I've auditioned for this team several times before and I just wanted to give it another try. I love this team, I admire it, and I wanted to come back and give it another shot.
It feels good honestly. It's something that is part of the process. I'm meeting some new people and they're really nice and encouraging. So far I'm having a good time. You never know what's going to happen, but I'm happy I'm here.
Elizabeth:I'm absolutely elated, I'm really excited. Today, everyone was into helping each other. I'm excited to start dancing with all the girls and get this whole thing going.
I think the Raiderettes are an amazing role model in the Oakland community in a city that needs role models. I think the whole Raider organization is a great organization to be part of and I'm just excited to be here.
I feel like it was really pivotal to be at the prep class. Aside from meeting the veteran Raiderettes and getting their insight to everything, it was just great to get up and start dancing again and see how the choreographers and the directors run everything. It was a lot of fun.
There's very high anxiety and I feel high anticipation. I hear little clips of everyone's conversation and it's all the same thing, 'I'm so nervous, I'm so excited.' Everybody is beautiful and very excited so it's a really great energy in there.
Andrea:I can't believe I actually made it [to finals]. Hopefully, I can make the [team], so we'll see. It was very nerve wracking, a lot of waiting around. It was so nice meeting all of the girls, they were so friendly.
I'd love to be a Raiderette because I've been doing cheer and dance my entire life and I've always wanted to be a professional cheerleader and the Raiderettes are so classy and I love how they incorporate charity work.
I have some butterflies but I'm excited. This is such a great experience for me.
Ally:It's hard to describe. Being part of the Raider Nation has been something that I've always cherished and to be able to embody that and cheer with the all the girls, my friends, and come back is something I couldn't pass up.
There are so many memories. I'd say my favorite memories of course are game day and the charities I had the ability to do. One of my favorite charities I got to do was at the end of the season when they had open house at the facility and everybody got to pose with the Vince Lombardi trophies. That was amazing. Every game day is unique. I'd say one of my favorite game days was in the '07 season when we beat the Cleveland Browns in the last minute by kicking a field goal.
It's nerve wracking. It's a long day. Your stomach is churning all day long because coming back as a veteran, you know all the experiences and what you have to lose, so it's all that more nerve wracking because your sisters are in there and you want to be with your family.
Shanika:I just really miss the camaraderie of the girls. I miss being on the field and of course, having the funs scream for us. That was always the part you look forward to being a Raiderette so I'm back.
It's never really the same every year. But I think across the board, they look for poise and they look for the whole package. They look for somebody that has a lot going for them. Someone who can articulate well and somebody that will be a great representation of the team.
I wouldn't say it's nerve wracking as of yet, but if I make it back to finals and I have the dance on my mind, It'll probably be a little nerve wracking. Being able to see my sisters from previous years and being able to reunite with them, it's just really exciting and we're having a great time.
Sarah:I've come back this year because I've truly missed the team and there's such a camaraderie and a sisterhood between everyone on the team and I feel like we grow so much as individuals while on the team and it's an amazing experience that I would love to be a part of again.
I think that experience helps you but it's a pretty even field and you have to make sure you represent the squad well too because with that experience you should maintain a certain sort of look that the other girls don't have, I guess. It's not really an advantage but it's knowing how to prepare for it because you've been through the process before.
Christina:I would like to be a Raiderette because I feel like it is an amazing experience overall. Performing in front of the crowd, being an advocate for the Raiderettes and having all those little girls look up to you and wanting to become Raiderette in the long run. I like it a lot.
I think they're looking for confidence. Not necessarily, the best dancer, but someone who can present themselves great overall to the crowd.
It's really cool to see all the pretty girls. It's not nerve wracking actually. You'd think it would be waiting in line but it's not really.
I teach dance at an elementary school to first through third grade kids and I've been dancing for 13 years.
Melissa:I had a lot of fun. I'm really excited because I have actually tried out before and didn't make it to finals. I think I'm definitely going to start hitting the gym and watching my diet, and just practice the dance non-stop, over and over every chance I get just so I'm totally prepared.
I would love to be a Raiderette because I love doing community service and I love how involved in the community the Raiderettes are and I'm a huge sports fan so it just combines my all time favorite things.
It's actually really exciting. I've already made like five new friends so I'm really nervous but still really excited and having fun talking to everyone.
I think they want someone who is very confident, poised and very mature and is just the epitome of a Raiderette.