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Raiderettes Historical Timeline

Raiderettes - Historical Timeline

For sixty years, Football's Fabulous Females have been the premiere cheerleading team in the National Football League, celebrating women, tradition and sisterhood. To honor 60 years of Raiderettes, we pay tribute to those who pioneered our program from origin to now.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 1960's

The 1960s – At Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, national champion baton twirler, Diane Shelton, in full pirate regalia, performed as a majorette for the Raiders band in the first-ever preseason game against the Dallas Texans. Diane's father later coined the name "Raiderettes", which is now the most famous professional cheerleading group in the NFL. From a single dancer, the Raiderettes evolved into a group which, in their earliest years, was composed of high school cheerleaders, majorettes, pom pom girls, and dancers. These girls were the basis of the Raiderettes throughout the 60s, emblazoned with a black R on their sweaters, and entertaining home crowds, as the Oakland Raiders established themselves within the Bay Area sports market and the National Football League.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 1970's

The 1970s – The Raiderettes became increasingly popular as their now 16-member squad wore black sweater dresses with script "Raiders" across the chest, complete with white pom poms. Auditions were held at the Oakland Auditorium Theater, and an 18-member squad was selected by a formal panel of six judges for the first time. White go-go boots were introduced as part of the uniform replacing black ones, and a billowy white blouse was added and worn under a silver sequined vest. On January 9, 1977, The Raiderettes performed in Super Bowl XI between the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Al LoCasale began oversight of the Raiderettes. Uniforms were revamped, designed by John Brandt, featuring a silver sequined vest, silver cummerbund belt, and ornate stitching added to collar and sleeves. Former Raiderette Wanetta Horton became Assistant Choreographer. As the decade progressed, the Raiderettes squad grew to a 36-member team, new uniforms, designed by John Brandt, were unveiled, and the Raiderette signature medallion was introduced. Additionally, KRON-TV aired The 1978 Raiderettes Football's Fabulous Females, a 30-minute television documentary on August 26. The Raiderettes were named Most Professional of All NFL Cheerleader Units by network television directors.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 1980's

The 1980s – The Raiders began the 1980s with a victory in Super Bowl XV. Millions of viewers not only watched the Silver and Black defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10 in New Orleans, but got to see the Raiderettes provide sideline support as well as entertain the throngs. Popularity for the Raiderettes in the new decade was bolstered by the organization's success as a 42-member squad was selected. Wanetta Horton served as Head Choreographer, while Kristie Machado and Rose Vasquez became Assistant Choreographers. Shirley Bowington later became Director as the Raiderettes made their debut at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum following the organization's relocation to Southern California in 1982. For the first time ever, Raiders fans were able to vote for Raiderette of the Year, which was awarded to both Lisa Kolby and Rhonda McAlister. In 1984, The Raiderettes performed at Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa Bay, Florida, as the Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9 on January 22. Tryouts for the following season were held at the Los Angeles Hyatt Hotel, and more than 600 potential candidates vied to become members of Football's Fabulous Females. Mary Weber was named Head Choreographer, with Janet Bowen and Lisa Kolby serving as Assistant Choreographers for a 45-member squad. The Raiderettes continued to gain popularity, noting record-breaking applicants at auditions. Mary Barnes became Director in 1987.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 1990's

The 1990s – Michelle Budano was named Raiderette of the Year, becoming the first cheerleader to represent the Raiders at the Pro Bowl. The Raiders returned to Oakland and members of the Raiderettes traveled to Northern California to perform during the games while the team transitioned back to the Bay Area. The NFL brought Ramona Braganza and Mandy Ahkoi to the NFL European League to oversee their cheerleading groups for the Scottish Claymores, London Monarchs and Barcelona Dragons. In 1998, the First Annual Junior Raiderettes program debuted, featuring children ages 6-14 dancing alongside their Raiderettes counterparts. The Junior Raiderettes practiced and performed with the Raiderettes during gametime, each wearing their very own official Junior Raiderette uniform including pom poms.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 2000's

The 2000s – The Raiderettes held their 4th Annual Junior Raiderette program where Lisa Ray and Wendy Barman shared the magic of the Raiderettes with their daughters, practicing, performing and sharing the field with them. In 2003, for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marcus Allen became the first player ever to invite cheerleaders, bringing in 22 Raiderettes to be a part of the celebration proving the Raiders to be one big family. Karen Kovac became Raiderette Director, three groups of Raiderettes traveled to Japan and Korea to visit U.S. service men and women, and the Raiderette Swimsuit Calendar was unveiled at a gala celebration at the Willie Mays Skybox Lounge in Emeryville, California. Former Raiderette Patty Herrera, Director of Multicultural Initiatives for the Raiders, and Raiderettes Ashlee Marks, Ashley Ramirez, Emily Compagno and Erica Kofoed, traveled to China to assist with the NFL's 2008 season with the continued efforts to introduce American football to China.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 2010's

The 2010s – The Raiderettes performed on CBS morning show Good Day Sacramento to promote auditions. Sasha Hao, Marcy Chun, Kara Ricks, and Morgan Locke visited Mexico City to join the media tour promoting international NFL games. In 2011, five Raiderettes visited Iraq on a goodwill Military tour. Ashlee Marks, Meena Shams, Cole Martin, Emily Campagnio, Tiphanie McNiff performed on bases, read letters from home to boost morale for soldiers. The ladies performed at the Tochito Flag Football Championship halftime, met with the Mayor of Mexico City, conducted on-camera interviews with ESPN, and appeared on Despierta on Televisa, reaching 35 million viewers. Introduction of The Original Raiderettes (aka The OGs), circa 1961, premiered to thousands of fans at the NFL Fan Zone and NFL Experience during Super Bowl 50. In 2017, The Raiderettes greeted guests, signed autographs, posed for photos with VIP guests, and helped dig at the groundbreaking event at the Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas on November 13.

Raiderettes Historical Timeline - The 2020's

The 2020s – The Raiderettes participated in Nevada reading week, visiting classrooms and reading books to the children. The Raiders, Raiders Alumni, and Raiderettes partner with CCSD and the Girls Football Association to host the 4A State High School Girls Flag Football Championship in Las Vegas. For the first time ever, Raiderettes conduct auditions virtually with over 1,300 registrants and announce the inaugural Las Vegas Raiderettes 32-member squad on June 28. Eight Raiderettes visit military bases throughout Europe. Audrey, Jekailah, Kristina, Lisa, Maddie, Meghan, Monet, Taylor spent two weeks touring Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Spain to spread cheer to our American troops stationed overseas.