Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Local girl hits the big time

Pearl resident Brittnay Thornton Evans had danced and cheered all of her life.

Growing up she was member off a group called the Showstoppers. She was a Pearl Pirate cheerleader, beginning in junior high and continued through high school. She studied ballet, jazz and danced as a member of the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Company.

So when she graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she danced as a Rebellette, she wasn't ready to stop.

"I wanted to follow my dream and pursue my passion for dance," Evans said.
With the encouragement of her family, friends and fellow Rebellettes, Evans decided to try-out for a spot with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Evans had been a Cowboys fan from birth, she even has a picture from Halloween when she was young in a Dallas cheerleader uniform.

She was one of about 1,000 who decided to try-out. With the odds already stacked against her, Evans had a setback. She had to start the try-outs with a knee injury.

"The hardest part was going into the audition process with a knee injury, knowing I wouldn't be performing to my very best ability," Evans said. "Thoughts and prayers from family and friends definitely helped get me through it."

In her toughest times, Evans often found strength in her faith.

"I have always been strong in my faith, but going through a process like this taught me even more to totally rely on God for everything and every need," Evans said.

Even with the injury, Evans made it through the first round. From there the potential cheerleaders were narrowed down to 150 girls.

Evans again made the cut, down to 88 girls, and had to perform a solo routine and compete against the veteran Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

In total Evans progressed through four different try-outs, often spending weeks away from her family and her husband.

"My family was here with me for the weekends off auditions but after making it to training camp, I didn't even have time to drive back to Mississippi," Evans said. "I stayed in Dallas with my one suitcase and was fortunate to have a family to stay with whom I consider my Texas family."

The time away was worth it in the end though as Evans earned a spot as a Cowboys cheerleader, a member of Show Group.

"I feel so blessed, happy and grateful," Evans said. "This process was definitely the most challenging experience I've ever been through, but also the most rewarding."
Along with being on one of the most well known cheerleading squads in the nation, Evans has also made a new set of friends.

"The staff and all of the girls are just so amazing and I have enjoyed getting to know them and spend time with them," Evans said. "I am so excited to cheer on the Cowboys this season and dance with these girls who already seem like my sisters and family."