Over 200 girls with matching hair bows, skirts and eyeliner —along with a couple of daring boys—filled the University Center Ballroom Jan. 19 for the Inaugural Garden City Glam Jam, one of the largest competitive cheerleading competitions in Montana.
A quasi-sporting event featuring cute kids prancing and posing to the music of Shania Twain, Britney Spears, and Lil Wayne, the Glam Jam attracted dozens of school and club squads from across the state.
Babes as young as five years old tumbled, flipped, clapped and yelled their way through their carefully synchronized routines. But the actual cheers could only occasionally be discerned, due to the pounding rap music anchoring the rhythm of the motivational messages.
Judges sat just feet away, critiquing every last flop, fall and mistake. Nobody was on trial, but everyone had something to prove.
One girl stood quietly in the corner, going through her routine with slight hand movements and counting rhythms. You probably couldn’t interrupt her even if you told her Hannah Montana was in the house.
The room was packed with parents, siblings and friends of the cheerleaders. Proud mothers, sporting ‘Cheer Mom’ sweatshirts, bragged about their daughters to other parents. Of the few fathers and sons who came, many could be found one floor below, playing Xbox in the UC Gameroom.
Hungry cheerleaders and spectators overwhelmed the smoothie and coffee bar, Jus Chill’n, forming a line that extended almost out the door. One girl asked two gray-haired men queued up behind her if they had come for the Glam Jam. Receiving two puzzled looks in response, she expressed frustration.
She didn’t get why so few people know or care about cheerleading in Montana, exclaiming, “If we were in California, this would be like the biggest deal ever.”
There were several winners of multiple divisions, too many to list, but the smiles on the faces of the winners and the disappointment of those who fell short summed up the spirit of the event: Bring it on.