Friday, September 19, 2014

2008 Bills Away Game Parties part 1-revisited

It's long been a custom of local sports bars to recruit the local NFL team's cheerleaders to appear during the team's away games. In 2008, the Jills took that one step further as they appeared at Away Game parties with James from 103.3 The Edge, one of their primary sponsors, at Rhino's Pub in Orchard Park, just minutes from the stadium.
I've always been more at ease watching away games from home myself as it's a lot cheaper with fewer distraction but I decided to check it out for 2008, only missing the one party that happened the day after the Fundraiser and Lisa's birthday party. Showing up, I wasn't sure what to expect but when I got there, they had a board set up for people to sign up for football squares. Prizes would be won after each quarter and the game and it was all for free. I grabbed a seat at the bar and started talking with a few of the regulars, one of whom used to work security at the stadium. They didn't seem that sure of whether or not to believe my status with the Jills until Ali and Brandi, two rookie Ambassadors on the squad that season, showed up and were thrilled to see me.
Ali and Brandi at the 1st Rhino's away game party
Brandi and Ali with James from The Edge
You can see all the pics from the Bills-Jags Away Game Party at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/7884
I wasn't able to make it to the next Away Game party as Lisa's birthday party that followed the Fundraiser kept me out pretty late and I still wish I had made it as it turned out to be one of Kelly's last ever appearances as a Jill. The following week, she took ill and under doctor's orders, she had to back off her responsibilities as the Jills Ambassador captain. As it turned out, she had been signed up to appear at Rhino's that following week as well leaving Omarlla on her own. However, as I've stated on this site many times over the years, there was a girl on the squad who went above and beyond for her squadmates on a regular basis. In 2008, Keisha showed that aspect of her personality more than ever, including showing up at Rhino's to watch the game with the fans and with Omarlla. Fans were especially impressed with Omarlla, who was in her 9th year on the squad at the time. They couldn't believe how much time she had put in when you consider how poorly pro cheerleaders are compensated.
Omarlla
Keisha and Omarlla cheering on a TD by the Bills
See all the pics from the Bills-Cardinals Away Game Party at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/8176
From the Bandettes comes a pic from the 2nd home game against the Philadelphia Wings, a team that will begin playing their home games in Connecticut in December. Prior to the game, I was able to visit with both lines as they were sporting Valentine's Day-themed shirts. Shown posing for the camera are Amanda, Kelsey, Janelle, LB, MaKenzie, Chelsea, and Cheri from LB's line.
Amanda, Kelsey, Janelle, LB, MaKenzie, Chelsea, and Cheri

Friday, September 12, 2014

2008 Buffalo Jills Fundraiser-revisited

In the spring of 2008, the Jills held their 1st pizza and beer blast fundraiser at SoHo to raise money for their annual Calendar trip. While the event was a huge success, the one drawback was that a significant portion of the 2007 squad wasn't in attendance since many had already chosen not to return in 2008. A change was made with the 2008 squad, holding the Fundraiser in September and as it turned out, the event was an even bigger success than the one in the spring. My favorite part of that was not only that more of the Jills were there, but I didn't have to miss any part of a Bandits game to attend! lol
I arrived early to help set up and it wasn't long before the Jills started arriving with pizzas and wings for the parties from various pizza places in Buffalo. The funniest part for me was when Shana arrived with a box from one certain local place. At the Taste of Buffalo, she had warned me off trying the pizza from this place and when she showed up with a box from there, I had to question her. She hated the pizza from there but loved the wings, which is what she brought.
Jennifer and Lisa
Jessica K (2006) on hand to support her sister Jenica
The 2 Canadians on the squad, Sarah and Anna
Rita and Shana
Kristin M, Rita, and Dana
Danielle, Murissa, and Ashley
Lisa, Anna, Ali, and Katherine out front to greet fans as they arrive
Val, Jess, and Eileen
Liz and Ali, who are still best of friends 6 years later
Kelli, Vincenza, and Anna
One of the funnier moments of the evening came with Jess and Stefanie.There were times, over the years, that Stefanie got caught on camera so focused on the game that she wasn't smiling all that much, something that got brought up in practices on occasion. She and Jess were, and still are, pretty close friends and the three of us were talking about that smiling issue when Jess had a brainstorm for a photo. They decided to pose back to back with a serious face. Jess is rarely without a smile and Stefanie couldn't keep a straight face for the camera.
Jess and Stefanie

You can see all the pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/8050
The evening didn't actually end with the Fundraiser for a lot of us. Early in the evening, Lisa made a special request to join her and some of her squadmates for her birthday party across the street at Bayou after she found out that my own birthday had just passed a few days beforehand. Since I knew that Jills alum Jessica D (2006-07), who I was good friends with at the time, was working over there and had already planned to swing by to say hi, I took Lisa up on her offer. We had a little VIP area set up at Bayou and were joined by about a dozen of the Jills, some boyfriends, and even a few alumnae. While there, we not only saw Jessica but Kristen M (2006) who was working there at the time and Lisa and I bought each other shots before the bulk of us went back over to SoHo to finish out the evening. Possibly the most amusing part of the evening was when the SoHo DJ played "Break The Ice" by Britney Spears. Seeing as how that was the song they tried out to in 2008, a number of the girls on the squad started going through the tryout routine only to be completely thrown off when the song didn't follow along with the version that they tried out to. When putting together tryout music, Kelli puts together remixes that can be very different from the original song. Now, I can't share the photos that were taken at the birthday celebration since those are just for Lisa and her guests but I had to share that story. The girls on the Jills in 2008 had a lot of fun together but at the same time, didn't get carried away enough to embarass themselves. There were even a few of the girls who didn't drink so as to ensure the safety of the whole group.
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the 2nd home game against the Toronto Rock. Shown posing for the camera at halftime is the full squad showing off their "Braver Than Brave" t-shirts. The saying is in reference to Tucker Williams, the son of Bandits F Shawn Williams, who was diagnosed with Stage III Burkitt Lymphoma in January and started fighting it with the backing of the entire NLL and its fans.
Bandettes showing off their Braver Than Brave t-shirts

Friday, September 5, 2014

2008 Buffalo Jills Golf Tournament-revisited

In 2008, the Jills once again held their annual Golf Tournament at Fox Valley Country Club in Lancaster, NY. With a 48-girl squad, there was no shortage of girls to handle all the duties that were needed. As was typical with these tournaments, family members were a big part of the group attending, including, but not limited to, Lisa's father. It was only the 1st time I met Lisa's dad, who is a true gentleman. After that, I saw him at other golf tournaments, some games, and even sat next to him and his wife in Toronto in 2010 after I got a ticket in the Jills section.
Lisa and her dad
I always looked forward to the Golf Tourney and even took vacation days for it once I knew the date because it was the 1st public event where the entire squad (or the majority of it at least) was together after having gotten to bond over months of practices. The way it was set up, I was able to talk to a lot of the girls that I wouldn't at games.
rookies Ashley (now a captain with the TopCats) and Dana
A staple of the golf tournaments has been the auctioning off of some of the Jills as caddies and filling that role in 2008 was a quartet of Ambassadors, Amanda F, Katherine, Danielle, and Laura.
Amanda F, Katherine, Danielle, and Laura
Before the tournament started, golfers grabbed lunch, signed up for different games, and posed for photos with some of the Jills, who also were more than happy to grab photos with squadmates they bonded with over the summer.
rookies Alecia and Kristin M
One pairing of Jills was particularly significant. 2nd year vet Angelina was the shortest girl on the squad at 5' tall and was especially excited when rookie dancer Amelina joined the squad at 4'11". The two bonded over their lack of height and proved that great things can come in small packages as what they lacked in height, they more than made up for in energy while performing.
Angelina and Amelina
Before long, it was time to hit the links and my 1st stop was to visit with Lisa and Rita. Lisa and I always got along great, and she proved how much she valued me later in the season. But that day, she decided to have a little fun with me when I visited them and gave me a nickname of her own because she didn't like the one I had.
Lynn, Rita, and Lisa just as they were heading out to the course
As I got started leaving for another hole, one of the club's staff came by and dropped off a spare golf cart for me to use. I wasn't against walking the course but the cart was a big help! It gave me the ability to make more visits, which translated to more photos and allowed me to help the girls get back to the clubhouse at the end of their shifts if need be. I made a few visits with different pairings over the next few hours with some memorable conversations, like the one I had with Amelina and Stephanie Br about social media. Lynn had an early shift that day and after she finished up her shift at the one hole with Murissa, she decided to hang with me for a little bit as well as visit with a few friends who were on the course.
Stephanie Br, Amelina, and Lynn
Lynn with her pals
With the caddy auctions that happened every year, sometimes the girls ended up with a friend or family member. In 2008, Amanda F and Danielle went to the same foursome, with two of the golfers being people they knew pretty well.
Holly and Kristin B pose for a photo with Danielle, Amanda F, and their group.
Laura giving golf a shot
Sarah teeing off
Over the years, we were generally pretty lucky in regards to weather. We had warm and sunny weather without it being unbearably hot each year. Towards the end of the day in 2008 however, we had a small cloudburst. It certainly wasn't as bad as any of the rainfall that Western NY has experienced over the summer of 2014 but it did startle us a bit. At the time, I was visiting with rookies Kristin B and Holly and when it started, Holly immediately jumped into my golf cart while Kristin and I were under the shade of some trees. It only lasted a few minutes and  it wasn't long until the tourney wrapped up afterwards.
Upon completion of the tournament itself, Holly and Kristin rode back to the clubhouse with me where more of the girls were waiting to cover the dinner shift. I hadn't seen a lot of these ladies since the Congratulatory Party so they were more than happy to pose for lots of pictures while the golfers arrived back to the clubhouse to sit down for dinner.
Jenica and Val

Sarah, Alecia, Jenica, Dr Amanda, and Holly
During dinner, the Jills put on a 3-part dance performance that kept the golfers' eyes glued to the dance floor. Luckily, it was early in the meal so the food didn't get cold! Unfortunately, with the big bay windows behind the dancers, lighting didn't work out as well for the video as I would've liked.

The photo taking extended into dinner as I hung back with the girls to grab photos of them handing out raffle prizes.
Jill R and Jenica
Christina and Jennifer
Val, Alecia, and Jenica
You can see all the pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/7502
From the Bandettes comes a photo taken in the 2nd quarter of the 2nd home game against the Toronto Rock. Shown dancing up a storm are Amanda and Kelsey. 3rd year vet Amanda started her Bandettes career as an ambassador while Kelsey, who just finished her 2nd year, spent the 2014 season in the running for NLL Girl of The Year!
Amanda and Kelsey


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Some updates from around the NFL-GCC, TopCats, and Falcons Cheerleaders

Just like anyone else, NFL Cheerleaders sometimes move to other areas on the country and some even take up pom-poms for new teams. In the case of the Jills, there are 3 such young ladies who've served on the sidelines at the Ralph over the past few years.
First up is Natalie (2010-11) who served on the Gotham City Cheerleaders Ref Squad for a part of the 2013 season and landed the January 2014 spot in their annual calendar. This season, that squad is having their calendar release party next Saturday, September 6th at Bar Anticipation 703 16th Ave Lake Como, NJ from 4-7pm. The Gotham City Cheerleaders are one of 3 unofficial cheerleading squads in the NFL and focus their efforts on cheering on the NY Giants with appearances around the NYC area and dance performances outside Met Life Stadium.
You can get tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-2015-gotham-city-cheerleaders-calendar-premiere-party-tickets-12603161395 and learn more about the Gotham City Cheerleaders at https://www.facebook.com/gothamcitycheerleaders


Ashley in action
Ashley W spent the 2008 season and a portion of 2009 with the Jills and moved down to North Carolina within a few years. It wasn't long before the desire to get back on the sidelines prompted her to tryout for and make the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleaders. Now in her 3rd season on the squad, she's now a captain as well as an enterpreneur working to motivate and coach people towards their fitness goal. Follow the TopCats on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PanthersTopCats and support Ashley at http://bodicode.com/index.html
Lindsey on the sidelines at the Georgia Dome
Last, but not least, we come to Lindsey C. She spent the 2010-2012 seasons with the Jills, ending her career on the sidelines of the Ralph in September of 2013. She's spent a lot of time down south with family over the years and found a job down there and her time away from the sidelines was, thankfully, short-lived as she joined up with the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders this season. The Falcons Cheerleaders each have their own social media accounts for the fans to root on their favorites. You can find Lindsey at https://www.facebook.com/falconslindsey , https://twitter.com/AFC_Lindsey and at http://instagram.com/afc_lindsey

Friday, August 29, 2014

2008 Taste of Buffalo and the Erie County Fair-revisited

This week, we take a look back at 2 appearances some of the Jills were a part of over the summer of 2008. The Taste of Buffalo is an annual event taking place over the 2nd weekend of July right in downtown Buffalo. The largest food festival east of the Mississippi is always busy and, for several years, featured appearances by members of the Buffalo Jills. Normally, they'd be stationed at the 97Rock, 103.3 The Edge, and Buffalo Bills booths but when I made it there on the Saturday of the event in 2008, they were focused on the 97Rock booth in front of City Hall with a few girls walking around the festival.
I generally tried to time my visits to the Taste about midway through the shifts that the girls had but arrived a little later than normal in 2008. When I got there, rookie dancer Shana was winding down the first shift of a double-shift day for her at the Taste. I talked to her for a little bit, with her warning me off one of the food items I had planned to check out. Even though she's originally from the Oakland, CA area, she had been living in Buffalo for a while and had tried out different pizza places for her cram sessions while studying for her college exams.
Shana next to the 97Rock van
It wasn't long before we were joined by Liz and Kristin M, who had been walking around the festival a bit, greeting the fans. There was still time left before their shift was done and they posed for some pics with some fans before being relieved by Amanda F.
Liz and Kristin M by the 97Rock van
It was kind of shocking for me to see Amanda at this event only because the Taste had typically been an appearance that rookies handled. In her 2nd year on the squad, Amanda volunteered for the Taste since she knew what to expect and she needed to get some more appearances in before the season. Something that's not typically known to the public is that in addition to practices and gamedays, appearances are a big part of what's expected of a Jill and everyone does need to get a minumum number in, with the number higher for Ambassadors than for dancers.
After Amanda showed and Liz and Kristin left, they spent some time with fans by the 97Rock van, posing for pictures and handing out Bills schedules. After a while, and after I got back from sampling some food at the festival, I joined the girls on a walk-around of the festival. Typically when I've joined Jills at appearances and they've walked around the event they're appearing at, I'd walk along nearby, not so close that it prevents any fans from approaching but close enough that I'm readily available to snap a photo or to help them out if they have any issues. It's rare that there are any issues but on this day, there were definitely some photo ops on our walk around.
Amanda F and Shana with a fan
See all the pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/12448
The summer of 2008, when I went to camp, there weren't any Jills onhand as the Bills hadn't requested them. The calendar also wasn't yet available as they started  getting finished from the printers later each year starting in 2008. Before then, they were almost always available at the start of camp. For most, getting the calendar may be no big deal...they get it when they get it. For me, though, getting it before the start of September was a big deal so I could set up the Jill of The Week schedule.
Dr Amanda, Jill R, and Liz
The Eric County Fair is a pretty big deal in WNY and even had the moniker of  "America's Fair" for a few years. Myself, I'm not a huge fair fan with the huge crowds. In addition, it's more a family type destination than for single guys such as myself. However, members of the Jills occasionally put in appearances at the Fair and that was my best chance to see some of my girls and get a calendar, which finally became available just prior to the start of the fair. I knew about where the girls would be, at the 97Rock bus but I was still in for a sight when I got there. They had gone up to the roof to enjoy the hot weather the way any beautiful girl would, with some sunbathing.  The girls said hi when I got there and the guy from 97Rock taking care of things handed me a calendar while we talked for a bit while the girls got set to come back down.
Besides the calendar featuring 48 of  the area's most beautiful young women (the largest squad in many years), the calendar was hot for another reason. 2nd year vet Vincenza was the covergirl and at the risk of appearing to play favorites in any way, I thought this was the hottest Jills calendar cover of all of them.
Posing with Liz, Jill, and Amanda
You can see all the pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/8933
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the 2nd game hosting the Toronto Rock, the Jr Bandettes game.  Sometimes, there's a few girls who I have a hard  time getting on camera while others make it on camera frequently based on where they dance during the game. This is a case where everyone can be happy about someone getting lots of camera time because who doesn't love seeing a smile as bright as Cheri's?
Cheri smiling for the camera during the 2nd quarter