Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel-review

This past week, HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel focused a story on the wave of cheerleader lawsuits in the NFL, especially with Lacy T of the Raiderettes and Alyssa U and Maria of the Jills. Andrea Kremer talked with Lacy in Oakland as well as with Alyssa, Maria, and Jills director Stephanie Mateczun.
The segment started off with a talk with Lacy, who loved performing and sports and wound up cheering in college and for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA before joining up with the Oakland Raiderettes. Once she made the squad, she felt she was on top of the world at first. After a while, her feelings changed.
Andrea then talked to Alyssa and Maria, each of whom went into debt to pay for their uniforms and other squad-related expenses. Alyssa even used her student loan money to pay for her uniform. They described the jiggle test to Andrea and even put on a demonstration of it, relating how they felt when doing it in front of their peers and squad management.

Despite the financial issues, they did it for the love of cheering and stuck it out to honor the commitments they made when making the squad. The Buffalo Men's Show was brought up, during which some members of the squad participated in a bikini fashion show. It turns out that some of the girls were groped while doing that and were quite frightened by the experience. According to the legal complaint, more groping happened at the Calendar Release Party held at Turning Stone Casino last fall.
One thing brought up was how much your typical NFL Mascot makes, upwards of $35K. In the most popular and wealthy sports league on Earth, there's plenty of money to go around, a lot more of which could go to the cheerleaders when you consider all the work they put in in support of the teams in the areas of entertainment and public relations.
Andrea Kremer didn't stop with the plaintiffs as, even though the teams involved in these lawsuits refused to speak with her on the matter, Jills director Stephanie Mateczun was willing to be interviewed. In it, she talked about how her company, Stejon Productions, was run, a company formed after she successfully lobbied Entercom Communications to let her form to control the squad. She also related how anyone not happy with how things are done on the squad could leave at any time, which some have done over the years. Of course any money spent by the girls on uniforms and the like has always been non-refundable.

Finishing up, Bryant and Andrea touched on what the NFL wants to do this season, allowing fans to request cheerleaders come visit them in their seats, something that could, IMO, cause some serious problems safety-wise for the girls.
When it comes to the Jills lawsuit, Alyssa and Maria stated their ultimate goal is to form a union, by which cheerleaders could work together to ensure fair treatment and compensation. Most squads are under direct control of the teams they represent and that number is growing. The Gold Rush Cheerleaders are outsourced to a private company like the Jills have been, but the 49ers organization plans to change that while other NFL teams, like the Vikings, are working to improve the compensation they pay the girls in their organizations.
The fact of the matter is, the Buffalo Jills once had a union, back in the mid-1990's but when they were looking for a new sponsor, the only way Salvatore's Italian Gardens would take them on was if they dropped the union.

Personally, I've been staying neutral on the whole suit. I wasn't working closely with the squad in 2012 and 2013 when most of the allegations took place and even while Citadel radio and Cumulus media had control of the squad and I was more involved,  I stayed out of the in-depth stuff and just did what I could to support the squad, including the girls on the squad through photography, blogging, and watching out for their safety when I could.
Regarding the "jiggle test," which Stephanie Mateczun admits to running, it's apparently a new thing as Jills alum Stephanie B (2007-09), in an interview on WHAM-TV in April, said it was something that she never did. While it's definitely important that the girls have to be in shape to perform on the field, one has to wonder why the change in procedure, especially if the new procedure was uncomfortable for the girls. If the old way they determined field-readiness was working to everyone's satisfaction, it seems unnecessary to change it.
As for the groping allegations, I know that I never saw any while I photographed those bikini fashion shows at the Men's Show and at Calendar Release parties over the years. That being said, I was never able to see everything that was going on as I was trying to get photos taken. I know in the past, when Calendar Release Parties were held from 2005-2009 in Buffalo, there was at least some security keeping an eye on things like that. I'm not sure what happened when they held that Calendar Release Party in the Syracuse area in 2013  however. If anyone was misbehaving and groping anyone, they should've been escorted out immediately. At Club New York, at the 2007 Calendar Release party, I think I can guarantee that the owner would've thrown anyone out caught pulling any of that. The worst thing I saw was in 2008 when a photographer from a local website took some photos he shouldn't have. I didn't even see that until the next day when I was working on photos. The following year, I ensured that didn't happen again by making sure I was where he had been and he was elsewhere, ensuring every photo I took was one that the girls approved of.
Finally, I think the whole idea of "ordering cheerleaders" to your seats is dangerous to say the least. Bringing them into the stands around a whole bunch of drunks puts their safety at risk, even if they do have security with them. After the Jills swimsuit calendars debuted in 2000, members of the squad were out in the lots before games selling them but after a few years, that practice was put at an end for safety reasons. As it is many squads have Ambassadors who aren't on the field during the game but instead, visiting suites. Suites are generally a little bit more under control than the stands with security on hand. Putting the girls in the stands could backfire with more lawsuits filed by cheerleaders or with complaints from other fans trying to watch the game but disrupted from doing so.
I think Real Sports did a great job showing both sides of the issue but I also feel a lot more could've been talked about. Alyssa and Maria recently did an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine that will be featured in the September, 2014 issue, which hits newsstands in mid-August and I imagine it will be more in-depth.

Note:the majority of the video I included in this article did not appear on the show itself but was put up on the HBO Sports YouTube page as an add-on to the TV segment.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The 2007 Buffalo Jills Softball game and Taste of Buffalo-revisited

For a few years, the Taste of Niagara was held at Lockport's Outwater Park on Father's Day weekend and featured a softball game involving the Buffalo Jills. At first, the Jills faced off against Durf's Dollies, a group of firefighters from the Terry's Corners Volunteer Fire Department dressed in drag. The final year of the Jills softball game was a bit different, however, as members of the WNY Challengers Sports League competed against one another with the Jills acting as buddies during the game. Autumn and Rachel were the lone vets representing the Jills along with 8 rookie Jills who all made a great impression on the players and fans in attendance.
Autumn, Rachael, and Lisa with one of the players
Group shot!
Vincenza running with her buddy along the base path
At the end of it all, everyone there had a fun time and there were even a few friendships formed. Some of the Jills had specific buddies to help out throughout the game. Stacy, a rookie with the Jills, was one of those who helped out a little boy in a wheelchair throughout the day and built a good friendship with him. When Stacy returned to the squad in 2010, she told me she was still in touch with him, emailing back and forth with him often.
Stacy with her buddy
The Jills with some of the Challengers Sports League players
One of the players just loved Vincenza and Kaitlin
You can see all the pics at
For several years, the Taste of Buffalo, the largest 2-day food festival in the United States, featured members of the Buffalo Jills, usually rookies, making appearances during the weekend. They were generally stationed at the booths run by Citadel Radio stations 97Rock and 103.3 The Edge as well as with the Bills. They posed for photos, greeted fans, and handed out Bills schedules in addition to helping out with games. I usually went on the Saturday for these things but I had a friend performing with a local band on Sunday so I went then instead, stopping briefly to get a few pics of the Jills on hand.
Joy at 97Rock booth
Ayeshia and Stacy with Billy Buffalo at the Bills booth
Keisha at the 103.3 The Edge Booth to help with games
See all the pics at
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. Before the game, the girls greeted fans coming up the escalators to the 100 level for the game. L.B.'s line was on the east end of the escalators and posed for this photo during a lull in the crowd. Shown posing are Kelsey, Janelle, LB, Amanda, and Chelsea.
Kelsey, Janelle, LB, Amanda, and Chelsea

Monday, June 23, 2014

Program note: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to talk about the Jills lawsuit

As we all know, there is pending litigation between 5 Jills alumnae and, among others, Stejon Productions, the management company that took over control of the Jills in 2012. There are similar suits across the NFL with the Jills the only squad whose 2014 activities were shut down. HBO's Real Sports is taking a look at the story in their newest episode which premieres tomorrow night at 10pm ET. In addition to talking to Lacy T from the Raiderettes lawsuit, Andrea Kremer will be talking with both sides of the Jills lawsuit. Alyssa and Maria, the spokespeople of the group, spent the 2012 season with the Jills after years of dreaming about  joining the squad. They both chose not to return to the squad in 2013 due to financial reasons and the way they felt they and others were treated. Also speaking on Real Sports will be Stejon president Stephanie Mateczun. A former Jill herself, she got named director following  the 2001 season while working for Citadel Radio, since taken over by Cumulus Media. In 2012, after the Bills Radio Network rights (and control of the Jills) were lost by Cumulus, Ms Matcezun lobbied Entercom Communications, which took over the Bills Radio Network and the Jills, to let her take full control. HBO Sports has released a preview of the segment on their YouTube feed .

Also coming up is an article in Cosmopolitan Magazine in the September 2014 issue. How indepth the article will be, I don't know. But I do know, from the senior photo editor who contacted me on Friday, that the article will feature an interview with Alyssa and Maria.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The 2007 Buffalo Jills Congratulatory Party-revisited

In 2007, the Buffalo Jills held their annual Congratulatory Party at the Lafayette Tap Room on Washington Street, currently the home of the Pan American Grill and Brewery. I had already learned shortly after tryouts finished how they went.  After getting the squad photo, I even found out that 2004-05 vet Melissa had returned to the 2007 squad after a season off. Also, even though Jessica K had chosen not to return, there was still a pair of twin sisters for the 2007 season in the forms of Jill and Joy, a pair of fraternal twins who joined that season. I had chosen not to attend 1st cuts that year because one, I wanted the girls focused totally on what they had to do to make the squad and two, I saw firsthand how rough it could be to miss the cut. As anyone who knows me can attest, I'm a softie when it comes to the cheerleaders I cover and genuinely care about them. Seeing them upset isn't easy and, when you consider that I see very few of them after they leave the squad, the last thing I want is to see them upset the last time I see them. I did see some videos taken of tryouts, some by 97Rock's DJ Jickster and there was even an interview in one video I saw in which one prospective rookie talked about how confident she was. Her words proved prophetic as she not only made the squad in 2007, but made the Pro Bowl her 2nd year on the squad. Her name was Jess L.
As I pulled into the parking garage, I saw 3rd year vet Rachael heading out of the garage and wound up getting to the bar just moments after her. Shortly after getting inside, Kelly H, the 6th year vet who was the captain of the Ambassador Squad, got right to work introducing some of the rookies.
Kelly and Lisa
Katherine, Kelly, and Amanda F
Lisa, Kaitlin, Jess, Katherine, Amanda F, Rachael, Katie C, Vincenza, and friend
In addition to the 2007 squad being there, minus a few girls who had an appearance elsewhere, 2003-04 Jills alum Kelly Ann put in an appearance as did Bills special teams ace Josh Stamer.
Kelly Ann and Eileen
Michelle with Josh Stamer
During the party, some of the Jills performed for those of us in attendance. Some of them even brought their boyfriends on stage for the performance.
Eileen, Jamie, and Emily perform

Valerie and Kaitlin B

You can see all the pics at
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. On occasion, both lines would be out for the 2nd half or portions of it. In this photo taken in the 3rd quarter, we see Amanda, Cheri, Danielle, and Kelsey performing to the music while the game was going on.
Amanda, Cheri, Danielle, and Kelsey

Friday, June 13, 2014

2007 Buffalo Jills tryouts and Sabres Alumni game-revisited

With the end of the 2013-14 Buffalo Jill of The Week series, we take a look back at photos from Jills events/appearances from the past. Obviously with no Jills season in 2014, we'll keep this series going through the football season, only stopping for the 2015 Bandettes season who, as things stand now, will get our full focus during the season. Last summer, we covered the 2005 and 2006 Jills seasons so we'll start off this series with the 2007 Buffalo Jills.
We start off with a look back at the 2007 Buffalo Jills Open Workshop, held at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center. This workshop was different than most as Jills Choreographer Kelli Wagner was unavailable to teach the tryout routine. The reason for this is because she was accompanying 8 of the 2006-07 Buffalo Jills on a troop visit tour in Iraq and Kuwait, the only NFL Cheerleading squad to make that trip. Joining Kelli on that trip were Eileen, Jamie, Natale, Katie, Autumn, Emily, Stefanie, and Jenica. Before leaving for Iraq, Kelli had gone over the routine with Aimee and Omarlla, the two captains not making the trip overseas.
Jills in Iraq
Aimee and Omarlla teaching the routine

Jessica Z, Kaitlin B, and Valerie returning for a 2nd season together
Before and after the girls learned the routines, I grabbed a few photos. A pair of alumnae made an appearance and there were a number of girls there trying out who, though they didn't make the squad in 2007, returned to make it in future years like Ruby (2009-12), Amelina (2008) and Holly (2008). There were also a lot of girls who tried out that year that, after not making it, never tried again and that's truly a shame because they may have made the squad in a later year and even gone on to have a remarkable career like Lisa did, who only just retired after making the 2007 squad...after missing the cut in 2006.
Ruby (2009-12) and Dominica (2005)

Melissa returning  after a season off reconnecting with Kaitlin and Brianne
See all the pics at
Katie K about to drop the puck with Rob Ray and Katherine looking on
On the 1st of April, after the 2007 squad was selected, a pair of Jills made an appearance in Jamestown, NY at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena where a Sabres Alumni game was held for charity. Rob Ray and Darryl Shannon were among the Sabres alums who took the ice and former Bills kicker Steve Christie was on hand to drop the puck for the opening faceoff. Representing the Jills were 3rd year vet Katie K and rookie Katherine K. Katherine, of course, had her greatest fame after leaving the squad when she and her new husband participated in The Amazing Race in a season that aired just over a year ago. After coming in 2nd, there's still a hope they could one day participate in an  All-Stars version since they got a lot of interest from fans of the show. This day was long before that Race as well as long before she and Max met. I showed up before the girls did since the arena is only about a mile from my place and checked on things so everything went smoothly for them. When they got there, the two Katie's greeted fans and posed for photos with fans and mascots before dropping the puck for the 2nd period of the game. As things wound down, I got set to head home when Katie asked me how to get out of Jamestown to head back to Buffalo. Katie descibed herself as "goofy" in her bios during her time  on the Jills and the only time I ever saw it was when she asked me if I was sure, even though she knew I lived in Jamestown, as if I would steer her wrong.
Katie and Katherine with Jamestown Jammers mascot J.J. Jammer
See all the pics at
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. During the 2nd quarter, members of L.B.'s line posed for a photo during a stoppage in play. Shown posing from left to right are Janelle, MaKenzie, Jessica, L.B, Cheri, Chelsea, Amanda, and Kelsey.
Janelle, MaKenzie, Jessica, L.B, Cheri, Chelsea, Amanda, and Kelsey

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Buffalo Jills lawsuit to be featured on Real Sports

HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is about to tackle an issue that hits close to home as their June 24th episode will take a look at the lawsuit between 5 Jills alumnae and Stejon Productions. Andrea Kramer will be handling the story and will be talking with Alyssa and Maria as well as Stejon Productions president Stephanie Mateczun.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Buffalo Jill of The Week Ashley C

We finish up the 2013-14 Buffalo Jill of The Week series with Swimsuit Calendar Covergirl Ashley C. A captain in her 2nd season with the Ambassador squad, she was to be one of only 2 of the 2013 captains to return to the 2014 squad. Over the last two years, she's actually gotten to be pretty good friends with that other captain, longtime BuffaloProCheer favorite Melissa M, formerly of the Bandettes before switching over to the Jills. Ashley is currently in law school after getting her B.S. in legal studies a year ago with hopes to practice law in Buffalo, possibly in corporate law. We know she looks fantastic in uniform but I have a feeling she'll be rocking the powersuit look as well. I also have a feeling she's going to try as hard as she can to stay in Buffalo for a variety of reasons. She loves the seasons and snowboarding as well as the beach and who can forget the sports teams and fans. Another big thing for her is the food as she loves Buffalo-style chicken whether it's in wings, salad, or dip. Considering it's hard to find anyplace outside of Western NY that can put together chicken, hot sauce, and blue cheese the right way, she might have a rough time of it living elsewhere! lol You can see all of Ashley's pics at Ashley's secondary photo comes from the game against Miami in December when the girls were dressed as Santa's helpers. Shown coming off the field just before the half are Gabrielle, waving to the fans, and Ashley.
Gabrielle and Ashley

From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January home game against the Toronto Rock. Prior to the game, most of the squad was greeting fans as they come up the escalators to the 100 level. Shown posing for a photo are members of Kirsten's line with Danielle, Chrissy, Brianna, Kirsten, Mandy, and Lauren K from left to right.
Danielle, Chrissy, Brianna, Kirsten, Mandy, and Lauren K

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Queen City Roller Girls Championship coming up!

Here at the Buffalo Pro Cheer Blog, we try to support former pro cheerleaders from Buffalo in whatever public endeavour they are into. Some of the ladies throw themselves into some pretty intense stuff like the Blondes Vs Brunettes. Several Buffalo Jills alumnae have joined the BvB over the years and 8-year Jills alum Jenn C (1997-2004) is currently a co-chair of that organization. One of those alumnae, Tammy S, who spent 1994, 95, and 2002 with the Jills as well as the past 4 years with the BvB, is also heavily involved with the Queen City Roller Girls as a member of the Suicidal Saucies.
The Queen City Roller Girls is an 8-team women's roller derby league based in Western NY that is skater-owned and operated. It is continuously committed to the reviving and redefining of the classic sport of roller derby, with a 21st century twist. It's built a strong following and holds bouts at the Rainbow Rink on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. Next season, they'll be moving downtown to the Buffalo RiverWorks Event Center. You can learn more about the Queen City Roller Girls at
This Saturday night though, is the championship bout for the Roller Girls season, matching  up Tammy's Suicidal Saucies and the Nickel City Knockouts. Tickets are $20 and $15 with the bout set to start at 6:30pm.

Monday, June 2, 2014

NFL Cheerleader Alumni Reunion Set for August in Atlanta

The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Reunion is August 1-2, 2014 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Buckhead. Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni are excited and honored to host the 2014 National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Reunion. Former NFL Cheerleaders from across the nation will converge in Atlanta for an action packed weekend. Come Party with the Alumni Cheerleaders at the Buckhead Havana Club Friday evening. Other activities include lunch at Lucky’s and a Gala Dinner and Program Saturday evening at the hotel. “I am extremely excited for the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Reunion to be held in Atlanta. We have a fantastic weekend planned” stated Mickey Crawford-Carnegie, Director of the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni and Co-founder of the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO).