Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bandette Day Party announced!

The evening after the 2011-12 Bandits Open Practice, the Bandettes held a meet-and-greet at Cobblestone in which fans could not only meet the squad, but win raffle prizes to help the Bandettes organization.
That event is back this season with the party happening in the afternoon. The 2016-17 Bandits Open Practice hasn't been announced just yet but we expect info on that soon. The event goes from noon to 3 on December 10 at Cobblestone just a short walk away from the arena. Tickets are $15 apiece and include 2 drink tickets.
Get all the info at

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bandits schedule released!

Today, the National Lacrosse League released their 2017 regular season schedule so we now know when we'll be able to see the Buffalo Bandits, and Bandettes, in action at the newly renamed KeyBank Center. All but 1 of the 9 home games will have the typical 7:30pm start with the March 3rd game against Rochester facing off at 7pm, the day before the teams meet again in Rochester's Blue Cross Arena at 1pm.

  • Fri.    Dec. 30    vs. Colorado    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    Jan. 14    vs. Georgia    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    Jan. 21     vs. Vancouver    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    Jan. 28    at New England    7:00 p.m.
  • Fri.    Feb. 3    at Toronto    7:30 p.m.
  • Fri.    Feb. 17    vs. New England     7:30 p.m.
  • Sun.    Feb. 19    at New England    1:00 p.m.
  • Sat.    Feb. 25    vs. Toronto    7:30 p.m.
  • Fri.    March 3    vs. Rochester    7:00 p.m.
  • Sat.    March 4    at Rochester    1:00 p.m.
  • Fri.    March 17    at Vancouver    10:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    March 25    at Rochester    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    April 1    vs. Saskatchewan    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    April 8    at Calgary    9:00 p.m.
  • Fri.    April 14    at Toronto    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    April 15    at Georgia    7:05 p.m.
  • Sat.    April 22    vs. Georgia    7:30 p.m.
  • Sat.    April 29    vs. Toronto    7:30 p.m.

Regarding the Bandettes, they already held one audition workshop last night at KeyBank Center and are holding another one Thursday night at 6:30 in the Lexus Club. Tryouts themselves are next week!

As far as the coverage of the Bandettes that we've provided for the last 11 seasons resuming after what happened with an obnoxious security guard at the end of last season, that's still up in the air. This site is for the fans as well as for the ladies who make up Buffalo's Pro Cheerleading/Dance squads but if someone has it in for the fans and the Bandettes that much, there's not much we can do. We're hopeful that things can be resolved because it would be a shame if the 2017 squad gets deprived of the same treatment past squads have gotten because of some classless person.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bandettes tryouts announced!

The only current official pro dance squad in Buffalo has just announced tryout dates and their audition prep class dates.
First up is the optional audition prep class. This year, there will be two of them and interested dancers can take either one or both if they want. The first will be Monday, September 19 while the second will be held on Thursday, September 22. The extra date will not only enable those young ladies an extra opportunity to try it out in case their schedules won't allow them to on one of the days, but will also enable some extra prep in helping them to make the 2017 Buffalo Bandettes squad. Both classes start at 6:30pm and cost $25 each to attend. If you choose to attend both, the cost is only $40. Classes take place at the Lexus Club in the First Niagara Center. Please wear comfortable dance clothes and sneakers for these classes.

The tryout dates this year will be September 28th and 29th at 6:30pm and also will take place in the Lexus Club. A $25 registration fee is required. The 1st night, you will be taught a routine to perform on the 2nd night. Routines are typically about a minute long and if you make the squad, you'll perform it in front of the fans at games a few different times during the 2017 Buffalo Bandits season.
The first night, when you will learn the routine, please wear comfortable dance clothes and sneakers.
The 2nd night, you'll need a business casual outfit for an interview and sports bra, dance shorts, tan tights, and sneakers. Full hair and makeup is also a requirement for the 2nd night so look your best! As a professional dance team member, a high school diploma is required and the age requirement is 18 years old. Also, you'll be asked to bring a head shot to auditions.

This year, the Bandettes will only take young ladies with a minimum of 3 years of dance experience. However, if you don't meet that requirement and feel you can do well enough without that background, please attend the audition prep classes and let Mandy and Stephanie know you'd like to be considered.
If there are any further questions, email and the coaches will do their best to answer any questions you may have.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cheerleaders reunion bittersweet as reminder that Jills no longer exist

They are now investment advisers and firefighters. Figure skaters and engineers.

But once upon a time, they were NFL cheerleaders.

This weekend, 300 former cheerleaders representing 24 National Football League teams gathered in Buffalo for an all-year reunion.

Hosted by the Buffalo Jills Alumni, the two-day event this weekend included a trip to Niagara Falls, a “Taste of Buffalo” cocktail party and a lot of bling.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Buffalo Jills Alumni Association to showcase Buffalo in upcoming NFL cheerleader reunion weekend

In a few short weeks, cheerleaders from 27 NFL teams will gather in Buffalo for a reunion weekend. The event is scheduled to take place Aug. 5 and 6.

“If you can imagine a sisterhood of girls coming together and feeling like they all have something in common, that’s what it is like,” said Lori Marino, president of the Buffalo Jills Alumni Association. “It’s such an exciting and rewarding event.”

The event Marino is referring to is the third National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization Reunion, which is held every two years. This year it coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Buffalo Jills Alumni Association.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Red Zone Cheerleaders looking for a few more good young women

We know that there are tons of beautiful, talented women right here in Western New York.  We know that WNY women LOVE their BUFFALO BILLS.  We know that you love to where are you?

The BUFFALO JILLS have been missing from the sidelines at the Ralph much too long.  That doesn't mean that everyone has to stop and wait until they return.  Why not keep dancing, interact with other BILLS fans and enjoy the thrill of gameday excitement?

Practices are once a week at Catalyst Fitness on Wehrle Drive in Williamsville.  You are required to be at the Ralph on Gamedays prior to kick off.  The time commitment is geared toward young, professional women.

Where else would you have the opportunity to meet new people, dance, share your excitement with other passionate BILLS fans?

We hope that you will think it over, stop texting & playng Pokemon Go and have some real honest to goodness fun!

What better way can you think of to keep in shape, have fun and touch so many people?  Think about it and give us a try!  You might just like us!  Hope to see you at Catalyst tonight 7:45-10.  If not this week, then next week!  Just email us at or call (716) 679-8114.and let us know to expect you!  GO BILLS!  GO RZC!

As long as the Jills aren't in action, there is a great need for young women to take care of personal appearances and charity events. In 2008, even with 48 girls on the Buffalo Jills, they had trouble filling all the requests so while you won't be able to be on the sidelines this season, you are definitely in high demand. Also, when the Jills do return, girls who have kept practicing and in shape will have a leg up on the competition.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Red Zone Cheerleaders Auditions upcoming and a big Teasers anniversary gig planned

Hey Ladies!!! Love to Cheer? Love to Dance?? Love Football? We want YOU to join our team! Audition for the 2016 RED ZONE CHEERLEADERS! If you have a passion to perform, tailgate with the Buffalo faithful, meet die hard BILLS fans and just have fun RZC is definitely for you! Auditions are being held Wednesday June 15th at Buffalo Envy All Stars. Meet Coach Jen Newell and former Buffalo JILLS Cheerleaders. Call or email for more info! Hope to see you there!

6 years ago, The Teasers, with lead singer Aimee L of the 2003 Buffalo Jills, were formed. They broke up a few years ago but have started having a few reunion gigs here and there. June 18 looks to be their biggest one yet with a 6th Anniversary Bash at Scruples Bar in Newfane.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Special notice-Blog going on indefinite hiatus

In 2001, this site was founded with 1 goal in provide positive exposure to Buffalo's pro cheerleaders, exposure that was sorely lacking prior to that. The very first order of business was to get the approval of the director of the Buffalo Jills. That approval came easily as I had met her the fall before and she understood that her squad would be treated with fairness and class. Over the years, the site evolved to give that same coverage to Buffalo's other professional squads. At first, the coverage was pretty basic and simple...a few photos here and there. In 2005, we expanded greatly and started working closely with the Buffalo Jills organization, providing more coverage and photography while instituting the popular Jill of The Week series, a series started to ensure that each of the hard-working women got a chance to shine on her own. We followed that up by working with the Bandettes in the same way.
In 2012, a new company took control of the Buffalo Jills and they made a lot of rules changes, including restricting fan access. We did our best to continue to provide the best coverage we could under the restrictions but the new way of running the squad eventually sparked a lawsuit and Stejon decided to shut down operations altogether.
The Bandettes, who had originally been put together by the Jills, had long before gone under the control of the Bandits organization and were not affected by Stejon's move. Our coverage of the Bandettes has been going strong for 11 seasons but unforeseen circumstances have put that to a premature end. Two weeks ago, near the end of the last Bandits home game, a security guard I had never seen before came over to me and made some rather nasty and obnoxious accusations about the work I was doing. To be honest, it was rather unnerving. People over the last few weeks have told me to just ignore what he was saying since I had the support of the Bandettes squad and the work I was doing was completely respectful and positive.
Unfortunately, tonight, early in the game, that same security guard was there and was no less obnoxious and even resorted to name-calling towards me and others as well as threats towards me. As much as I want to continue to provide the coverage that thousands of readers have come to expect over the years, I had to leave because I wasn't sure how safe I'd be there. Who was behind this, I can't say for sure, whether it be just this one obnoxious person or whether it goes beyond him as he claimed.
With the Jills still shut down for a 3rd season now and with the unsafe atmosphere at First Niagara Center, there won't be enough content to keep the whole Blog running for the time being. We'll continue to share important updates on our Facebook page at and on Twitter at
When the Jills are reinstated and/or things are straightened out safety-wise at First Niagara Center, we hope to be back up and running with the class and decency this Blog has been known for. This blog is my legacy and I refuse to let someone's lack of integrity destroy that legacy. My only regret is that this issue will deprive the fans, the Bandettes present and future, and their families of the coverage they've come to expect. My apologies to all those this news will disappoint but some things are just beyond my control.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bandette of The Week...the 2016 Buffalo Bandettes

This week, we're taking a look at the 2016 Bandettes squad as a whole. It's not something we normally do but this year's squad has really called for it and let me explain why. Being a cheerleading/dance team coach, especially in the pros, is an incredibly taxing job. It's not as simple as scheduling practices and telling people what to do. There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes like taking appearance requests, coordinating those with the ladies on the squad, coordinating performances and gameday duties with the parent organization, choosing performances, uniforms, and so much more. This season, Erin has stepped back to a part-time advisory role and Mandy and Stephanie have become full-time coaches as well as helping MaKenzie and Janelle in their roles as the actual captains. Making things more difficult was the fact that only 6 of last season's Bandettes returned, with 1 returning alum and a total of 8 brand-new rookies.
The Bandettes in late March
The 2016 squad has been exceptional in my opinion because of how they pulled together.  Stephanie and Mandy jumped into the roles of coaches at tryout time while continuing to perform alongside their squad, Between them, MaKenzie, and Janelle, the two gameday captains, and Jennifer, the appearance captain, they have provided strong leadership and the entire squad has shown the dedication and desire to put together an outstanding product. The Bandettes have long been known for being a close-knit team that is generally resistant to the cliquishness that can pop up on larger squads. They took that a step further this season, I believe. When rookie Sarah found out she was going to be leaving for her dream job out of town, her squadmates made her final month as a Bandette as special as possible. Stephanie even told her they could FaceTime with her during practice after she left if she wanted to see what they were doing or even learn a routine. The way the captains and coaches have kept things going and the whole squad pulled together all season long is something that I know Erin is as proud of as I am impressed by.
Bandettes coaches and gameday captains Mandy, MaKenzie, Janelle, and Stephanie
They had one extra thing to overcome as, for some unknown reason, the Bandits organization didn't update their website in regards to the Bandettes. The girls all submitted bios and the photos were available but the link to the Bandettes page instead went to their Facebook page instead. It could very well have derailed our Bandette of The Week series this season but we had some help making sure it could go on. In addition to her duties as coach and everything she has going on in her private life, Mandy asked questions of her squad to help us put together a great series this year. I know this season's series has been pretty popular and I wish I could take all the credit for that but a lot of the credit should go to the squad for letting us know who they are in a way a generic bio just can't do.

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2012 Buffalo Bills season ticket holder draft party. Some of the players were greeting fans in the locker room and before taking off for the evening, Arthur Moats brought his daughter Kaylor by to meet the Jills. Shown posing with Kaylor are Christina, Lisa, Omarlla, Courteney, Loren, and Emily.
Christina, Lisa, Omarlla, Courteney, Loren, and Emily with Kaylor Moats

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bandette of The Week Stephanie

This week, we finish up our 2016 Bandette of the Week series by taking a look at 5th year vet Stephanie.  After serving as a co-captain last season, the longest-tenured vet on the squad is now not only a captain, but along with fellow captain Mandy, has been a coach for the squad as well ever since tryouts. Being a coach/captain is only the latest accomplishment in a fulfilling career for her after 1st getting named NLL Girl of The Year her rookie season and getting her picture on preseason publications the following year. Her sense of humor is only matched by her sense of responsibility and is a natural leader on the Bandettes with not only her experience but her personality. It's said that a boss stands back and tells you what to do but a leader shows you by example and Steph has been setting a great example to everyone around her for years. She's hardworking always with a smile on her face and treats everyone with warmth and sincerity. One would think someone with her beauty might be unapproachable but she's as easy to talk to as anyone I know. It doesn't matter if she's just met you or she's known you for years, she's still going to be genuine and fun to be around. Stephanie's secondary photo is from the Home Opener against Edmonton. While greeting fans coming into the game, MaKenzie and Stephanie posed for this photo together.
MaKenzie and Stephanie

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2009 Jills Open Workshop. One of the things that the veterans look forward to most is reconnecting with squadmates they hadn't seen in over a month. Posing for this photo shortly after showing up to learn the routine at Fusion are Ayeshia and Valerie.
Ayeshia and Valerie

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Bandettes at Tucker Out Lymphoma Night vs the Rock

After a 6-game win streak came to an end on Friday night with a loss in Toronto, the Bandits returned home to the First Niagara Center Saturday night to a near-capacity crowd hoping to get back to their winning ways. Their opposition was the same Toronto Rock team that beat them 12-9 Friday night. After being held to a single goal in Toronto, league leading scorer Dhane Smith was a man on a mission with 5 goals to add to Ryan Benesch's 8 total points. Toronto's only lead of the night came a few minutes into the game but took over from there and, buoyed by a 6-1 2nd quarter, got revenge on the Rock with a 14-8 win over their rivals from the north.
Saturday's game was a special game as it was the annual Tucker Out Lymphoma night, an annual event to raise funds for the Braver Than Brave Foundation, named in honor of the late Tucker Williams, the son of former Bandits star Shawn Williams who passed away a year and a half ago after a battle with Burkitt lymphoma. To help with the fundraising, the Bandettes were stationed just inside the gates with their annual lacrosse ball sale. A $10 donation got you a boxed lacrosse ball with a surprise autograph on it. Since it was pretty hectic in there with the lacrosse ball sales and the large crowd coming in, I didn't stay long, just long enough to check in with Janelle and Stephanie and to get a few photos and my own Anthony Cosmo-autographed ball. Missing from the game were Angela, still recovering from an injury suffered in field practice last week, and Mandy, out of town for the weekend.
Once things got going, it was Janelle leading a line out to perform in the 1st quarter and to balance things out, appearances captain Jennifer switched over to fill in to put 6 girls on each line and to assist our reigning Bandette of The Week in providing leadership in Mandy's absence.
MaKenzie, Janelle, Stephanie, and Karley

Jackie with some of her fans
kicking up a storm in pregame
The Bandettes debuted a few new looks for the season as they donned throwback jerseys in the 1st half and, in keeping with the warmer weather that Western NY is currently enjoying, tank tops and shorts in the 2nd. As they've done the last few games, they brought out the crowd-favorite spelling routine, performing it at 1st intermission while facing the benches instead of the press box this time. No matter which way they face, it always gets the crowd excited and, as it turned out, it was pretty timely as the officiating in the game had the fans booing as the 1st quarter drew to a close. Thanks to the Bandettes and their performance, the mood in the arena was positive going into the 2nd quarter.
squad photo!!
Stephanie loving the score!!
Making the "S" in BANDITS at 1st intermission
Deanna and Rachel
performing at 3rd intermission

See all the pics at
Next up, the Bandits are on the road next week for their only regular season road game in Rochester before returning home to the First Niagara Center to host the New England Black Wolves in the regular season finale. Currently, the Bandits hold a 1.5 game lead in the East over New England. The teams have split their season series with the home team winning each time. Fan Appreciation Night in Banditland, along with the positive energy and spirit of the Bandettes may prove to be the key in that battle. A single Bandits win over the next two games or a single Black Wolves loss over their next 3 will give Buffalo the regular season division title with only Saskatchewan left to overcome to gain homefield throughout the playoffs.
We're hoping to have the NLL's premier dance team back at full strength for the season finale and the playoff run and prayers are welcomed for Angela's recovery.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bandette of The Week Janelle

This week, we take a look at the gorgeous Janelle as our Buffalo Bandette of The Week. She originally tried out because she wanted to keep her dance career going. She stays for several reasons, the excitement of the games, the thrill of performing in front of the large appreciative crowds in Banditland, and the new friendships she gets to make every season. In her 3rd season on the squad, she takes on the role of co-captain on Mandy's line and it's a well-deserved role even discounting her amount of experience on the squad. She's big on hard work and she's about as low-maintenance as they come so she's able to stay focused on getting the job done. Working in the medical field, that focus will serve her well as no one wants someone unfocused doing MRIs or X-rays on them. Janelle's secondary photo comes from the recent game against the Knighthawks when Tavares' number was retired. The Bandettes were split up in groups of 5 greeting fans coming in and Janelle was part of the group stationed right inside the gates on street level. Shown posing for the camera are MaKenzie, Jessica, Janelle, Karley, and Stephanie.
MaKenzie, Jessica, Janelle, Karley, and Stephanie

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2011 Draft Party. The Jills booth was always a popular one with the fans...and some players who were there. We had visits over the years from Booker Edgerson, Arthur Moats, and, in 2011, Al Bemiller. Shown here are three 2nd year vets in Emily, Amanda V, and Jill E.
Emily, Amanda V, and Jill E

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Bandettes at the Bandits-Knighthawks game

Saturday night, the Buffalo Bandits returned home to face the Rochester Knighthawks in an attempt to not only win their 6th in a row for the 1st time since 2007, but to be the 1st team in the NLL Eastern Division to clinch a playoff spot. The Bandits started off strong and raced out to a 5-1 lead with a natural hat trick from league-leading scorer Dhane Smith before the Knighthawks woke up and tied it up by the end of the half. With a 6-6 tie going into the 2nd half, it was an altogether new game as both teams scored in spurts with Rochester getting the lead a few times. In front of 17,397 fans of both teams, with a few hundred Knighthawks fans in the stands, the Bandits broke a tie late in the 4th to send their Thruway rivals home with a 14-12 final score in favor of the Bandits.
For the Bandettes, they were back in action with a few changes since the last game. Beautiful rookie Sarah is no longer on the team, having left for her dream job the day after the last home game. To balance out the lines, Rachel moved from Mandy's line to Stephanie's but they didn't go with 7 and 7 as expected. Angela got hurt in field practice Saturday afternoon and Deanna wasn't feeling her best so she stuck to an ambassador role for the evening, leaving the lines at 6 and 6. Obviously we hope that both these beautiful young ladies will be fully healthy and back in action at the next game.
new linemates Rachel and Deanna
Karley considers herself a good luck charm for the Bandits' strong season
When I got to the arena, I was greeted by Stephanie's line. Jennifer and Karley were handling game program duties while the rest of the line greeted fans coming in the gates. I didn't get a chance to speak to Stephanie for long as they plenty of fans about but I did talk to Karley a bit. Besides being adorable and enthusiastic, she's a very confident young lady and feels she may have brought some luck to the Bandits this season. She does have an Irish background so maybe there's a touch of leprechaun somewhere?
Mandy's line was upstairs in front of DJ Milk's dance party greeting plenty of fans. One thing I like to do is to get feedback from the ladies on their Bandette of The Week features and both Tirzah and Syidah loved theirs. Always nice to know the work is appreciated.
Amanda and Jackie after a Bandits goal
cheering on a goal in the 4th
We've long made the point that pro cheerleaders/dance teams are primarily about the children and we've seen a few noteworthy interactions all season long with some children on the other side of the Bandettes. Saturday night though, it came from the other side of the aisle as a pair of little girls, possibly about 5-6 years old max apparently have hopes to become Bandettes themselves someday. They made a few visits over in front of me to watch the ladies dance and got some special attention from the gorgeous Janelle. She gave them her pom poms to play with for just a moment and before the 4th quarter ended, they showed her their love by giving her a string of beads, a touching moment that nearly brought a tear to Janelle's eyes right there.
See all the pics at
Next up for Bandits and Bandettes, after the Bandits have a game in Toronto Friday night, they're all back in action next Saturday night at the First Niagara Center against that same Toronto Rock team whose 1st win this season came over the Bandits 2 months ago. It's our hope that not only Angela and Deanna are both back in action next weekend but that the Banditland faithful fill the arena to cheer the Bandits on to another win and of course to cheer on the NLL's premier dance team.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bandette of The Week Syidah

This week, the beautiful Syidah graces our page as our Buffalo Bandette of The Week. Always sporting a gorgeous smile, she's been dancing in acro and jazz since the age of 7 and moved on to ballet and modern dance during her college years. She joined the squad last season after seeing how exciting it was for not only the Bandettes, but the fans as well after watching our videos. Once she got her chance to perform during a game, she loved the excitement even more. She gets to do what she loves out on the field and bond with a great group of teammates on and off the field.
While Syidah is clearly enjoying the present, she's also got big plans for the future with plans to write a novel and to produce a musical. She's also hoping to travel to Thailand to ride an elephant and to Dubai to see the world's tallest building and the world's second-largest shopping mall. It's just a shame that interstellar space travel is so far away or else she'd visit the solar system whose star was named after her. Maybe the citizens of one of the planets in that star's system would worship her for the beauty we see every game.
Syidah's secondary photo is from the game against the Georgia Swarm held back in February, Before the game, the whole squad was near the escalators to the 300 level on the west side of the arena signing their new calendars, Shown smiling for the camera are Jackie, Syidah, and Deanna.
Jackie, Syidah, and Deanna
From the Jills comes a photo from 2008. Within a few weeks after tryouts were completed, the Jills typically held a Congratulatory Party to introduce the new squad to the public. Part of those parties included dance performances with veterans and sometimes rookies. Shown posing for the camera are 4 vets who danced at the 2008 party, Nicole, Eileen, Katie, and Omarlla.
Nicole, Eileen, Katie, and Omarlla

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bandette of The Week Tirzah

This week, the stunning Tirzah graces our page as our Buffao Bandette of The Week. Dancing on Mandy's line on gamedays, she's the final rookie to be featured for this season. Tirzah, whose name means "she is my delight" must have brought a lot of joy to her parents when born and now she brings it to Banditland with her dancing and beauty. She's been dancing most of her life and the chance to join a professional team was a goal of hers. The close-knit family the Bandettes have been known to be over the years made them a perfect choice since she also wanted the chance to make new friends and the friendships she's gotten have exceeded her expectations.  Some may wonder about the choice she made since the Bandettes are the only active pro team in town at the moment but it actually was a bigger choice than most might realize. Tirzah isn't the type to stay tied down thus far in life. She just up and moved to Nashville for a year and did the same with Dallas. Maybe she'll move somewhere else next year...though we obviously hope she stays put for at least a few more years...both in Buffalo and on the Bandettes. Tirzah's secondary photo comes from the Open Practice held back in December. In a photo taken while fans were still coming into the arena, Mandy's line posed for some photos, including this photo of the 4 young women who were new to the squad this season. Posing from left to right are Amanda, Tirzah, Angela, and Rachel.
Amanda, Tirzah, Angela, and Rachel

From the Jills comes a photo from an Open Workshop, an event we should be getting photos from around now if not for Stejon shutting down operations. This photo comes from 2009 and was taken as things were winding down at Fusion Dance Studio. Shown posing for the camera are Kristin M and Angelina.
Kristin M and Angelina

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Bandettes at the Bandits-Stealth Game

Coming off a bye after the win over Rochester 2 weeks ago, it was hard to say if the Bandits would be rusty or rested going into Friday night's game against Vancouver. They won against the Stealth 3 weeks ago at the Langley Events Centre but that was then and the Bandits were without the services of their captain, Billy Dee Smith, for a 2nd straight game due to a nagging injury. Both teams started out struggling on offense and the score remained 3-2 Buffalo until there were less than 5 minutes left in the 1st half. Carrying a 5-2 lead going into the 2nd half, the Bandits picked up the pace with the Stealth finding their scoring touch as well. Thankfully for Buffalo though, Vancouver doesn't have Dhane Smith who, in the midst of a possible record-setting season, poured in 6 goals and 12 overall points as the Bandits sent the Stealth back home losers with a final score of 17-10.
The Bandettes didn't suffer a slow start but they did have 1 noteworthy happening. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for pro cheerleading/dance squads to lose members during the season though it's rather rare with the Bandettes. It is, however, exceedingly rare that a girl will learn several weeks beforehand that they'd have to leave the squad. Sarah, a rookie on the squad this year, got a job offer almost a month ago that she just couldn't turn down. Over the last month, she's been getting prepared to make a big move away from Buffalo but still has been able to continue being a strong contributor to the Buffalo Bandettes squad. Besides being able to continue as a Bandette before leaving, Sarah has gotten something extra. Her squadmates have rallied around her  to ensure that her last month as a Bandette was a special one to show her that although they're happy for her getting a dream job, they'll also miss having her on the squad. This is my 11th season covering the Bandettes and as close-knit as the squad has always been in that time, I have to admit this has been pretty special and awe-inspiring to see.
Jessica and Sarah
The gorgeous MaKenzie, Mandy, and Janelle
When I got to the arena, I was greeted by Rachel and Deanna. Rachel has seemed to grow a lot since the start of the season and Deanna was almost disappointed the game was on a Friday, not for work but because her Bandette of The Week feature went live while she was busy getting ready for the game so she had to wait a little longer to see it. Hopefully she found it to be worth the wait. I headed upstairs next and came across the rest of Stephanie's line at the top of the east bank of escalators and normally, I head directly over to the captains but with it being Sarah's last game, I visited with her and Jessica first. All season long, Jessica has been grabbing squadmates to pose for photos before and during the game so of course she was sure to get some with her pal Sarah. It wasn't very busy on that end of the arena so after we grabbed a few more photos, we all went over to the other end of the escalator bank where Mandy's line was holding court right neat to a dance party run by DJ Milk. The crowd got especially lively when he played "Watch Me," a popular tune these days that gets a lot of play at Bandits games after Dhane Smith scores his goals.
squad posing with a fan
Tirzah checking out the stands
ready to perform
Eventually, it was time for the Bandettes to head down to their locker room and for me to catch up with a buddy and head down to our seats. When the Bandettes came out, they weren't alone as Erin Y was on hand for this game as well. Erin's been a part of Bandits games either as a Bandette or a Bandettes coach for 13 years but work and life have kept her from being able to be around as much this season and even had to miss the Tavares Night game. She wasn't going to miss tonight though as she would've hated missing Sarah's last game.
Deanna and Karley

A month and a half ago, during the Jr Bandettes game, a little girl was seated on the other side of the Bandettes and she was just glued to watching them all night long. Last night, it was a little boy who was just smitten with watching the Bandettes in action and he seemed especially taken with Mandy, for whom the feeling was mutual....I've said it many times and I'll continue to say it...that's what having pro cheerleaders/dancers is mostly about...having an impact on the children.
Mandy with a little fan
squad photo grouped around Sarah
Sarah and Erin
Before the Bandettes came out at halftime, I got a visit from a fan from a few sections over. He wanted to get some information. One of the most popular things the Bandettes do is spell out BANDITS with their poms at the end of one of their performances. It never fails to get a big response from the crowd and it requires plenty of practice to get everyone in sync and it's something they regard as being pretty special to do. This fan wanted to know if they'd be doing that again anytime soon and, as luck would have it, I already knew thanks to Deanna and Stephanie that they'd be doing that for 3rd intermission. I have to think that fan cheered louder than anyone when they did it.
Making the "T" in Bandits
one last best friends pic for Sarah and Jessica
Sarah is savoring every last moment
who doesn't love Karley's enthusiasm?
I have to confess...I love having the beautiful MaKenzie dancing right next to me
See all the pics at
After games, I'm usually heading straight out but I hung back a little bit last night because I wanted to say goodbye to Sarah and I got a bonus as Bandettes alum Chelsea was on hand...though I think she thought I was joking when I suggested she come back to fill Sarah's slot in the lineup.
Next up for the Bandettes, after the Bandits head to Georgia next week, they'll be back in action as the Knighthawks return to Buffalo on April 2 at 7:30pm at the First Niagara Center, back to Saturday night games.