Xtreme Cheer Championships - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Cheer teams have a long season that stretches from September into April. Typically, teams will compete every other weekend throughout that season, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles. We drove hundreds of miles to the Xtreme Spirit Cheerleading and Dance National Championships at the Kalahari Conference Center and Indoor Waterpark. Take a moment to see what we captured from the weekend. We think you’ll be B-L-O, B-L-O-BLOWN-AWAY!

From the moment we walked through the front doors it was like we entered an entirely different universe – one defined by sparkles, glitter, new acceptable decibel levels, and reigning laws of anti-gravity. Girls dressed in matching uniforms huddled together in the hallways waiting for their routine to begin while others rushed around making last-minute makeup applications, wardrobe changes, impromptu practices, and confrontations with parents.

It wasn’t just the cheerleaders that had their 'spirit' going on – the parents were equally hyped up. They were usually dressed in the color of their team, and often the dads wore silly hats like giant cheese blocks that lit up with purple lights, or sweatshirts with team mottos written in sparkling glitter.  

The AFP was quickly taken to this scene. Photo opportunities popped up left and right as frequently as teenage girls were thrown into the air. Perhaps the most engaging scene was the main performance stage where the cheer teams showed off their stuff to a panel of judges. These were not your average cheerleaders. When you can pull your leg straight above your head, show off your 6-pack abs, and keep a smile on your face the whole time, then you are something truly special. Let it suffice to say we were blown away at the athleticism and fearlessness of these competitors.