Crane Cheerleaders to Perform During Bowl Game

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

CRANE - The world will get a taste of West Texas this Saturday at the Capital One Bowl. While Alabama and Michigan State face each other on the field, the faces of the Crane cheerleaders will be on the crowd.

This week, the Golden Crane Cheerleaders will be trading in their Friday Night Lights for the national spotlight.

It'll be history in the making for the West Texas town.

"It feels awesome. It's just amazing," Jordan Ramirez, a Crane Middle School Cheerleader, said.

For the first time, both the Crane junior high and high school cheerleading squads will perform at a bowl game.

They both won their Universal Cheerleaders Association summer camps and will be seen on Saturday's Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

"You go back to school next year and see the trophies everywhere and you're like 'I was part of it. That was me,'" Crane High School Cheer Co-Captain, Morgan Bartlett, said.

But this opportunity was almost lost once the school and the parents saw the cost of the trip: $22,000.

But a generous donor who chose to remain anonymous offered to pay half if the girls could match it.

They did everything from sponsoring dances to working concession stands and sold every product they could.

In just three months, they met their goal by raising $14,000.

"That's all we had to think about all the time was trying to get money," Crane High School Cheer Co-Captain, Carly Merkat, said. "I knew that we were going to have to work really hard but I'm glad we did and we actually got to go."

Now they'll get a chance to perform along with 600 other cheerleaders during the Capital One Pregame.

Their sponsor said the credit goes to the way the girls have worked together to get this chance.

"This chemistry of this group of girls, they want to be the best and they work really hard to make sure that they are the best," Crane Cheer Sponsor, Tana Degraffenreid, said. "And they give in all the hours that are necessary."

Crane High School's stadium holds 4,000 people. But this weekend, the Golden Crane girls will perform to a stadium of 70,000.