By Courtney Zwicker
Halifax’s largest cheerleading competition was held last weekend, and while some were dusting off their pom-poms, others were forced to watch from the sidelines due to lack of money .
The ninth annual Halifax Cheer Expo Grand Championships were held at the Halifax Forum.
Kristina Conway, cheerleader for the Central King’s Gators, says her team didn’t make it to the competition this year because they didn’t collect enough money.
“With just buying uniforms and three more mats we couldn’t afford it this year.”
Coached by Megan Sheppard, this is the first year the Gators have ever had a cheerleading team.
Conway says each team member paid a fee of $75 to be on the team. With that money, each member received a hat and sweater with the remaining money going to uniforms.
The average price for one cheerleading uniform is approximately $100.
Conway says her team sold flowers for Valentines Day, organized a turkey dinner and has a ham dinner in the works in order to raise money.
Erica Royal, president of the Nova Scotia Cheerleading Club Association and coach of the Halifax West Cheerleading club, sympathizes with teams that can’t afford to make it to all the competitions.
“Cheer Expo is definitely an expensive competition compared to the rest of them. The only thing I can recommend is that they have to decide whether or not it’s worth it. Maybe they have to sacrifice a couple other competitions to go.”
According to the Nova Scotia School Competitive Cheerleading Association , standard competition fees are $300 for a school entering either a junior high or senior high team and $550 for a school entering a team in both divisions.
Royal says the cost of Cheer Expo is nearly tripled. She advises teams to do as much fundraising as they can.
According to Royal, what makes Cheer Expo special is its size.
“If teams are coming from outside provinces to compete it’s usually that one. There are about 100 teams at this competition. There are usually only between 40 and 60 at other competitions. It’s got the concert type lighting and the huge backdrop.”
At the competition there are also classes for spectators and athletes to participate in.
The Gators have made it to one competition so far this year, and they have one more planned for April.
“I’m pumped for our next competition,” says Conway.
Conway says her team’s goal is to keep raising money and compete at Cheer Expo 2013.
Erica Royal talks about Cheer Expo and team budgeting