GREAT FALLS — There’s been a lot of success lately at Cheers Fitness program in Great Falls — so much so that the program is sending six teams (three dance and three cheerleading) to the World Championships in Orlando, Florida, five more than the program sent last year. The World Championships are, in other words, the Super Bowl of competitive cheer and dance for teams all over the planet.
“A lot of them have been (cheering and dancing) for a really long time, some of them since they were 4 or 5 years old,” said owner of Cheers Fitness and head cheerleading coach Becky Acra. “We’re kind of having that amazing, magical year that you only dream of as a coach. We’re on a ride and we’re just enjoying every second of it.”
“Very excited that I even get to go in the first place. I’m very excited to see what Orlando is like and what the competition atmosphere is,” said Perrey Acra, a 10-year-old who is on teams Lady Ice, Glacier and Inferno.
All the teams have been working hard to encourage each other to reach higher limits, and it’s showed this year.
“A big thing we had this year throughout the entire studio was leadership, we really pushed it this year,” said Bella Pinocci, a 17-year-old on team Radioactive. “We want to make sure that everyone is being a leader, that they’re not just doing that in front of coaches, that they’re also doing it when people aren’t looking. I’ve seen a big, big difference in it.”
But above all else, competing with teams all over the world, these kids are ready to show what the Treasure State and the Electric City are all about.
“It means a lot, because most people would be like, ‘Wait, Montana, is that even a state?’ We’re going to go down there and show them who we are,” said Avery Newman, a 17-year-old dancer. “We’re amazing and we’re not just these people from a small, rinky-dink town who don’t know what they’re doing. We’re here and we’re here to stay.”
“I think it’s crazy. Most people don’t think that Great Falls, Montana can do all this, but it’s very impressive that we did,” said Perrey Acra.
The cheerleading and dance teams head out to Orlando on May 2.