A team of young Waikato cheerleaders will soon unleash an "absolutely flat out" routine in a Las Vegas competition, making it the first team from the region to be invited to compete in America.
Fifteen members of Fierce, a female team from Hamilton's Cheer Revolution, will next weekend compete in the inaugural All Star Games - a junior world championship-style event.
"The initial thought by everyone was just they were so excited to go and then the second thought was ‘Ooh, we've got a lot of work'," Cheer Revolution director and head coach Lauren Jakes said.
But the girls, aged from 9-17, were brimming with excitement at training last night while they were put through their paces by Jakes, 20.
There were backflips and girls being tossed into the air while they practised their "absolutely flat out" two-and-a-half minute routine for the games.
At the moment the girls are training around eight hours a week for it.
"It's jam-packed full of all your stunting and your flipping . . . so it's all pretty hard out," Jakes said.
Because of that, the team had to keep running right through it in training to build up stamina.
For the girls, it's worth the effort.
Team co-captain Ophelia Webster, 17, was quick to answer what she was most looking forward to - "winning".
"We've been training really, really hard."
Heading to the US is extremely exciting and a great chance to check out the cheerleading scene there, but also puts the pressure on, said captain Ellen Schroeder, 15.
"They [American teams] are the top teams and it's so different from New Zealand competitions," Schroder said.
And D-day is getting closer.
They leave for the States on April 9 and the games run April 11-13.
Last year Fierce was undefeated throughout the season and their high score in the nationals helped them win a bid to compete at the games.
They were lucky to secure a bid where 25 per cent of the cost was paid, but have had to fund the rest.
Jakes said the United States would offer a bigger field of competition - in New Zealand there were around six teams in Fierce's division but they will face around 28 at the All Star Games.
As well as training Fierce, Jakes is preparing for a competition herself.
After the All Star Games she will continue to Orlando, where she will compete at the Cheerleading World Championships with Cheer Dynamix from Papakura.
This Saturday Fierce will give a final showcase of their routine at 6.30pm at Hamilton City Gymnastics in Te Rapa, for a gold coin donation.
- Waikato Times