Regina Cheerleading Athletics’ Smoke celebrate world championship

Gimme an R, gimme a C, gimme an A… now give the Rebels Cheerleading Athletics International Open Level 5 team a world championship.

The team celebrated their April win at the U.S. All-Star Federation Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando last month with a gala event Thursday evening.

While the large championship trophy was on a table and the team were posing with it, the actual victory may still take some time to sink in.

“I mean it’s pretty crazy still,” said Eric Bestvater, coach and owner of Rebels Cheerleading Athletics. “In our sport, worlds is something we usually attend and a lot of teams qualify, but to be able to come home with a victory is just something we never thought we’d be able to do.”

Bestvater said it was good to see the team come to celebrate the title after a pandemic and other obstacles to be able to win the title.

Preparation was the key for the victory.

“I think the first time I told them they could win was September,” he said. “But you don’t want to believe that at the point, you just want to motivate them to work harder and I guess they did.”

He said they had a great routine in the semifinals there and it took a few hours of waiting for the results to be released. Once they were in first after that point, Bestvater realized how close it was to being in their grasp.

It was an exhilarating experience to hear their name called as world champions.

“The first feeling you get when they call your name was just total euphoria,” Bestvater said. “I don’t think a lot of people get to experience that feeling in their lives, to be honest. It was nothing I’d ever felt before I thought I was going to faint, I thought I was going to cry. All the emotion all comes out. After that sort of settles in, the feeling replacing it is really a feeling of validation.”

Extra workouts and extra practice paid off for the girls, including team member Elizabeth Hwang.

“It’s amazing, Honestly, I didn’t think it would get this big, and the amount of support we’ve had from our hometown is insane and I’m so happy,” she said.

She said that in November and December, they started to compile their routine while studying other teams’ routines.

In late April, being in Orlando, Florida was a much different experience than being in Regina. For example, in Saskatchewan only the mice have mouse ears but the girls were able to take in Disneyworld and practice on the beach while we were dealing with blizzards and winter storm warnings.

“All of us got pretty sick with a flu down there, so that on top of it was not good,” Hwang said. “Walking around in Disney and practicing out in the heat when we came from snow was hard, but we managed to push through it.”

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