North Texas Daily

Cheerleading spirit starts in the Super Pit

Cheerleading spirit starts in the Super Pit

February 21
23:51 2013

Will Darnell / Intern

Thousands of screaming, boisterous fans will cheer on skillful athletes at the Super Pit this weekend.

Instead of the usual basketball games, the Coliseum will host the 2013 Spirit Celebration National Championship on Saturday and Sunday.

The Spirit Celebration National Championship is a biannual dance and cheer competition presented by Spirit Celebration, a small company that prides itself on professionalism and fun.

The owner of Spirit Celebration, Billy Smith, said more than 3,000 contestants from nearly 50 gyms will compete in front of 6,000 supporters.

The contestants vary in age group and skill level, from competitors as young as three to college-aged teams.

Smith said that all participants will receive commemorative medals, and division winners will win championship jackets, trophies and gym banners. The college squads have extra incentive to play well.

“The college team championship is very exciting as they compete for $5,000 in prize money,” Smith said.

Spirit Celebration is different from other competitions because of the emphasis on fan participation, ranging from noisemakers and signs promoting contestants to competitions for pizza parties based on the noise level of parents.

“Dads go overboard to show their pride,” Smith said. “Watching parents smile while their children perform is the best part of my job.”

Carrie Smith is the program director and coach for Liberty Cheer All-Stars, one of the teams participating in this year’s competition. The aspects of the competition she enjoys the most are the event staff, meeting the coaches from other companies, and supporting each young cheerleaders.

“Spirit Celebration is a special competition,” Carrie Smith said. “The introductions for all the teams make the kids feel important and the performance backdrop and lighting is very professional.”

Connie Verdin, the assistant director of the Super Pit, said that “the event is very popular.” The university is hosting it for the twelfth consecutive year.

The university holds a variety of events annually, involving both specific UNT departments and outside organizations like Spirit Celebration.

“We love Denton because the seating is great and the area is large,” Carrie Smith said. “We enjoy UNT competitions.”

The event will start Saturday morning and culminate with the college team championship on Sunday.

General admission is $15, and, UNT students can enjoy the show for $10 with their student ID.

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