Detroit Lions hold cheerleading tryouts, Matthew Stafford's wife among judges

- Talented women came from all over the state to Ford Field on Saturday to audition for what will be the Detroit Lions franchise's first cheerleading squad.

"I just want to prove that I'm from a small town and I can do something big and adventurous and show younger girls that this is definitely the best thing to do and to give it a try," said Skye Nielsen of Hougton Lake.

The Lions charged each cheerleader $25 to register -- an NFL industry standard for a tryout. Like a stage play tryout, those that pass Saturday's tryouts will receive a call backs to audition again. Those who make the final cut will attend a five-day training camp in mid-July.

"I've wanted to be a cheerleader my whole life. I was homeschooled so we didn't have a cheerleading squad. There's not one at my community college, so this opportunity is really, really exciting for me," said Ayanna Gray of Kalamazoo.

The Lions cheerleaders will be under the direction of Rebecca Girard-Smoker, who led the NBA's Detroit Pistons dance team at the Palace of Auburn Hills for 10 seasons.

"We just want everyone to be able to relate to the cheerleaders as their neighbors and friends and sisters and cousins and coworkers. We just want it to be tastefully done," Girard-Smoker said.

One of the judges is Kelly Stafford, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's wife. Kelly met Matthew while he played and she cheered for the Georgia Bulldogs. 

Detroit's own Micah Davis is hoping to make the cut.

"I perform in the music hall and we perform to about 500, so if I multiply that by 20, it's kind of the same feeling," she said. "I would like to do it -- I'm ready for it."


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