Competitive Cheerleading Gets Started
As the skill level and interest in cheerleading grew, it only made sense that cheerleaders would find a new way to cheer: by competing against other cheer team. In the 1960s, the International Cheerleading Foundation (now known as the World Cheerleading Association) started annually ranking and awarding the top performing college cheer teams. Around the same time cheerleaders made their NFL debut, college cheerleading teams began officially competing against one another. In 1978, a college competition aired on a national television station for the first time ever. It wasn’t until the 1980s that high school cheerleaders began competing. In 1982, the Q94 Rockers was the first team to call itself “all stars” and was one of the first cheer teams not associated with a school or sports league. In 1986, All Star cheerleading was created by the NCA as a division for teams not associated with a school or athletic association. This was huge since, for the last 80 years, cheerleaders were mainly associated with performing on the sidelines of other sporting events.
The Rise of All Star Cheerleading
All Star cheer is considered the fastest growing cheer group. In the early 1990s, All Star Nationals became commonplace. By the mid-1990s, cheer gyms opened and formed teams like Top Gun and Cheer Athletics. In 2004, the first Cheerleading Worlds took place in Orlando, Florida. During this decade, cheerleading drastically evolved. Difficulty of stunts and tumbling increased and cheerleaders became even more athletic. Spring floors and large mats were introduced. During competitive performances, cheerleaders didn’t chant or cheer, they performed to music. With the popularity of competitive cheer, uniform styles also changed. Due to the more advanced tumbling, uniforms were no longer cotton and instead made from flexible fabrics like spandex and polyester. To reduce bulk, pleats became less common and the modern A-line skirt became more popular. Metallic accents and bright colors were introduced and shell tops included sleeve cutouts. As we know today, there are more options than ever! Cropped, long-sleeve tops matched with shorts are also popular (and nearly the opposite style of the first uniform!). The all star competitive cheerleading industry has changed the world of how people see cheerleading!