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Cheering Up The Troops

Cheerleader Show Team heads to Kuwait, Iraq


The Cards' Show Team in Iraq (clockwise from top left): Kalani, Marci, Amy, Erin and Kaylee.

Some Cardinals cheerleaders are doing their part to cheer up the troops.

Five cheerleaders from the current squad, along with cheerleader director Heather Karberg, are in the midst of a 10-day, seven-show tour of U.S. military bases Kuwait and Iraq. The shows are an array of dances and games of audience participation, with choreography ranging from the Beach Boys and limbo contests to Elvis impersonations, fire dancing, and the latest in hip hop music.

But the message is the same: The Cardinals support the soldiers' efforts.

"I am hoping to truly bring a little piece of home to the soldiers who have given so much for our country and our freedom," said Erin, one of the cheerleaders. "(I want) to be able to entertain them and take their minds off anything that may fester in a negative way. I expect the trip to be humbling. Sadly, many Americans don't understand what we have here in the United States and trips to third world countries and war zones give me a different perspective on life."

Previous show teams have performed at military bases in Egypt, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Greenland, Mexico and Australia.  

"These military tours are one of my favorite parts of the cheerleading program," Karberg said. "Not only are we able to bring a piece of home to our troops, we are also learning the ins and outs of living on base in Iraq."

The trips are usually in the offseason, although a trip in season isn't unprecedented. The women will get back just a few days before the Cardinals' home opener Sept. 26 against the Raiders.

Cheerleader Kalani has a personal stake in helping the military. Her sister just returned from Afghanistan this year.

"Knowing the risks these honorable folks take is huge," she said. "They risk their lives for all of us and I just want to shake hands and say a huge thank you to everyone I meet."

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