They've Got Spirit

Now that's pep!
Ed Matchette

There's this notion around town that the Houston Texans Cheerleaders have it easy. Bah! For starters, these hot, nubile women -- much like their football-playing counterparts -- have to try out every year for a roster spot. It's a grueling process, I discover as I watch the Houston Texans Cheerleader tryouts. The scene at the cushy Verizon Wireless Lounge inside Reliant Stadium is best described as every guy's high-school-cheerleader fantasy come true. Rows and rows of impossibly beautiful women in skimpy outfits that make them look like hot super-heroines (seriously, you've never seen so many patent-leather boots) line up, four at a time, and get jiggy for a large audience and three judges, including Alto Gary, the Texans' cheerleader coordinator. Gary has a rep for being one of the top coordinators in the NFL. Definitely the Simon Cowell of the three judges, she's a tough coach, and her choreography is hot. So these lovely ladies and their lumps have their work cut out for them.

Contestant 1A (each of the 54 contestants has a number) starts things off. The curvy blond performs flawless kicks -- side to side, straight up -- and has a perfect smile. She's a shoo-in. So is 1B, a beautiful Latina whose perky grin lights up the room and wins Gary over. Identical -- and dead sexy -- twins 4A and 4B make the cut, too. Watching these ladies kick well above their heads or drop into the splits is entertaining. And seeing them rock their practiced routines to Prince's "Black Sweat" -- while never breaking their Colgate smiles -- is just scandalous. But the kicker (ha!) is the Q&A. The judges ask the women questions such as "What if you caught another cheerleader fraternizing with a player?" (These things come up.) Contestant 7B says she'd "make sure the appropriate people know." What's the one thing 6A can't live without? Her Strawberry Shortcake pillow (awww!). Who would 5C like to play her in the movie about her life? "Reese Witherspoon!" she beams.

Though frankly I can't imagine saying no to any of them, Gary and company select 34 out of the 54 girls. The Texans won't release their names now, but fans can meet the new crew when they're introduced on Saturday, April 29, for the Texans Draft Day party. Also, fans can pick one final cheerleader by voting at on May 10. Visit the Web site for details.

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