Whitko Grad is a 3-year Colts Cheerleader.
Friday, February 02, 2007
The Indianapolis Colts are practicing hard for their game Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but another group of Colts is practicing just as hard.
Hilari Ayres, a Colts cheerleader for three years, said her squad has been practicing for three hours a day every day since the Colts earned a spot in Super Bowl XLI in Miami.
"It's all worth it," said Ayres, who flies to Miami with her 29 teammates Thursday. Normally, they don't travel with the Colts outside Indianapolis.
"I've never cheered at an outdoor stadium before," Ayres said. "I don't know what to expect really."
One thing she can be sure of is that her parents, Sherri and David Ayres, will be in the stands cheering her on. Each cheerleader gets one ticket; the Ayres bought another one.
"To have your daughter cheering in a Super Bowl - it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Sherri Ayres, an advertising account executive for Fort Wayne Newspapers, who said she and her husband go to all the Colts' home games. The Ayres drove to Indianapolis on Monday before flying into Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Tuesday.
The Ayres will watch their first Super Bowl in person Sunday, but watching their daughter dance has been a family tradition.
"We've always cheered," said Sherri Ayres, who coached cheerleading at Whitko Community Schools for 12 years. "It was in our blood."
From the time she was 4 years old, Hilari Ayres, now 23, has danced. She danced her way through Whitko High School before graduating in 2001 and continued dancing at Ball State University. Her younger sister was on the dance team at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and her parents were also always there to cheer on her two brothers at football and basketball games.
Hilari Ayres, an interior designer for CC Home Design in Carmel, said when she tried out to be a cheerleader three years ago, she never would have imagined she'd be cheering at a Super Bowl. "When you get on the NFL squad, it's what you always hope for," she said.
Her mother agrees.
"The fact that Hilari will be cheering at it - it's a dream come true.