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SVHS cheerleaders invade Big Apple


Three local girls recently had the opportunity of a lifetime when they walked New York City streets as part of the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Silver Valley High School’s Ashley Hartel, Briana Sheats and Emily Gutierrez were selected to participate after attending a cheerleading camp earlier this year at Knott’s Berry Farm.

“It was a long walk and it was cold, but the adrenaline kept us going,” Hartel said of the two-and-a-half mile parade route. “It was an amazing experience having all the people waving back at you. And also to have a lot of little girls looking up to you, it was a good experience.”

Although the parade was the highlight of the weeklong trip for the girls, they all agreed shopping and spending time in the hotel with fellow cheerleaders was their favorite part of the trip.

Gutierrez said meeting new people and making new friends was memorable for her. Sheats recalls performing “cheer-stunts” in the hotel room and having a great time around girls who are “just like” her.

Getting to New York wasn’t cheap for the girls’ families, as Hartel and Sheats spent approximately $2,130 to cover hotel, airfare, food and their uniforms. Gutierrez spent an additional $500 because she bought her airfare at the “last minute.”

But the girls said they were able to do a bit of fundraising to help their families pay for the trip to the Big Apple.

While the girls spent four to five hours a day practicing their routine, they were able to enjoy the different sights and landmarks New York has to offer, including a harbor tour of Ellis and Liberty islands, a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, ice skating at Rockefeller Center and a trip to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Sheats even got a chance to “surf” a New York City subway.

“I just stood in the aisle and didn’t hold on to anything and just acted like I was surfing,” Sheats joked. “It was a fun experience to ride in the subway for the first time ever.”

Sheats has another cheerleading trip coming up this month, this time for a New Year’s Day Parade in London.

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or

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