Tag Archives: Memphis

Varsity All Star Teams Up With All Star Cheerleaders to Support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

New Initiative Aims to Pay for One Day’s Operational Costs of the Hospital – $2 Million

Varsity All Star LogoMEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 16, 2014) – Beginning this October, Varsity All Star will be joining the Team Up for St. Jude campaign to help raise enough money to run St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for a day – $2 million. Varsity Spirit created the campaign three years ago to help St. Jude find cures and save children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Varsity Spirit has raised more than $1.5 million since 2011 through a similar program with the cheerleaders and dancers who attend Varsity summer camps. In July 11 All Star gym owners and athletes were invited to Memphis, Tennessee, where they served dinner at St. Jude Target House, a long-term living facility for St. Jude patients and families; toured the hospital and helped brainstorm ways the All Star industry could help pay to operate St. Jude for a day.

Thanks to the collaborative effort of the St. Jude Advisory Panel and St. Jude staff, Varsity All Star designed a program to encourage athletes to support this goal and help make it a success. The All Star community is energized to invest and commit their time to the effort to help St. Jude increase overall cancer survival rates.

“From the gym owner perspective, I think it’s important that we get involved with St. Jude,” said Brett Hansen, owner of Spirit of Texas, an all star program in Arlington, Texas. “We have to teach our athletes from a young age that they’ve got to give back. It’s important for the all star gyms to get involved with St. Jude because we are a tight community and this is a new way to work together to try to get some kids who aren’t healthy back on their feet and healthy again.”
More than 2,000 All Star gyms across the country will be encouraged to Team Up for St. Jude through fundraising efforts organized by their coaches, athletes and parents within their gym. All Star gyms that register will receive a free fundraising kit that includes table tents, balloons, posters and an exclusive “Our Gym Proudly Supports St. Jude” banner. They can track the money they raise on an online fundraising website provided by St. Jude. Gyms have been encouraged to kick-start their Team Up for St. Jude Spirited by Varsity All Star program by hosting a Parents Night Out in their gym on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

“We are excited to further our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by inviting All Star gyms from across the country to join us as we continue our commitment to help fight childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. We share a common goal with St. Jude, centered around our mission to make a difference in the lives of young people. This is an ideal partnership and we are thrilled to work hand-in-hand with St. Jude,” said John Newby, General Manager of Varsity All Star. “Together with All Star gym owners and coaches, we believe we have created a unique fundraising platform to speak to the competitive nature of All Star athletes and ultimately provide more financial support for St. Jude and its families.”

“Varsity All Star’s support and spirit are invaluable to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude. “In addition to the more than $1.5 million Varsity cheerleaders and dancers have raised to help St. Jude find cures and save kids, their visits and pep rallies at the hospital have helped lift patient and parents’ spirits as they face some of the most difficult times in their lives.”

All donations will be tracked online through each All Star gym’s page and on www.stjude.org/VarsityAllStar. Teams will be rewarded as they reach certain donation levels throughout the 2014-2015 competition season. More information about this award scale will be released soon.

If you are a gym owner or coach and would like to participate in this program, please fill out this form.

Press Release – Varsity All Star Teams Up With All Star Cheerleaders to Support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Varsity Spirit and Cheer LTD Announce Merger

Cheer LTD Canam LogoMemphis, Tenn., (June 24, 2014) – Varsity Spirit and Cheer Ltd. Inc. are pleased to announce that they have merged, effective immediately.

Varsity Spirit, the leader in cheerleading and dance team education, events and apparel, was founded in 1974 in Memphis, TN. Their national events have been televised since 1980, and are currently broadcast on ESPN and CBS Sports.

Based in Fayetteville, NC, Cheer Ltd. Inc. produces more than 25 competitions for cheerleaders each year, including Cheer Ltd. Nationals at CANAM and the NCHSAA State High School Cheerleading Championships. Cheer Ltd. Inc. is a Tier 1 USASF Event Producer and has been an independent leader in the spirit industry for more than 25 years.

“This is an exciting time for Cheer Ltd. Inc. as we join the Varsity Spirit family of brands,” says Gwen Holtsclaw, President and CEO of Cheer Ltd. “Having worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Varsity Spirit in numerous industry-wide initiatives, we have great respect for Varsity Spirit’s corporate commitment to the spirit industry. Our Cheer Ltd. management team will continue to produce our events with even more benefits to our customers that come with being part of the largest organization in the spirit industry—Varsity Spirit.”

VarsityJohn Newby, Executive Vice President of Varsity Spirit and General Manager of Varsity All Star, said, “We are excited to welcome the Cheer Ltd. team and look forward to working with their entire organization as we continue to focus on producing the best cheer and dance competitions in the world.”

Gwen Holtsclaw will continue to manage and direct the Cheer Ltd. Inc. operations, and its headquarters will remain at its current location in Fayetteville, NC.

For more information, please contact Sheila Noone, 901-251-5959 or [email protected].

Press Release: Varsity Spirit and Cheer LTD Announce Merger


USA Cheer Names Ronnie Carter Executive Director

USA CheerMemphis, Tenn., May 27, 2014 – USA Cheer has announced that Ronnie Carter has been named its Executive Director. USA Cheer, the governing body of cheer in the United States was founded in 2008 to serve all aspects of cheer in America – traditional, all star and the emerging sport of STUNT.

Ronnie Carter served for many years as the Executive Director of the Tennessee State Secondary Athletics Association, where he oversaw the association that coordinated and regulated the competitive athletic programs for the more than 400 schools in the state. Carter was eventually named President of the National Federation of State High School Associations, based in Indianapolis, IN. There, he worked with leaders from around the country and advocated on behalf of students participating in a wide range of sports and activities.

“Ronnie has been a consistent voice for student athletes for more than 40 years, and USA Cheer is proud to have him on our team,” says Bill Seely, co-founder of USA Cheer, who will now assume the role of President, previously held by Jeff Webb. “Ronnie brings a profound understanding of youth sports in America, and an ability to work with all of our shareholders, specifically in our mission to grow all disciplines of cheerleading.”

“USA Cheer has set a foundation for cheer at all levels to thrive and grow. It’s our mission to ensure that cheerleading remains an exciting, challenging and safe option for athletes,” says Carter. “And I look forward to furthering that mission and seeing USA Cheer expand upon its leadership role.

For more information about Ronnie Carter and USA Cheer, visit www.usacheer.net or contact Sheila Noone at [email protected].

Press Release – USA Cheer Names Ronnie Carter Executive Director

Life-threatening Cheerleading Fall Leads to Local Triumph

My Fox Memphis published Life-threatening Cheerleading Fall Leads to Local Triumph.

“I was supposed to be doing a front flip and instead dove. I was estimated about 15-feet and just dove and hit the top of my head,” recalled Robinson, “It was like pain all over but at the same time tingling and numb all at the same time. It was so weird; it was like an out of body experience.”

Spirit Holding and Cheersport Join the Varsity Family of Brands

Cheersport LogoMemphis, Tenn., (December 28, 2012) Varsity and Spirit Holding have announced that they are merging, effective immediately. Based in Matthews, N.C., Spirit Holding is the parent company of CHEERSPORT, CheerLogistics and Universal Spirit, and hosts more than 30 competitions each year.

CHEERSPORT’S signature Nationals event, held in Atlanta each February, is the single largest cheer and dance competition in the United States, attracting more than 900 cheerleading and dance teams from around the country.

“Our goal has always been to produce exciting events that are organized and positive for all participants,” said Jeff Fowlkes, President and General Manager of Spirit Holding. “And by teaming up with Varsity, we know that we are partnering with the best in the cheer community. No organization takes better care of its athletes and their safety or cares about their competition experience more than Varsity, and we are proud to be their partner.”

Varsity All Star LogoJohn Newby, Executive Vice President of Varsity and General Manager of Varsity All Star, said, “We are excited to welcome the Spirit Holding team and look forward to working with their entire organization as we continue to focus on producing the best cheer and dance competitions in the world for the athletes and parents we serve.”

Athletes and gym customers should expect enhancements in the future as a result of the merger, including a larger pool of experienced judges and consistent logistical and operational support.

Regarding the new arrangement Fowlkes added, “Perhaps the most exciting aspect about our merger with Varsity is that CHEERSPORT will be able to retain its uniqueness,” added Fowlkes. “Varsity has always allowed its brands the independence they need to retain what makes them special, and that is extremely important to us and to our customers.”

Fowlkes will continue to manage and direct the Spirit Holding operations. Kevin Brubaker will serve as Vice President and Brand Manager of CHEERSPORT, and Adam Thomas will continue to manage Universal Spirit as its Vice President and Brand Manager. Spirit Holdings headquarters will remain at its current location in the Charlotte, N.C. area.

For more information, please contact Sheila Noone, 901-251-5959 or [email protected]

On the Eve of Title IX’s 40th Anniversary, the Age Old Question Might Finally be Answered

As Title IX celebrates its 40th Anniversary and counts its wins for women’s sports, a new sport is ready to join the ranks.

Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 2012 – Cheerleading, which predates Title IX by roughly 60 years, has long been an athletic outlet for women. Once primarily a men’s activity, female cheerleaders quickly took over the sidelines during World War II, and never left.

USA CheerIt’s a question as old as Title IX itself – Is Cheerleading A Sport? Every year, the physical abilities of cheerleaders are showcased on ESPN and CBS Sports, and now a new sport, STUNT, is vying for Emerging Sport Status from the NCAA. STUNT is about to launch its third season, with a roster that has averaged 22 teams in the last two years.

As a more athletic and challenging style of cheerleading developed, the need for a new form emerged, one that would allow the talented athletes of cheerleading to take their place among the top athletes in the country.

“STUNT has evolved out of a need to develop a format derived from traditional cheerleading that fulfills all requirements of Title IX,” says Bill Seely, Executive Director of USA Cheer, the governing body for cheerleading and the creator of STUNT. “It’s important to ensure a clear distinction between the various athletic disciplines of cheerleading and the roles they play. Traditional cheerleading provides such great value for the institutions they serve and we want to protect that, while at the same time continue to grow cheer’s newest sport, STUNT, which will provide more opportunities for young women and help institutions meet the criteria of Title IX.”

STUNT has been well received by pioneers of women’s sports, who applaud the efforts of USA Cheer to create more opportunities for female athletes to compete. “The Women’s Sports Foundation welcomes the new sport of STUNT into the women’s sports tent, along with other aesthetic sports like gymnastics, diving and some skiing and snowboarding events,” says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation.”STUNT is developing to ensure girls and women are being provided the same educational experience that boys receive, with comparable numbers of competitions, squad sizes, scholarships, and a standard competitive format.”

More information about USA Cheer and STUNT can be found at http://usacheer.net. If you have further questions, please contact Sheila Noone at 901-251-5959.

About the STUNT format

Each STUNT game will comprise four quarters in the following categories: Partner Stunts, Pyramids and Tosses, Group Jumps and Tumbling, and Team Performance. Within each quarter, teams will perform skill sequences of varying levels of difficulty, technical execution and synchronization. Anyone who follows sports will be able to follow STUNT. Teams compete simultaneously, and the head-to-head format simplifies the scoring process, allowing fans to track the results of the competition as each round is completed. Because of the new format, teams will have records and national rankings, which will determine their post season play, much like other sports. In addition, post season play can be tracked by the fans, much like “March Madness.” For more information on STUNT, visit http://usacheer.net.

About USA Cheer

The USA Federation for Sport Cheering is a not-for profit organization and is the national governing body for all disciplines of cheerleading. USA Cheer exists to serve the entire cheer community, including club cheering (All Star), traditional school based cheer programs and the new sport of STUNT. USA Cheer has three primary objectives: help grow and develop interest and participation in Cheer throughout the United States; promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States; and represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.

Varsity All Star Announces “The Summit”, A New All Levels National Championship

The Summit will take place on May 4-5, 2013 at the Walt Disney World® Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.

Memphis, Tenn., May 30, 2012 – Varsity All Star is pleased to announce the launch of the ultimate all levels national championship, The Summit, which will replace the International All Levels Virtual Championship as their end of the season event.

Varsity All Star LogoThe inaugural Summit, which will take place on May 4-5, 2013 at the Walt Disney World® Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., will offer 450 bids to the best teams from across the country in Youth, Junior and Senior Levels in non-Worlds divisions to face-off in a live competition, broadcast worldwide on Varsity TV.

Varsity All Star will be selecting teams to take the climb to The Summit by offering bids at their existing World Bid Events and at least eight other two-day events. An anticipated 450 partial paid and at large bids will be offered throughout the 2012-2013 season. The Level Grand Champions from the 2012 International All Levels Championship have already received partial paid bids to defend their titles in 2013.

“The Summit is an opportunity to broaden the field for more athletes, coaches, and gyms from every region of the country to reach their highest potential at this one-of-a-kind event,” says John Newby, Executive Vice President of Varsity All Star. “We are proud to support the USASF and what Worlds has done to recognize All Star’s highest caliber athletes, but we feel the timing is right to create an additional event that showcases athletes in all levels of All Star cheer.”

The Summit was announced at the Varsity All Star annual Gym Owners Conference in Las Vegas on May 22, where it was met with positive feedback from gym owners. “As a small gym owner, I don’t have a Level 5 team that puts us in the running for Worlds. I love the idea of a prestigious, all levels destination event for our teams,” says Mindy Clayton, Gym Owner, Idaho Falls Elite. “We’ve never had an opportunity to do something like this, and I think it will help attract more athletes to our gym.”

More information is available about The Summit at http://varsityallstar.com.

About Varsity

Varsity is the source for all things related to cheerleading and dance team. With a rich heritage and traditions dating back to 1948, Varsity is an innovative global leader comprised of the leading spirit brands and organizations including its educational camps, clinics, competitions and uniforms to teams around the world. Varsity’s National Championships, which are held at the Walt Disney World® Resorts, have been televised on ESPN Networks for more than 25 years. Web-based Varsity TV features thousands of cheerleading and dance team videos and has become a favorite cheer destination for cheerleaders and coaches alike. Varsity has led the way in cheerleading safety as a supporter of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators since 1987 and as a camp leader training more than 300,000 cheerleaders per year in cheerleading fundamentals with an emphasis on safety. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Varsity employs 5,000 employees nationwide. For more information about Varsity, please visit http://www.varsity.com.

Varsity All Star Announces The Summit