LIMA — Along with the demolition derby, the tractor pull and the rides, the cheerleading competition has been a long-standing tradition at the Allen County Fair.
In its 29th year, Fair Manager Jay Begg said it’s an opportunity for the competitors to take center stage.
“Of course, during the football games, maybe cheerleading is not as front and center as the effort the girls put into it and they would like. The game is the main thing,” Begg said. “Well here, not only is it a chance for the girls to perform in front of a group that’s looking at only at what they’re doing ... it also give the football teams a chance to cheer for the cheerleaders when that doesn’t happen very often.”
Cheerleading squads will compete in the junior high (grades 6 to 8) and high school (grades 9 to 12) divisions, representing their respective schools in Allen and surrounding counties.
For Nick Eichler, program director for Step One All Stars in Columbus, it will be his third year judging the competition at the fair. He will judge alongside other Step One All Stars staff.
“We look for a variety of different things as far as their overall execution of the routine, how the routine flows. We also take into consideration fundamentals such as motion techniques, jumps and tumbling. We also like to see variations in dance, and just kind of the overall appeal,” Eichler said.
This year, the cheerleading competition takes place during a primetime slot — on Saturday night, attracting a bigger crowd and even more glory for the competitors.
“It worked out that our best fit for the fair schedule and for the overall fair was to have it Saturday night, but typically it’s a weeknight. But we have had it on Saturday before; it hasn’t been on a Saturday night for a number of years,” Begg said.
Last year, the Thunderbirds from Lima Central Catholic took first place in both junior high and high school divisions.
2012 Allen County Fair