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Detroit Lions pick 37 finalists for cheerleading squad

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions cheerleader squad hopefuls have been cut to 37 finalists, down from the more than 300 women who tried out at Ford Field over the weekend.

“It was very challenging to narrow it down to just 37 girls, but it was something we had to do,” said Rebecca Smoker, Lions director of cheerleading. “There was a lot of talent that came out, but we are very excited and confident about the new team.”

In late July, the 37 finalists will go to a rigorous training camp and the team will be reduced to 25 to 30 women. The official team won’t be announced until August.

The cheerleaders will make up the first squad in franchise history. Detroit was among a handful of NFL teams to abstain from having cheerleaders until minds were changed earlier this month.

The finalists include former Pistons dancers and a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader.

“Along with learning new choreography, there will be business and media training,” Smoker said.

“Each rehearsal will be filmed so the women will be able to see themselves and keep improving, which is really important. We just want to help them as much as we can so each candidate can be successful during this process.”

While some NFL cheer teams are known for their costumes or signature dance moves, Smoker said she wants the new squad to stand out for other reasons.

“I want our women to be pure Michigan sweethearts,” she said. “These are our cousins, sisters, mothers and friends. These girls will be relatable and ambassadors in our community.”

ksmith3@detnews.com

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