ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --For Tara, a third-year captain on the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, the next two weeks ahead will bring a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work.
Tara was selected by her teammates and coaches to represent the Broncos at the Pro Bowl. She will join one cheerleader from all 26 NFL cheerleading squads in Hawaii from Jan. 21-28. After that, she'll travel to Japan to watch the Super Bowl with our troops and visit military bases.
There are combination of qualities that helped her earn those opportunities, most of which are also reasons she has been named a team captain for three years running.
"It's the person that you think best sums up our team as a whole, that will represent our team as a whole," Tara said. "Dancing ability, professionalism, leadership, community outreach -- anything that you want that person to represent not only to the other 26 Pro Bowl cheerleaders but everyone that's at the Pro Bowl and in Hawaii."
It's the Colorado native's first trip to Hawaii, but it's not a vacation. She'll learn 20 additional routines with the other Pro Bowl cheerleaders to prepare for the game, where they dance during not just the halftime show, but also between quarters and pregame.
"Nothing but dancing my tail off for the first couple of days," Tara said. "They send us a DVD and we have so much material to learn when we get there. We get there and we meet up with all the women and dance, dance, dance, just put it all together.
Tara added that she is looking forward to dancing in front of a live band, which she has never done before.
When the cheerleaders aren't dancing, their schedule is jam-packed with other activities - hospital visits, meet-and-greets with fans and radio and television appearances. She is also excited to interact with the other cheerleaders.
"A really neat thing amongst the cheerleaders is we have a calendar exchange," Tara said. "All 26 teams will bring their calendars and talk about it a little bit. It's cool because we can learn something about each other's teams. It'll be neat to talk to the other representatives, get to know how their calendar shoot went and how they pick women for each month."
Tara expects the atmosphere at the Pro Bowl to be more laid back compared to Broncos gamedays. The expectations and pressure won't be a factor in Hawaii, but the team captain will have to do her best to put aside her leadership traits and just worry about having fun.
"I keep telling myself I need to remember that," Tara said. "I'm such a perfectionist that sometimes I'll get so concerned with like - what's going on, why are you not in line? But I've promised myself that I'm going to take it all in and just enjoy myself and realize that it's just fun. We're all having fun."
While Tara will enjoy that aspect of the Pro Bowl experience, her competitiveness and pride will shine through.
"That's one of the things I'm most looking forward to - showing them how the DBC do it," she said. "We dance with a ton of energy, lots of technique - we always say we slam doors. That's our slogan. We hit it hard. We're not soft dancers. We have a ton of energy and you won't just see us from the first row, you'll see us dancing from the fifth level, last row. I'm excited for them to see me and be like, 'Wow, those Broncos are good.' That's my goal for myself, to blow them out of the water."