The triumphant return of the Boise State Spirit Squad

Boise State Spirit Squad
Photo by Claire Keener

“Let’s Go Broncos” is a cheer that Bronco Nation can finally join in after COVID lockdowns prevented fans and the Boise State Spirit Squad from cheering on the Broncos at athletic events in 2020.  

The Spirit Squad is made up of Boise State’s Mane Line dancers, cheerleaders and mascots. Whether they are leading The Corral and Bronco Nation in cheers or dancing along the sidelines, their presence is always felt at home games. 

A bright spot during the past year for the Spirit Squad has been adding to their trophy case at the Collegiate Cheer and Dance Nationals in April. At this competition, Mane Line – also known as the dance team – had a historic third-place finish in Division 1A Hip-Hop and fourth in Division 1A Jazz. Cheer was runner-up in Division 1A Small Coed and fourth in Division 1A Game Day.

“It feels like a fevered dream, it doesn’t feel real,” said freshman secondary education major Taylor Smith. “It’s kind of like a whole rush of emotions and things going on and you don’t have anything else in your mind besides the game.” 

Smith says the people are what brought her to Boise State. She loves that the community is invested in its athletic programs. One of the reasons Smith enjoys cheering for the program is because people want to be a part of the team and better the organization. 

Eagle Native Megan Bradley is a senior on Mane Line studying nursing. Bradley says her favorite moment as a Mane Line dancer is when she walks into Albertsons Stadium as Bronco Nation files in before kickoff. She loves that the community can bring the energy needed to fuel the team.

Boise State Spirit Squad
[Photo of Boise State’s Spirit Squad performing at a home game in Albertsons Stadium]
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

Bradley grew up going to Boise State home games and attending Spirit Squad kids camps. She looked up to the Spirit Squad because of their impact on her, leading her to think that “it can be me” cheering in college. Spirit Squad kids camps were a big part of her decision to attend Boise State since it allows her to pay it forward to local kids.

Bradley feels like she has had to overcome the pandemic and how it prevented the program from doing community events, changed how practices are conducted and the cancellation of the 2020 National Dance Alliance (NDA) College Nationals. The program worked all year practicing for competition along with different athletic events.

“It was hard not being able to do what I love and not be able to do what I can to support the Broncos,” Bradley said.

Head coach Kelsey Messer was a cheerleader for the program from 2011 to 2015. She thought it was an amazing opportunity to represent Boise State, and cheerleading made her whole college experience. 

As a coach, she does her best to provide the same experience she had in the program. She believes the experience she obtained as a member has made the transition to head coach much smoother.

“I’m really excited to be back on the sidelines and have the team get that opportunity,” Messer said. “It’s so awesome being out there in front of the crowd and being on The Blue, so it’s nice to be back there this year.”

Messer mentions how during the 2020 season it felt that every time the program got a little bit of good news, something would squash it. She wanted to keep the team engaged and excited about membership, but it was tough since there wasn’t much reward in fun things to do outside of the 2021 national competition.

After being unable to cheer at home games all last season, the Spirit Squad is excited to be back.

“I hope that I get a unique college experience that not a lot of other people get to have,” said Smith. “It’s something that’s very special that I get to be a part of.”

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