Yorkton has a strong showing of girls who’ve made the cut as Saskatchewan Roughrider cheerleaders.
Now they’ve got another, only she’s not one of the girls.
She’s their new cheerleading coach.
That cheerleader connection to Yorkton got a little stronger when Nicole Wegner was offered the job after Nicole Bidwell left.
Wegner got the word when Bidwell put in a good word for her and the team contacted her by telephone.
“The former CKRM Rider Cheer coach (Nicole Bidwell) was my former coach on the (University of Saskatchewan) Huskies,” explains Wegner. “She recommended my name for the coaching position and the club contacted me for the position. Not very dramatic, but that’s how I landed the position,” says Wegner.
The former Yorkton Regional High School and U of S cheerleader is now at the helm of what is known for media purposes as the 620 CKRM Rider Cheer team.
“I’m excited,” she told Yorkton This Week last week.
“This is an unbelievable time,” she added, not only for her personally, but for the CFL’s franchise.
As reported in the Regina Leader-Post recently, the possibility of a new stadium, to go along with a new head coach and the unveiling of the new team jerseys, has everyone looking up, suggests Wegner.
In preparation for her first year as the coach, tryouts were among the first on the list of things to do.
“We started tryouts (back) in March,” she said.
Wegner also coached the YRHS team when current coach Priya Pandit briefly stepped away.
Wegner also lent a hand to the Toronto Cobras for five years, and prior to taking the job with the Riders, was the Huskies coach.
Now that she is as far as she can go in terms of being a coach, Wegner has had a close look at the 32 girls who are currently on the squad. She told YTW that the differences between high school/collegiate cheerleaders and the pros, is like night and day.
“We have two rounds of cuts. It’s very different. They’re very talented but they don’t perform very well.”
There’s (a need for) more persona on the sidelines,” she noted of the ‘working conditions’ in the CFL.
“You have to try and look comfortable.”
She told the newspaper that even the difference in herself she has noticed since high school, is quite significant.
“It’s a long way off from where I was in high school,” she said with a smile.
Luckily for Wegner, her experience is definitely on her side.
“I have coached teams and athletes. The CFL gig is totally different.”
Wegner told YTW that the cheer routines are all her call. And she plans to make it all very entertaining.
“We dance, we perform and stunting gymnastics.”
She said it’s her goal to mix the elements of a CFL cheerleader with elements of the NFL cheerleader and throw in a little NCAA, too.
She also indicated her style will be a little different from Bidwell’s.
“My style will be a little different from the previous coaches.”
It should work out smoothly with the talent she’s seen so far.
“They’re very excited,” she said of the girls who made both rounds of cuts. “They’re incredibly talented. They’re fantastic.”
Now that she has long had her team of dedicated young women in front of her, the next big date circled on her calendar is likely June 22 when the Roughriders host their first preseason date at Taylor Field.
If there is another date circled on Wegner’s calendar, it’s a safe bet that it’s July 8.
“That’s our home opener. Everyone is very exited. There’s a lot of excitement.”
Wegner pointed to the fact that it’s a good time, not just for a bunch of cheerleaders, but the entire organization, noting the pending renovations to Taylor Field, as well as the new head coach from the Tiger-Cats, Corey Chamblin. All CFL clubs will also be wearing new jerseys this summer.