Cheerleader Raises Cry for Hall of Fame

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Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Cindy Villarreal Hughes is pushing for a Cheerleading Hall of Fame. She's president of a sports marketing firm in Austin, Texas. She hopes to open the shrine by next year.


Okay, there is the Baseball Hall of Fame and there are similar monuments to football, basketball, even bowling. Now a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader is leading an effort to build a Cheerleading Hall of Fame. She's Cindy Villarreal Hughes and she joins us on the line from Austin, Texas.

Good morning.

Ms. CINDY VILLARREAL HUGHES (Former Cheerleader, Dallas Cowboys): Hey, good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: And why does the world need a Cheerleading Hall of Fame?

Ms. HUGHES: Well, this is a heritage that has been built over a hundred years, and so what we want to do is honor that heritage of cheerleading and bring back the greatness and exceptional performance that cheerleading has been known for.

MONTAGNE: Well, I guess you could say what the first cheerleader, I gather, said back in the late 1800s, rah, rah, rah.

Ms. HUGHES: Yes. But…

MONTAGNE: Give us an example of a cheerleader who deserves to be in a Hall of Fame?

Ms. HUGHES: Well, you know, there are some notables that come to mind are at obviously Thomas Peebles, who you're speaking of. Thomas Peebles was the graduate from Yale. He went on to the University of Minnesota and organized cheerleading for the very first time here in America.

MONTAGNE: And Yale, of course, is where President Bush was a cheerleader.

Ms. HUGHES: Correct. But we had some other presidents that were also cheerleaders. Dwight Eisenhower was a cheerleader. And Ronald Reagan was a cheerleader. So, you know, there's been a lot of cheerleaders that have moved on to greatness. Some of the probably lees known but cheerleaders that have been behind the scene are Suzanne Mitchell, who actually developed the concept for professional cheerleaders. She was the director of the Dallas Cowboys' cheerleaders.

There's Lawrence "Herky" Herkimer, more known as the grand daddy of cheerleading. He took it from the camps concept to competition.

MONTAGNE: Okay, well, there's a list. And can you give me the 10-second list of artifacts one might see at a Cheerleading Hall of Fame?

Ms. HUGHES: Well, you'll see photos and uniforms from the various eras. You'll see everything from the school cheerleaders to the all-star cheerleaders, to recreational cheerleaders to professional cheerleaders. There's all styles.

MONTAGNE: So you haven't gotten off the ground, but good luck to you in making it happen.

Ms. HUGHES: Hey, thank you so much. We're excited about this project.

MONTAGNE: Cindy Villarreal Hughes is the president of Proformance Sports Marketing and Entertainment in Austin, Texas, and she's leading an effort to build a Cheerleading Hall of Fame.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


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