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Queer cheer team in Salt Lake launches fundraiser

After more than six months of meeting, tossing and cheering, Cheer Salt Lake, Utah’s queer-inclusive charitable team, is attracting more cheerleaders, and more attention. CSL is launching their first fundraiser to help in paying for uniforms and other operational expenses, said Valina Eckley, one of the team organizers.

After jumping through hoops to start raising money, the team is now asking for sponsors and funds; donations up to $100 will reward donors with emails, letters and a T-shirt. More substantial donations will allow businesses to sponsor the team and receive private pep rallies. Donations can be made through indiegogo.com. The funds raised will help the team with initial supplies, uniforms, business and legal fees, etc. CSL is offering a tiered-sponsorship so that anybody can give to our cause.

“We’re starting to grow and we are going to be taken seriously,” Eckley said.

With a much younger-based team than most other pride cheer groups, CSL is also planning a bingo fundraiser where the cheerleaders will be auctioned off for dates. Proceeds from the event will go to the Utah AIDS Foundation and CSL.

People of all ages, fitness abilities and experience are invited to join the squad. The team also needs managers and marketing representatives to help with performances and other events. The events will be posted on cheersaltlake.org and on their Facebook page. A recent YouTube video, titled Cheer Salt Lake Teaser, showcases the phenomenal talent on the team and has already been viewed hundreds of times.

“We want everyone to come and check us out. We’ll need performers, managers and fans,” Eckley said. “Oh and let’s not forget allies. Everyone is welcome.”

The San Francisco branch performs regularly in the pride parade and was featured on the NBC TV series America’s Got Talent.

“I definitely think it’s something that’s needed here more than anywhere. And if a Pride Cheerleading Association can thrive in Salt Lake, it can thrive anywhere,” Eckley said. “Experience is nice, but heart and determination is so much more important.”

CSL is looking forward to performances this spring for the Utah Blitz, a female football team, as well as other fundraisers, and of course, Utah Pride. After gaining steam over the next few months, tryouts will be held in the summer. It is the first charter of the PCA in the region and all participants are volunteers.

For more information about the league or to donate, go to cheersaltlake.org.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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