Layton woman living dream as Cowboys cheerleader

Nov 2 2011 - 9:43am

Images

Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Courtney Cook, of Layton, performs during a game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, recently. (BRANDON WADE/The Associated Press)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (Photo from Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Facebook page)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (CMT courtesy photo)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (CMT courtesy photo)
Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Courtney Cook, of Layton. (CMT Courtesy Photo)
Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Courtney Cook, of Layton, performs during a game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, recently. (BRANDON WADE/The Associated Press)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (Photo from Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Facebook page)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (CMT courtesy photo)
Courtney Cook, of Layton, tries out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (CMT courtesy photo)
Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Courtney Cook, of Layton. (CMT Courtesy Photo)

A 2010 Davis High School graduate and a former Layton High School student, Courtney Cook, 19, is living her dream of being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

The youngest member of the squad, she also appears to be the most popular.

A poll by the Dallas Morning News currently has her listed as the people's cheerleader choice.

"Right now, I have 70 percent of the votes," Cook said. "Probably everybody back home is voting for me."

But Cook said she's happy even without all the hype.

"I'm just glad to have the opportunity to live my dream and to be able to dance every night. It has made me so happy."

And she has advice for those coming up behind her.

"Follow your dreams. You have to really want it. It's really hard, and it changes your life."

Cook said the 2 1/2-month journey to being selected as a Cowboys cheerleader is grueling, with constant work and little time to rest.

"You have to make sure you are doing your best," she said. "The girl next to me, I wasn't going to leave the room knowing that she did more than I did."

The story of what it was like for her and 33 others now on the team is told on CMT's hit series "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team." The show, in its sixth season, airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

The show features eight one-hour episodes that follow potential cheerleaders through auditions, training camp and their first performance at Cowboys Stadium.

The show chronicles Cook's efforts to realize a dream she said she has worked her whole life to achieve. Her efforts have included taking in all of the show's previous seasons.

"It helped me to not be shocked when I got here," she said. "I definitely did my homework. I was very prepared and confident."

Cook started dancing when she was 2 years old. She was a cheerleader in junior high school; while in high school, she taught dance at A Touch of Class Dance Studio in Layton.

"Growing up in dance studios is kind of what helped me," she said.

But Cook also has brains behind her success.

She took enough concurrent enrollment and advanced placement classes in high school to have a year of college credits, and she plans to attend college once she has gotten herself established.

It's this aspect of her life that confused some she told about her plans. "Honestly, the only people who gave me a weird face were my teachers," Cook said.

But she wasn't going to let any negativity stop her. "I always knew this was what I wanted to do. I decided to jump on this dream first."

Following her dream has been expensive.

Cook said she saved all year, from the time she graduated until she headed for the cheerleading camp last spring, to pay for her lodging and other needs during the tryouts.

And now, she said, she still has to maintain a vigorous work schedule in order to support herself, because being a cheerleader is not a high-paying venture.

"You definitely have to have a full-time job to support yourself," she said.

Cook recently got a job as an administrative assistant at a law firm. The flexible hours work with her vigorous cheerleading schedule that includes appearances at charity events, answering scores of emails and practicing long hours with the group known for its precision.

Cook said all of the life lessons she has learned have been worth every bit of what she has put into it. "I feel like being a cheerleader has taught me to be as supportive of other people's success as you are for your own."

From Around the Web

  +