Back in February, many football fans enjoyed the Super Bowl from their homes as they watched the San Francisco 49ers battle against the Baltimore Ravens. Jessa, a local college student living in Santa Clara, got a close-up view of the game as a cheerleader on the San Francisco 49ers’ Gold Rush team.
Jessa has fond memories of attending the Super Bowl and seeing New Orleans.
“New Orleans was amazing; it has such an electric vibe and the people are so welcoming,” she says. “When we landed at the airport, there were so many 49er fans. Although we wore regular clothes throughout the week, people would still ask us if we were cheerleaders.”
Jessa and her fellow Gold Rush cheerleaders stayed busy dancing and cheering throughout the Super Bowl. Seeing all the 49er fans in the bleachers made Jessa feel as if she was back in Candlestick Park. When a power outage hit, Jessa and the Gold Rush cheerleaders used their magic to turn lemons into lemonade.
“We didn’t have music to dance to for a little bit so we tried to lead the 49er fans in a cheer during that time,” Jessa says. “At some point during the power outage, the whole stadium was doing the wave.”
Last March, Jessa went through a rigorous auditioning process to be a 2012 Gold Rush cheerleader.
“I’ve always wanted to be a professional cheerleader, specifically for the 49ers,” she says. “They held an audition where over 500 girls came. It was pretty intense. Every year, you have to retry out for the squad and there are 32 [spots for] cheerleaders. It’s nerve-wracking because there are so many beautiful, talented women in the room. But you really just have to stay in your own body and work on what you’re doing, and not compare yourself to other girls.
“You get there in the early morning around 8 o’clock,” Jessa continues, recalling the first day of audition. “All the girls warm up together. After warm ups, we’re taught a portion of a dance, and that all happens in 20 minutes. Then, they line us up in numerical order, and we each get a number. Thirty girls at a time have to do the dance for the panel of judges. After the girls go through the first portion of the dance, the judges go into a room to decide who keeps going, and who gets eliminated. Right after they call those numbers out, we’re taught the rest of the dance, and then the girls dance again for the judges, and more people get cut.”
According to Jessa, about 80 finalists remained after the first day of auditions. These finalists plowed through a series of further assessments, including a workshop emulating an actual practice session, an interview, and a final audition.
“The day the [selections were announced], I had to go on a website and find out if I got in,” Jessa says. “When I saw my name, I started crying. I was so excited. My parents were there and we were all so happy. My dad is a huge 49er fan, and he was just as excited as I was.”
Many people know Jessa as a former titleholder of Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Mission City’s Outstanding Teen, and Miss California’s Outstanding Teen. Now they can know Jessa as a talented and hard-working cheerleader representing the Gold Rush.
“I am preparing for auditions in April to be part of the team again; I hope to be on the team again this following year,” Jessa says. “I would like to thank my family and friends for being so extremely supportive of me. [I also want to thank] the Gold Rush. We are also extremely supportive of each other. It’s a great sisterhood.”