WOODWARD – Terra Tague, a junior cheerleader from Woodward-Granger High School, recently accepted an invitation to participate in the 2014 Iowa Shrine Bowl. The annual event is scheduled at 4 p.m. on July 26, 2014 at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls. The Shrine Bowl is a football game that showcases the state’s top football players, cheerleaders and dance teams. The football players are split into North and South squads with players being selected by a process of nomination by coaches and statewide balloting by media members. The cheer squad is not split into teams, but combined into one group of 60 cheerleaders.
The 2014 game will mark the 41st year for the Shrine Bowl. The annual all-star game is not only special because it highlights the state’s top talent, but the event’s primary goal is to raise money for The Shriners Hospitals for Children. To date, the Iowa Shrine Bowl has raised over $2,268,000 for The Shriners Hospitals for Children. All profits from the event are sent to The Shriners Hospitals For Children and are raised by ticket sales, advertising in the Shrine Bowl program, merchandise sales, contributions and sponsorships. Tague was nominated by Woodward-Granger Cheer Coach Amber Bogardus. Bogardus has been the cheer coach for two years at W-G and felt Tague would make a great representative.
"The Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association wanted coaches to consider elite cheerleaders that have the skills needed," said Bogardus. "Only a maximum of two girls per school can be picked. They have to commit to be available the whole week."
Bogardus has an interesting connection to the Shrine Bowl. Her father was a football coach at East Buchanan in northeast Iowa, and was elected as an assistant coach for the Shrine Bowl in the past. Tague is one of 60 Iowa high school cheerleaders selected to attend the invitation-only event. What’s even more impressive is that Tague is only a junior at Woodward-Granger High School. The Shrine Bowl invitations are usually extended to senior athletes.
"The judges are looking for certain qualities," commented Bogardus. "Even if they are a senior but they are not possessing those qualities, then a junior can take that spot."
On Jan. 26, Tague attended a tryout at the Za-Ga-Zig Temple in Altoona. Over 100 cheerleaders attended the camp, with only 60 earning a spot at the Shrine Bowl.
While at the tryout, participants were shown a video that described the Shrine Bowl and highlighted children in Shriners Hospitals. One portion of the video hit close to home for Tague as her stepfather, Jerome Hawco, suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). OI is a condition causing extremely fragile bones.
"They showed us a 10-minute video of a girl with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). I found it cool because I knew all about that and I could relate to that," Tague said.
Tague will spend one week in Cedar Falls practicing and preparing for the game, which takes place on the final day. She will participate in many special events during the week, including a "mini camp" on the University of Northern Iowa campus for the hospital children.
"I’m looking forward to meeting with the kids, getting their stories, and seeing how excited they are when we teach them the cheers," said Tague. Shrine Bowl representatives also informed Tague that the children will also be joining the cheerleaders on the sideline during the football game.
"I think that will be a lot of fun," added Tague.
Other events during the week will be a pizza party mixer for cheerleaders and football players, a trip to the Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, a movie night in downtown Cedar Falls, a hog roast, an honor banquet, and a parade down Main Street in Cedar Falls the morning of the game.
In 2013, $80,000 in donations were raised from the Iowa Shrine Bowl. The goal for 2014 is $100,000. Part of Tague’s duties will be to raise as much money as possible in the Woodward-Granger community. Her goal is $1,000, with all proceeds going to Shriners Children’s Hospital. "I plan on asking the businesses around here," Tague said. "They’re pretty supportive and with it being Shriners and a good cause they would be more willing to give."
Tague is accepting donations of any amount, even as small as $5. All individuals or businesses that donate will have a name or advertisement placed in the 2014 Shrine Bowl program, adjacent to Tague’s bio page. The program lists information about all coaches, players, cheerleaders and dancers affiliated with the 2014 event.
Tague already has plans for college. She would like to continue her cheer career at Simpson College or pursue an elementary education degree at the University of Northern Iowa.
Terra’s sister, Amber Tague, was also a cheerleader in high school. Terra commented that she would love to become a cheer coach with her sister after finishing college.
"My sister and I want to coach together. I think it would be fun," said Tague.
Tague is the daughter of Robin and Jerome Hawco and Perry Tague.
For more information or to donate, call the Woodward-Granger school office or email Bogardus at email@example.com.