The Rocky Mountain Showdown is one of the biggest events of the year for CSU and CU students alike. Diehard fans plan days in advance how to get the best tickets for this annual occurrence, but for the people who are actually a part of the event, planning begins weeks before the Rocky Mountain Showdown takes place.
The CSU Spirit Team, which consists of the golden poms, cheerleaders and mascots, in conjunction with the marching band, began preparation for the game almost two weeks before classes started.
For the 60 students who make up the spirit team those two weeks consisted of three daily practices averaging a total of nine hours of practice a day. Now that classes have begun, a combination of practices and weight training sessions last about two to three hours each day.
Despite all the hard work Maria Verti, the captain and coach for the poms, said that the Rocky Mountain Showdown is one of her best college memories.
“There are so many fans and they are all diehard fans too,” she said. “We’re ready to go and have fun and perform.”
The marching band began practice August 19, working for about 10 hours a day to put together a new routine, which will be ready for the Rocky Mountain Showdown this Saturday.
Freshman band member Kyle Henry said that he expected preparing for the game would be a very involved process.
“There’s a lot to think about all at once,” he said. “Putting a whole show together in two weeks takes a lot of work, but we’re doing great.”
Band Director Steve Moore agreed that things were coming along well, describing the band as “muscular, with an incredible amount of spirit,” and the strongest percussion and brass sections that he has seen since he began working at CSU three years ago.
He said the program this year has taken an extra amount of coordination because of a new joint performance with CU that is planned for the pre-game entertainment. The theme for the combined performance is “Salute to America,” and the bands and spirit teams from CSU and CU will intermix to perform the National and World Anthems.
“We’re going to show that there are some things all Coloradans can agree on and that is hope for peace, national harmony and patriotism,” he said. “Then all hell will break lose at the game.”
Chrissy Dusenbery, a member of the coed cheerleading squad who will be returning this year for her third Rocky Mountain Showdown, said that she is excited to see how everything comes together for the game.
“We have a lot of new members on the squad but we also have a lot of talent and potential,” she said. “I think we have a really good football team this year and I have a lot of faith in them.”
The first performance in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Showdown is the CSU Denver Center Pep Rally, which takes place from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. today. Both the spirit team and the marching band will be represented.
On the day of the game both organizations will travel to Denver at approximately 5:30 a.m.
Brenda Bockelman, the Colorado state spirit coordinator, said that many people don’t realize how much time the students who are members of the spirit team put in.
“This is a group that practices from mid-August through the end of May,” she said. “That is more than any other team. But they are really excited.”
Moore believes, however, that all the time that the spirit team and marching band have spent will only lay the groundwork for a great game.
“We want to be the center of spirit,” he said. “We’re trying to create a home field advantage that is unbelievable and that will take not only the band, and the cheerleaders, but also the students.”