Weeks of fundraising have paid off for Del Norte High School's drill team members, who will perform during halftime of Sunday's pro football contest between the San Franfransisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in San Fransisco.
The 30-member team sold candy bars and beef jerky, held car washes and bake sales and even bagged groceries at Shop Smart Food Warehouse to raise the $350 each for the trip, said coach Terri Colton. They left for the Bay Area early Friday.
"This is the biggest game of the year for the 49ers," Colton said. "The girls will have a great time. It's an experience of a lifetime for them."
The drill team has been traveling to San Francisco to perform with the Gold Rush Dancers - the 49ers' cheerleaders - for about 15 years now, Colton said. Up until this year, the team's trip has been organized through the United Spirit Association, which allows teams to try out for a chance to perform at a 49ers game. But because this is the football team's last year at Candlestick Park, United Spirit Association opted not to invite drill teams to perform in San Francisco, she said.
Colton said she contacted the 49ers organization directly and explained how important it was to her girls to perform in San Francisco. The company that provides the entertainment for 49ers games then enrolled the drill team into the Junior Gold Rush Dancer program.
Once they arrive in San Francisco, the drill team will practice with the Gold Rush Dancers today, learning the routine they will perform. There will be a photo shoot prior to the game Sunday and then they will perform, Colton said.
"We don't know anything until Saturday," she said, adding that the girls have no idea what they will perform. "Sometimes they have special guest stars; they had Train one year. They have all different kinds of people (and) we don't know what it is until Saturday when we get there."
For many of Colton's girls, visiting the big city will be a new experience. It's a good opportunity for them to see what's out there, she said.
"They get to see that there's something bigger," Colton said. "There's jobs and opportunities and more than just what they see on a daily basis and I think that's a huge experience. I've got kids now who want to be event organizers and do different things."
The game will start at 1:25 p.m. and will be televised on Fox.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org.