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Confessions of a Rangerette: Local dancers give their exclusive look

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An international icon known for their high kicks and patriotic costumes, not much has changed for the Kilgore College Rangerettes’ style. In 1939, Kilgore College Dean B.E. Masters decided that the college needed an organization that would attract young women to the college and stop brawls from breaking out during football games.

Masters hired Miss Gussie Nell Davis to Kilgore College to create something entirely unique: the Kilgore College Rangerettes. As the first group of its kind in the world, the Rangerettes introduced the half-time show to the football gridiron. Miss Davis' team took to the field during the 1940 football season and many other institutions followed suit, bringing about the skilled drill teams seen today. There are whispers throughout the Cedar Park dance world about the prestigious honor of becoming a Rangerette and how difficult it is to get there.

Kilgore College sophomore and Rangerette Captain Cierra Birmingham recounted the day she found out she selected as part of the 78th line with only 36 other young women. 

“I got to Kilgore on a Sunday for tryouts and go through the whole week and then, on that Friday, it was June 14, 2017, I went into Dodson Auditorium and they do this thing called sign-drop,” explained Birmingham. “The directors drop this glittery sign and you look for your number on it. My number was 35. I went up against 88 other girls trying out for the team. I could not believe it. It was a very challenging week and seeing my number up there was a blessing.”

Birmingham is from Leander and graduated from Rouse High School in 2017. 

“There’s so much about this organization that makes it so different and so special compared to other organizations,” said Birmingham. “The sisterhood that we have is unlike anything else. We are all so close and being a Rangerette helps you to become a respectful young lady and being humble. It opens your eyes to the things in life that really matters.”

Birmingham is majoring in Dance and hope to try out for the Ohio State or Texas Tech Dance Teams. 

Nikki Evans, the current director of dance at Cedar Park High School, was a Rangerette on the 67th line during her 2006-2007 school year at Kilgore College.

“I was really focused on dance in high school,” Evans said. “I knew that, in some capacity, I wanted to be involved in dance for the rest of my life… what really made me interested in trying out for Rangerettes was knowing that everyone on the team was extremely disciplined and wanted to be there. They have the same goals in mind, they want to work hard and conduct themselves in a certain way. It’s very traditional and the rules seem a bit intense from the outside, but once you’re in it, you work your way up and earn your privileges through learning. I was so intrigued by that and get to the next level in dance.”

Evans said that the organization has impacted many Cedar Park High School staff members and former students including former dance director Stacy Danielson and former student Katie Seesselberg. 

“It is everything to a dancer,” Evans explained. “It is literally everything that encompasses my personality and completely turned me into the person I am today as far as just having the confidence and self-esteem. On that organization, I was constantly being built up and I was around other ladies and directors that respected me and loved me. We all shared a common goal. It almost makes me want to cry thinking about it because I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have that in my life. That was one of the best days of my life, making that team.”

The Rangerettes are arguably the world's best-known collegiate drill team, traveling from coast-to-coast and border-to-border in the United States and on several world tours.

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