WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The 2019 Colts Cheerleading squad has been finalized and it includes several from Purdue. It's a pretty competitive process to make it on the team. There are only 26 spots, and four of the spots went to Purdue women. And one was won by a woman who has even closer ties to the Lafayette area.
Caitie Madden was born and raised in West Lafayette, and it was here that her love for dance began.
"All of my dancer training has been done in town," she said. "I started off just as a community dancer and really got my training at my high school dance team."
She was a Raiderette at William Henry Harrison High School, and her dance career continued when she got to Purdue.
"I've been on the Golduster Dance Team for four years, I was the co-captain for two of those years," she said. "All of my dance training has helped me prepare for Colts auditions."
According to the Colts website, the auditions took place over the course of an entire week earlier in March. It consisted of the auditionees performing their own improvised dance routine, and they even had to go through an interview process.
Caitie is one of four former Goldusters to make the 2019 Colts Cheer Squad. As the Colts enter their 35th year as the Indianapolis NFL team, the cheer program is starting its Next Chapter initiative. According to its website, they are focusing "on showcasing the athleticism, talent and character of our athlete-performers, this next chapter will include a new educational and professional development program, expanded community service experiences, a new uniform and an expanded Junior Cheer program. This approach is designed to elevate the Colts Cheerleaders as one of the top cheer and dance squads in the NFL by departing from many of the stereotypes often associated with professional cheerleading and redefining what it means to be a cheerleader and an athlete-performer."
This new phase of the program is also brining new, more conservative uniforms. Madden said she is happy that the Colts is changing its viewing on the cheer team.
"I'm so excited for the Colts Next Chapter," she said. "I love that there is such an emphasis on the character and the intellect and the career of the women that are cheerleading."
Emma McAllister is a current Golduster co-captain and former teammate of Maddens'. She also likes the direction the Colts is taking its cheer program
"It's empowering women to be the best version of themselves while also getting to do what they love versus being just another object on the field to look at," she said. McAllister said she followed in her mom's footsteps when she became a Purdue Golduster. Though only a junior at Purdue, McAllister said if she's still around Indianapolis when she graduates, she also hopes to become a Colts Cheerleader.
Which is exactly something Madden said she hopes for: to empower the next generation of young female performers.
"A lot of us have full time jobs we're students and we're more than just performers as well," she said.
Madden will be balancing being a full-time graduate student studying speech pathology this fall along with being a Colts Cheerleader. She said she's excited for her own next chapter.
The Purdue Goldusters will be holding auditions on April 6th. Click here to register.
Four former Purdue Goldusters made it onto the 2019 Indianapolis Cheer Team. From left, Cassidy Howard, Lexie Costa, Madison Rinehart, Caitie Madden. Photo courtesy of Caitie Madden.