BYU home football games are filled with school spirit. From the marching band and Cosmo to cheerleaders and the Cougarettes, elements of a home football game are meant to bring fans an exciting game-day experience. It’s easy to get lost in all the Cougar hype.
The football team dedicates hours each day to prepare for a game, but what goes into preparation for other aspects of the BYU game-day celebration? The Cougarettes talked about how they prep for gameday.
Throughout the week, the Cougarettes practice each day for about three hours as a team, but those three hours are often not enough. Most members of the Cougarettes practice more often each week to learn new routines and prepare to perform.
“Because we have to know dance moves to fill four-hour games, we do not have time to go over everything every day. We have a lot of responsibility to make sure that we are doing that on our own, which is actually really fun,” Cougarette co-captain Caroline Tarbet said.
The Cougarettes showcase their talent as a competitive dance team at every home football game, but people might not realize that in addition to their performances at games and viral videos with Cosmo the Cougar, the team is a 19-time national champion.
“We have to think ahead. … We have the BYU Spectacular coming up, and we are prepping for nationals already,” co-captain Emry Wride said. “We have the game, but we also have things like BYU Spectacular practice, preparing for the game and then getting our tricks ready for nationals.
There is more than football games and the BYU Spectacular on the minds of the Cougarettes each week. In particular, the Cougarettes use gameday as a way to prepare for their ultimate goal — competing at NDA Nationals.
“What we do in games is very different than what we do in competition because it is focused on scoring high from the judges. We tell the girls that every time they go out to perform, it is a preparation for nationals,” head coach Jodi Maxfield said.
Tarbet said the team spends extra time preparing and cleaning routines as if they were going to compete with them. She said it’s comparable to prepping for nationals, but the stakes aren’t as high, so the emotions aren’t the same.
This year, the Cougarette squad looks to add to its 19 national championships and seeks a berth dancing for the U.S. at the world championship — a competition they competed in for the first time in 2018.