ELKIN - Elkin senior Emi Loving is headed on a trip of a lifetime.
Loving, a member of Kernersville’s Cheer Extreme Coed Elite, won a trip to Liverpool, England for Jamfest Euros, a weekend cheerleading showcase.
After edging three other coed teams at Jamfest Majors - “the Super Bowl of all-star cheerleading” - in Orlando, Fla., Cheer Extreme was given a $20,000 prize toward a trip to Europe to participate in the showcase.
“It was the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced,” Loving said after winning Majors. “It’s just crazy how cheerleading can take me so many places. And to be able to go and compete at Jamfest Euros is an amazing honor.”
“I am so excited. I have had my bags packed for a long time,” she added.
While all-star cheerleading has evolved over the past decade in the United States, the sport is relatively new in Europe, according to Loving, so the trip will be “educational.”
In addition to the showcase, Cheer Extreme will be hosting a meet-and-greet, where the team will sign autographs, take photographs and meet their fans. Meanwhile they’ll also be teaching a clinic.
“Cheerleading in Europe is just kind of starting out,” Loving said. “So our trip is like an educational experience. There’s no one for us to compete against there, so we’re just showcasing. We’re doing a little sight-seeing before the competition, because when it starts on Friday, we’re going to be busy with meet-and-greets, autographs, pictures and teaching the clinic. And then we’re doing a showcase twice on Sunday. It’s going to be a busy, busy weekend.”
Loving said she’s excited to meet one fan in particular — an English girl who stayed up all night to watch her team compete in the Majors.
“The Majors were broadcasted live over a website, and there were groups of cheerleaders in Europe that would have a ‘cheer-over’, where they would sleep over and watch the event,” she said. “One girl messaged me and said, ‘I stayed up all night waiting to see you guys, and when you won, I cried.’ She said she booked her ticket that night, so I’ll get to meet her when I’m over there.
“I have had people message me and add me on Facebook from all over the world, just because of the team I cheer on,” Loving said. “I just can’t believe it.”
Loving, the only member from the Elkin area, says she’s excited to experience this trip with what she calls her family.
“I love my team so much,” she said. “I have spent every competition with them, weekend practices, hours and hours in the gym with them. We’ve fought through so much together; they’re like my family. I have brothers and sisters on that team that I have been with for three years. I just can’t imagine playing another sport; cheerleading is my life and I just love it so much.”
The 17-year-old leaves for England today and will return home next Monday.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.