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As they marched their way down JFK Boulevard and 20th Street at the United States’ oldest Thanksgiving Day parade, two Owen County cheerleaders were surrounded by hundreds of adoring young girls.
Veronica Chisholm and Hannah Runion traveled to Philadelphia, Nov. 23 to perform with 250 other cheerleaders in the 92nd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The two tried out for the event this past summer at UCA Cheerleading camp.
Chisholm said the two tried out as part of a squad and each were judged on one routine, one cheer and one jump.
Results were not available until a day later and only eight would make the cut.
“We had to wait an entire day before we found anything out,” Runion said. “It was nerve-racking and I was shaking.”
The pair said the trip to Philadelphia is one they won’t soon forget.
“It was freezing when we got to the parade,” Chisholm said. “It was only a mile long, but it lasted three to four hours. It was so much fun getting to see the faces of all the little girls when this huge group of cheerleaders would pass by.”
Runion said the reaction from the young girls in the audience was priceless.
“Their faces would just light up,” Runion said. “It was awesome.”
Runion said there were some famous people performing in the parade, including a band called All Star Weekend, which appears on Disney channel’s “Next Big Thing.”
“The lady that sung the music for our routine was famous,” Chisholm said. “I can’t remember her name though ... She’s older, not someone our generation would really recognize.”
The girls also performed in the parades finale, which the two said was a record-breaking finale for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“There were stilt walkers, dancers, singers, cheerleaders and all kinds of different stuff going on,” Runion said.
During their visit to Philadelphia, the two stayed at a Sheraton Hotel, saw the Delaware River and visited the Liberty Bell.
“Wednesday night we got to have dinner on a cruise ship on the Delaware River,” Chisholm said. “It was all of the girls who performed at the parade.”
Runion said it was the most fun night of their time in Philadelphia.
“It was the nicest boat I’ve ever been on,” Runion said. “I loved it.”
The two now have their sights set on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held in New York, N.Y. each year.
“As you get older you progress at UCA camp,” Runion said. “The parades get bigger as you get older. We’re definitely going to talk to our future high school coach about going to UCA camp. I look forward to it every year, and it could give us bigger opportunities.”
The two agreed that their trip to Philadelphia could help them out in the future.
“We can put stuff like this on college resumes,” Runion said. “To get an athletic or cheerleading scholarship, they look for stuff like this. (University of Kentucky) looks at it too.”
Chisholm and Runion said they plan to continue cheering when they begin high school next year.
Runion is a captain on this year’s MBMS cheerleading squad and Chisholm has been cheering for two years.