DCC Alumni Spotlight – Tami Barber
Tami Barber exemplifies how bright the Cowboys Star really shines. I had the honor of speaking with Tami about her time as a cheerleader from 1977 to 1980 and her adventures after retiring her boots.
Tami grew up as an only child from Nebraska and was involved in ballet and dance from the age of four. Two years after traveling to Arlington, Texas to attend an all- girl University, she decided to make her dream a reality and audition for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She admitted that auditioning was a foreign experience for her. It wasn’t until after finding out two thousand hopefuls auditioned that she realized the feat she had conquered of earning one of fourteen rookie spots on the ’77 squad.
During her time on the team, she wore one of the first versions of the iconic uniform. Tami spoke of how the uniform at that time lacked any sparkle like current uniforms, but the pleather go-go styled boots that zipped up to the knee were unforgettable to perform in. Because Texas stadium was shaped like a turtle’s back, when it rained, the water would filter to where the cheerleaders danced so their pleather boots would slosh around with water. Her pom poms served almost as a blanket over her because they were so big and covered her entire body!DCC routines during Tami’s career would start at the goal post and would shoot to the center of the field. She explained that you would work the entire field going from one tunnel to the opposite 25-yard line.
Tami was a member of the elite Show Group and participated in two USO tours. Trips through South Korea and Japan, Tami still holds tokens of gratitude including a string of pearls and a beautiful kimono. Tami’s favorite trip was traveling to be a part of “The Love Boat” where she had the opportunity to act in a scene with Ginger Rodgers. Even though Tami said she was so nervous to take the stage with an idol like Ginger Rodgers, Rodgers was so sweet and supportive, and it was a memory she will always cherish. This was only one of the many star appearances Tami made while on the team.
Other appearances included the CBS Challenge of the Sexes, with Phyllis George as her coach, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader movies and the tv special “The 36 Most Beautiful Girls in Texas,” which was filmed at Six flags where she danced in the park and filmed on the rides. Tami was also able to make the trip to Utah for an Osmond Brothers special, where she met Bob Hope. Bob saw Tami on another appearance a year later and still remembered her by name.
Other than her ballet teacher from the ages 4 to 18, Texie Waterman was Tami’s other mentor. Tami spoke so highly of Ms. Waterman using the word “goddess” to describe the image that her and her teammates viewed her as. If it wasn’t for Texie, Tami firmly believes that NFL cheerleaders wouldn’t exist. It was because of Texie’s vision to bring a Broadway production performance to a football field that cheerleaders played the role that they did in game day.
Since her time in Texas, Tami moved to Utah in November 2019 where she resided in her 35 ft camper, which was always a dream of hers. In the Red Rocks of Utah, Tami was an employee of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary working as a Life- Saving Care Specialist for Parrots in Utah here she helps to rescue animals and care for them while trying to find their forever home. She loves having her own dogs, cats, and birds with her on the adventures cross-country. Recently, Tami has driven her truck and camper back to Louisiana and lives just 30 minutes from the New Orleans Super Dome. The last time she had been to the Super Dome was Super Bowl XII in 1978, where the Cowboys defeated the Broncos.
Quarantine has been hard for Tami because she is such a people-person, like all DCC, but she is so happy for Facebook to keep in touch with everyone. Being an only child, Tami said that her DCC teammates truly are her sisters and best friends. My favorite part of our conversation was that Tami ensured me that even 40 years later, a DCC will never lose the relationships they create. DCC’s bonds will continue to grow and be rich, and if not richer, because you will go through life together now. “People try to put us up against each other, but they can’t because we are all best friends. It will always be us against the world”. Thank you for your time and dedication to the DCC sisterhood, Tami!