DCC Alumni Spotlight – D’Laine Gutmann Herring
A Texas girl through-and-through, D’Laine Gutmann grew up in Beaumont, a small city in southeastern Texas. Beaumont is known as the ‘Spindletop Boomtown’ for the oil found at the Spindletop Hill which sparked an oil boom in Texas that continues today. Although it was less than a 5-hour drive to the old Texas Stadium in Irving, D’Laine had never attended a professional football game before. Little did she know that her first football game ever would be the opening home game of the Dallas Cowboys in 1991, and she’d be wearing the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform while cheering on the sidelines. D’Laine had trained in classical ballet at the Marsha Woody Academy of Dance. She learned from impressive mentors including Robert Scevers, Rebekah Harkness, and one of the orginal memebers of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Madam Nathalie Krassovska often visited to teach classes. But at a certain point in her life, she found herself at a crossroads with her passions. Would she continue onto medical school or pursue her love for dance? Knowing she could always continue her education and complete her schooling after, D’Laine decided to take the chance of a lifetime and try out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading. All of her classical training paid off, and she made the team on her first audition!
This was only the beginning of D’Laine’s dance accomplishments. Her training would again pay off when she earned a coveted spot on the elite Show Group, a selected smaller traveling performance squad. D’Laine was completely shocked and proud of this amazing achievement, as she would have the opportunity to participate in the legendary USO tours as a part of DCC history.
“I remember flying on a MAC flight and sitting beside Tina Miller Kalina and Kelli McGonagill ,Finglass in our parkas and having to place rubber ear plugs to reduce the noise, as those flights are not insulated. We then landed on a glacier in Thule, Greenland just south of the North Pole!” Show Group would spend time visiting with the military and performing routines for the troops. They arrived during the time of year that remains completely daylight for six months straight. “I remember waking at 0300 and thinking I overslept because is was light outside!” They also earned their ‘Blue Noses’ upon arrival because they had crossed the Arctic Circle while traveling there, a story that Kelli still shares with the team today. From Greenland, they traveled onto Iceland, where they visited the Blue Lagoon, enjoyed the healing properties of clay from geothermal seawater, and had the chance to watch the Northern Lights. They completed the 25th USO tour in Newfoundland and England. “Meeting them personally and shaking their hands was an honor and privilege that I hold dear. To this day I thank our military for being the heroes that they are.”
D’Laine certainly had once-in-a lifetime experiences with her time on DCC, but some of her favorite memories revolved around more of the seemingly routine rehearsals. She says her memories are as vivid today as they were then. “Nightly practices with my sisters and all the shenanigans that go on in the dressing room after late nights, I could go on and on… It was a magical time, a time to serve our community and to grow personally doing what we loved: performing and cheering on our Dallas Cowboys. There is nothing else like it.” Some of her favorite traditions (pregame huddle, pinkies connected while saying the Lord’s Prayer before a performance) are traditions that are still followed by the team to this day. Her advice to any cheerleader now is to be present in the moment, and recognize it is a gift. “Every aspect of this organization is different than any other. Yes, it is difficult to earn a spot, and rightfully so. Once you become a DCC, you are one for life.”
D’Laine did continue with her medical education and career, earning her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate from South University. When her mother was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer, D’Laine dedicated her time to researching hormonally driven cancers. Through her research, she was able to help her mother shrink the tumors before her first chemo treatment. The surgical oncologist was so impressed by this that he donated his surgery to her, and donated a large sum in her honor to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. D’Laine went on to work in the ER and through a coincidence of connections, one of her patients offered her a job as medical advisor to the show TNT Dallas, where she stayed for all three seasons. She now practices in Texas as a Nurse Practitioner and founded On Call Direct Care, a comprehensive TeleHealth clinic.
She credits much of her success to what she learned in her time with DCC. “I cannot say my life’s journey would have brought me where I am today without my experiences as a DCC. I remain loyal and active to our organization, and my sisters past, present, and future.” D’Laine is still the vision of a true Texas girl. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband, an architect who graduated from Texas A&M. Together they have a ranch in Kaufman County complete with a herd of Texas Longhorn cattle, three retired show horses, a stray donkey, and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.