DCC Alumni Spotlight – Kim Chapman Oden
I had the privilege of speaking with Kim Chapman Oden, who cheered for the Dallas Cowboys for the 1982 and 1983 seasons. I noticed many similarities between Kim and myself, and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her. Kim is a native of Longview, Texas, where she grew up training in dance and twirling. She was fond of dancing and performing from a young age and attended Kilgore College where she was a Kilgore College Rangerette. She then graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. After completing her university studies, Kim became a schoolteacher, where she taught English.
One of the first questions I asked Kim is what sparked her interest in auditioning to become a DCC. She said that one day while teaching at her school, she came across a news article that featured the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Kim said she thought to herself, “I could still do that.” She told me that even though she had stopped dancing for a few years, she knew she could still do it. I immediately connected with Kim on this topic and admired her confidence. We shared a similar journey in that we both made it to the final round, but unfortunately did not make the squad our first try. Kim said that making it to the very end motivated her to audition again the next year. She said that she worked extremely hard for the next 10 months, and her dedication paid off when she made the 1982 squad.
Kim accomplished a great deal during her two years on the team. She was a Show Group member both years, completed four USO tours, participated in telethons in Chicago, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, and was a 2nd group leader in her second year on the team. Kim mentioned that she immediately bonded with the current choreographer, Judy Trammell, after making the team. They were two of the only married girls on the team, and their husbands even bonded and became great friends when Kim and Judy left for their USO tour around Christmas time. They have remained close friends since their time on the team and even became pregnant with their first children just months apart. Kim and her husband Brent have two daughters together, Meredith Oden Root and Mackenzie Oden McCall. Kim shares a special bond with her daughters- both were Kilgore College Rangerettes and Meredith was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader from 2007-2011.
Some of Kim’s most cherished memories as a DCC were from the USO tours she completed. She traveled to Turkey, Greece, the Philippines, Diego Garcia, Korea, The Azores, Italy, Egypt, and The Sinai Desert. She felt it was an incredible honor to be given the opportunity to personally thank our servicemen and women who were serving overseas. I asked Kim what she thinks has changed since her time on the team. To my delight she answered, “Other than technology, I think that most things within the process are pretty much the same.” She said that when she auditioned the process was exactly the same as it is today. The girls went through training camp, and some girls got cut. She mentioned that her rookie season was particularly stressful because even at the time of the squad photo she was still not sure if she made the team or not. However, Kim spoke very highly of their director at the time, Suzanne Mitchell, and said she was like a mother figure to them.
When I asked Kim what was the most valuable lesson she learned from being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, she replied, “It was a wonderful, new experience to be on a team with ladies who were diverse in age. In the past, I had been on performance teams with ladies my own age, but I found it marvelous to have teammates from 18-29. We all learned a great deal from each other.” Hearing Kim speak about her time as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader strengthened and solidified my feelings on just how special our DCC sisterhood is. Even though times have changed, and trends have come and gone, it warms my heart to know that there are hundreds of women out there who have experienced the same rewarding journey of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.