DCC Alumni Spotlight – Meredith Walker Kneis
Meredith Walker Kneis was born in Dumas, TX, raised in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex and was a jack of all trades participating in multiple sports, but showing school spirit as a cheerleader was her favorite. Her senior year, however, she decided to take a break from the squad, a decision she believes may have driven her to audition for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders a year later. Meredith actually learned about the DCC audition through an advertisement on the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show, a radio segment broadcast in the mornings throughout the DFW area. Having missed cheering her senior year, Meredith decided to give it another shot and attended the audition for the famous team the day after she went to her Senior Prom with her now-husband Bobby. Though Meredith claims she struggled to master the DCC style, as she was more accustomed to traditional cheer, she made the team on her first try and went on to cheer for the Dallas Cowboys from 1988 to 1990!
Meredith explains how exciting it was to be a DCC during those seasons, for the Dallas Cowboys experienced many changes to the team’s dynamic with Tom Landry ending his 29-year career as Head Coach and Jerry Jones buying the team and becoming General Manager. Her first season on the team, Kelli McGonagill Finglass, now the Director of the DCC, served as her first leader and Tina Miller Kalina, mother to current DCC Victoria, served as her second leader. Meredith danced in the window between the two and was so grateful for their guidance as she navigated her rookie season. To this day, she remains very close friends with many of her teammates! Meredith must have mastered the DCC style quickly though, for she made Show Group her second season and was also a ‘Contagion Girl’ for the group. That second season, Meredith had the opportunity to travel abroad for their USO tour and visited troops in Bahrain, Korea, Japan, Guam, and Diego Garcia, to name only a few. Meredith emphasizes that DCC’s commitment to charity is truly what distinguishes us from all of the rest.
Asked about some of her funniest memories from DCC, Meredith recalls the time she dressed up in a bear outfit to help bring joy to the patients during a children’s hospital visit. The experience even landed her the fitting nickname ‘Mer-Bear.’ She also explained that DCC calendar shoots were not always located on exotic beaches. Instead, they shot their calendar at the Cowboys Headquarters in Valley Ranch and at Kelli & Tina’s apartment complex pool! Above all else, Meredith stresses the importance of sisterhood and tradition, for those are the strengths that bond both current and former DCCs together. Fun fact, Meredith and Tina held the first-ever DCC Halloween party at Tina’s apartment, an annual tradition that continues to this day!
Upon retiring after her second season, Meredith jokes that Judy lovingly teased her about the decision, since she was “finally good” at dancing! Meredith went on to marry her high school sweetheart in 1991, and they now share two beautiful children. Meredith eventually earned her Real Estate License and Home Staging & Design Certification, and now also works as the Vice President for the Freight Broker Company that she owns with her husband. Meredith is an active member of the DCC Alumni Association, devoting her time to help throughout the audition process each year and offer support to DCC candidates. I still remember walking up to get my number at prelims and feeling instantly reassured after seeing Meredith’s bright smile at check-in. Meredith attributes her confidence, care for others, and work ethic to DCC, explaining that her time with the team truly made her the woman she is today. Meredith advises all DCCs, both current and hopeful, to “enjoy every minute of it,” for it is not the hard moments that you will remember in the long run, but the friendships and lives that you have touched.