DCC Alumni Spotlight – Vicki Hammons Woodlee
In 1957, 7-year-old Vicki was a student of the iconic Texie Waterman, former choreographer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who gave the team the style and knowledge to pave the way for NFL cheerleading. Vicki auditioned in 1973 to be a part of Texie’s new dance venture with the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. She made the team and cheered for 2 seasons with the Cowboys. Being an NFL cheerleader was a completely new concept, and they needed to create a path for future cheerleaders for all NFL teams.
Vicki wore the original legendary go-go boots and hot shorts with the fringe vest, but at the time this was not the only uniform. Depending on the performance they also had a leotards and fringe skirts combination that was similar in style to the original. Later the team retired the skirts and kept the hot shorts and vest we see the current DCC wear. Vicki said, “the uniform that was introduced was the current fashion for us 70’s gals, but it was definitely different to dance in them.” Vicki gave me a run-down of what game-day looked like for the first generation of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. ‘‘We drove ourselves on game-day, to Texas stadium and it was so hard to find parking. Then we would change in the same dressing room as the stadium wait staff, and to then head out to cheer”. There was no precedence for the cheerleaders “we didn’t have examples, we were the example” They were truly making HISTORY.
The first time Vicki took the field, she remembers looking up at all the unfamiliar faces in the crowd and being so nervous, but also seeing her now husband in the crowd, and how he calmed her nerves. She was able to cheer the rest of the game that would make history, as the cheerleaders would become their own entity. Vicki said her favorite memory on the team was Thanksgiving Day, 1974 the Cowboys played the Redskins. Roger Staubach was playing QB and the Redskins coach was having his team beat up on Roger. It got to the point when he was injured, which forced Coach Landry to pull Clint Longly off the bench to play QB for the remainder of the game. With 28 seconds on the clock Dallas trailed by 6, Clint threw a 50-yard bomb to Drew Pearson to score a game winning touchdown. Vicki was in the endzone to witness the incredible catch. She said that everything was in slow motion for a minute while that play happened, and she would never forget it.
As if DCC wasn’t keeping Vicki busy enough, she was also working full time as a paralegal, as well as being a part time dance teacher and college student. The cheerleaders practiced on weeknights at Texie Waterman’s dance studio to prepare for the game later in the week. She said it was hard to juggle all the things she was involved in because she was so busy, but that she wouldn’t have changed it for anything. Vicki said, “If I could, I would go back and soak in the joy of every moment I had as a cheerleader”. Vicki said that her time on the team prepared her to be a working mother in the years after she cheered.
Vicki went on to have four sons – 1 firefighter, 2 police officers and a professional choreographer (funny enough I grew up taking class from him, small world). She is so proud and absolutely adores them. Vicki is now a very active member of our alumni organization and makes sure to always be a cheerleader for whoever is currently in the boots. She spreads love and positivity wherever she goes and says that what makes her most proud of being an alumnus, is that the organization keeps the Alumni well in touch with one another. Vicki was a part of history in the making and helped make it possible for girls like me to live out my dream of being a professional dancer, and working for the most iconic sports organization in the world. Thank you for having the courage to be one of the first! I look up to you in so many ways, and I am so grateful for your example and friendship. All my love!
DCC cheers, Maddie