Portales mascot earns All-American designation

Portales High School mascot Rammy will be representing the Portales school district at the 2012 Capital One Bowl pre-game in Orlando, Fla., in January of 2012.

Rammy was the only mascot out of the several Curry and Roosevelt county mascots who tried out for the event to be chosen to attend.

The event is the second largest college football game in the U.S., according to Melanie Berry, Universal Cheerleaders Association vice president of special events.

Berry said junior high and high school cheerleaders, mascots and dancers who are chosen as All-American cheerleaders/mascots to perform at the event are in the top 12 percent of those who attend UCA cheerleading summer camps.

“They go through a tryout at camp where they are judged,” Berry said. “They are judged by their character and their ability to be able to spontaneously interact with the audience and inspire school spirit.”

Kierra Seales, a 16-year-old junior at Portales High school, plays the role of Rammy.

Seales said along with attending practices in the off season with Portales cheerleaders and cheerleader coach Barbara Isaacs, she also attended cheerleading camp at the Eastern New Mexico University campus for the first time this summer and she found out about the All-American tryouts the day before they were held.

She said she went home and stayed up all night preparing a dance routine for the auditions the next day.

“I came out and blew kisses to the cheerleaders because Rammy’s a boy so he’s a flirt,” Seales said, laughing. “I was very confident about it. That’s what you have to do is be confident that you’re going to win. You’ve got to put your all into it.”

Seales began her routine by pressing a pretend button on the giant iPod she constructed for the performance then danced to various songs, such as “Baby Got Back,” “Footloose” and “Are You Ready for This?”

Seales said she found out she had been chosen for the all-star event the last day of camp and she was “beyond excited.”

“I love being a mascot,” Seales said. “I love making people happy. I love it when little kids get so excited about it. I like that they see me as the school symbol. It’s an honor.”

Berry said mascots are the admirals of their schools, representing the school and its spirit.

“They should demonstrate leadership qualities, athletic qualities and care about the other cheerleaders around them and have good sportsmanship,” said Sheila Noone, vice president of public relations for UCA, about those who are chosen for the pre-game. “The honor really sets them apart from their peers and makes them someone we really want to showcase and reward…for all their hard work.”