As Alex Roberts begins her senior year at East Peoria Community High School, she is already looking forward to Christmas break.


As Alex Roberts begins her senior year at East Peoria Community High School, she is already looking forward to Christmas break.

Roberts is a third year Raiderette and co-captain along with Tiffany McCarthy and Taylor Schofield. She and her fellow dance team members will travel to Memphis, Tenn., this December to perform at the Liberty Bowl’s half-time show.

“The Raiderettes weren’t as respected, (as other sports teams) in this school,” Roberts said. “I think this is kind of a wake up call, like, ‘Wow, they actually are doing a lot of things and are going on this awesome trip.’”

Along with the half-time performance, the “awesome trip” includes an appearance in the Beale Street Parade and a total price tag of about $14,000.

“I don’t think any of the other sports are going on a trip like this,” Roberts said. “I think it’s really awesome to get us out there.”

“I think overall it’s going to be really rewarding for us as a team because I think in the past we haven’t really been able to do many things like this,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s really rewarding for us for all of the hard work we’ve put in.”

“It’s kind of like a final reward, especially for the seniors before we go off to college,” Schofield added.

Raiderette coach Erica Reinhart, superintendent Chuck Nagel and a few parents are planning on making the trip, as well.

“The more the merrier,” Reinhart said. “Taking the girls out of state is a huge responsibility, and I want as much adult and parental supervision as possible.”

It will cost each individual Raiderette about $650 to go on the trip. That will cover each girl’s share of the charter bus expenses, the half-time performance, the parade, game ticket, hotel accommodations for three nights, breakfast each morning, two catered lunches, instructors at the event, transportation, show costume, souvenir package and liability insurance.

“We’re going to be doing fundraising together,” Reinhart said. “If parents want to contribute, that is absolutely fine.”

Fundraisers will include takeover nights at various area restaurants including Culver’s, Qdoba and Buffalo Wild Wings; a fundraiser with Yankee Candle; and candy bar sales. They will set up fundraising tables at home football games throughout the season.

“Pretty much anything we can do to raise money we’re going to do,” Reinhart said.

Reinhart said there were a few bowl game options to choose from including the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Orange Bowl in Miami.

“They were both also excellent opportunities, but the Memphis location was the selling point for me,” she said. “If we went to one of the other two, we would be responsible for airfare, and not as many parents would be able to attend.”

The trip will last from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1.

“They won’t miss any school,” Reinhart said. “They come back to school on (Jan.) 4 from Christmas break, so it actually works out really nicely for us.”

She added that the other bowl games they had to choose from would have interfered with the school schedule.

“I don’t think the school board would have been as excited about it had that been the case,” said Reinhart, who addressed board members Aug. 16.

The board members unanimously approved the trip.

Reinhart, a 2003 EPCHS graduate and former Raiderette, said that this group of girls has not had an opportunity like this during their years as Raiderettes.

“I’m really looking forward to getting them out there and just showing what they can do,” Reinhart said. “I was a dancer in college, so I know what it’s like to get opportunities like this and not get them in high school. So when this came to me I really jumped at the chance to give them an opportunity like this.”