LARAMIE -- Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the University of Wyoming’s Spirit Squad?

Who are they? Where are they from? What they do?

The UW Cheerleaders, and Wyoming mascot, Pistol Pete, have a great time supporting UW athletics and showcasing their skills at various sporting events, as well as making appearances throughout the community and all over the great state of Wyoming.

During the football season, 7220sports.com’s DJ Johnson will bring you the segment “Spirit Spotlight," highlighting some of the athletes that make it all happen.
Tara Fugate, a Colorado native, is a four-year member of the UW spirit squad./ UW cheer photo
Tara Fugate, a Colorado native, is a four-year member of the UW spirit squad./ UW cheer photo
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Name: Tara Fugate

Hometown: Monument, Colorado

School Year: Senior

Major: English/ Pre-law

Spirt Squad Year: Fourth

 

7220sports: What does your football game day routine look like from the time you wake up until the final game whistle blows?

Tara: So, for a 2 p.m. game, I get up at 7 a.m. at the latest to get my hair and makeup just right. Hair and makeup are very important on gameday because it’s all part of the cheer look: full-face make-up, hair curled to perfection and that takes me about two hours to complete. Once that’s done, we have to be at the field house by 10 a.m. to warm-up and review the Cowboy Walk. From there, we head over to do the Cowboy Walk and then return to the field house where we’ll eat lunch, touch up our make-up and then start warming up for the actual game. From there we’ll hit pre-game and then cheer for the entire game until the final whistle blows.

 

7220sports: Where is your actual locker room and how is it designed?

Tara: It’s actually located in the field house. We didn’t even have a locker room up until about four years ago. So, above the marketing offices, we have three rooms -- one's a girl’s locker room, ones a boy’s locker room and the other is a team room where we keep food and other things. It’s really nice to have the girl’s locker room because it has mirrors where we can touch up our make-up, check our hair and keep all of that stuff right there in that room. Having those rooms are really beneficial to us.

 

7220sports: How do you manage your athletic responsibilities with your academic workload?

Tara: It’s definitely taken me a lot to get adjusted to. In high school, it wasn’t that difficult, but in college, it’s such a bigger workload so time management is key. Each person has to figure out what works best for them because at this level it’s a requirement, not a choice.

 

7220sports: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of cheer?

Tara: Outside of cheer, I really like to go to the gym. That’s something that I’ve always been passionate about, and I go to the gym every day. So even if we have practice that day, I’ll still go to then gym. For example, on days that we’re scheduled to lift for cheer, I’ll go before on my own and work on cardio and abs. On the days that we don’t have scheduled lift, I’ll go on my own and do actual weightlifting. Some of my other interests are snowboarding and I also like the basic girl things like doing make-up and shopping.

 

7220sports: Describe your most embarrassing moment while cheering at a game -- high school or college -- and what did you learn from that experience?

Tara: Well, I didn’t cheer in high school. I just started in college. It wasn’t during a game but it was actually two years ago at Nationals in California. For that routine, I was the center flyer and I literally messed up on everything I could have possible messed up on. I cried afterwards and it was so embarrassing. That’s something that I’ll never forget.

 

7220sports: What would you do if you saw a teammate struggling to learn a new move, stunt or dance?

Tara: Something that I’ve picked up on and that I’ve found helps others is to let them know that everyone has been in their position. We all were new at one time. I see some of the freshmen come in scared because they see all of the returners and are like, wow, they already know all the routines and all of the steps and they’re doing everything perfect. So, I always like to remind the new members that dancing was hard for me before I started, and that they really don’t have anything to worry about because again, we’ve all been there before.

 

7220sports: Do you have any pre-game superstitions? You know, those weird things that only you understand or do for reasons unknown to others?

Tara: I don’t know if this counts as a superstition, but I like to have my make-up put on the exact same way for every game. For example, for volleyball games and basketball games, I switch it up a little. For a football game, I have a specific look that I use on my eyes. I’ll wear the same eyelashes and I just want everything to be exactly the same for every football game.

 

7220sports: The "Beer Son"’ is a classic Wyoming tradition. What goes through your mind when you hear the band start to play it and the students start to sing?

Tara: Oh, I don’t know, I actually just got the chills thinking about it. You really can’t describe it, it just makes you feel like, wow, this is really a united fan base. It really is about the crowd engagement. As a cheerleader, that’s exactly what you want. It’s similar to the "W-Y-O" cheer that we do during pre-game where the entire stadium is involved.

 

7220sports: I know some student athletes actually hold jobs while going to school. Are you one of those?

Tara: Yes, I am. I actually work at the Laramie Youth Crisis Center where I’m a crisis care professional where I help kids with their treatment. Kids come in who have criminal charges and I help with their treatment by coming up with activities that will help in their treatment plans. I chose this job because I felt like it would help me prepare for law school and provide me great experiences in helping people.

 

7220sports: We live in a world where social media influences our daily life. In your opinion, what is one pro, and one con of social media as a whole?

Tara: One pro is definitely it allows you to keep in touch with your friends and family, even though I see my closest friends every day. Everyone leaves at some point and social media allows you to stay in touch with those friends as they continue on with their lives. It’s especially nice to keep in touch with fellow cheer members once they leave. For a con, I would say is the overall news that is portrayed on the various platforms. Recently on Twitter I’ve noticed that people just form their own opinions and that’s not even real news, yet people believe anything they read on there.

 

7220sports: If you could have dinner with any person -- living or not -- who would it be and why?

Tara: Luke Bryan. I love country music. I’ve seen his music videos and he seems like such a cool guy. I obviously really like his music. At dinner, I would ask him when he’s coming back to Cheyenne Frontier Days because I really want to see him.

 

My favorite food is: Donuts, especially the ones with white frosting and sprinkles

My favorite restaurant in Laramie is: Crowbar & Grill

My favorite music artist is: Luke Bryan and Morgan Wallen

Describe Laramie in 5 words: Fun, small, kind, cold, united

My favorite UW football players is: Rocket Ismail Jr.

My favorite thing about football gameday is: Cowboy Walk. I love following and dancing with the band

One thing I can't live without: My cell phone

Can you ride a horse: Yes

Favorite quote: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” -Matthew 6:33

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