The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders officially released their 2013 swimsuit calendar at a private party inside the Glass Cactus at the Gaylord Texan on Lake Grapevine. The party on Friday included the calendar's featured cheerleaders posing in front of life-sized photos of their "month" and autographing copies of the calendar.
Shot on location in Riviera Maya Mexico, the 2013 swimsuit calendar features select members of the latest edition of America's Sweethearts. The home base during the shoot was the Iberostar Paraiso Maya Resort. For a behind-the-scenes look, the Cowboys Networks and affiliates (including CBS 11 in DFW) will air "Making the Calendar."
The annual party served as a reunion of photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, television crew members and others involved in the finished product. The big night also doubled as a celebration of the 35th year that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have published a calendar featuring the squad.
Since the 2012 DCC party was one of the best events we attended last year, award-winning photographer Roman Pena and I had this night long circled on our calendar. Guests were given goodie bags that included calendars, and were ushered up to the massive club's second level where the 19 DCC rookies waited with big smiles. The featured cheerleaders were lined up along the outer edges of the club to give guests plenty of room to move about and meet each of the ladies.
Being among the first to arrive certainly had its perks; I was able to chat with five-year veteran cheerleader Melissa Kellerman before her calendar signing and picture posing began. She has already announced that this would be her final season on the sidelines of Cowboys Stadium.
"This is always a fun night," Kellerman said. "It is great to see everybody from the calendar shoot again, as well as meeting new people."
The season finale of CMT's Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team was airing on the flatscreen TVs around the room and the live music downstairs only added to the festive atmosphere of the evening. Around 8:30 p.m., the rookies began to mingle with the guests and sign copies of the 2013 squad photo. I was able to catch up with my fellow TCU Horned Frogs, Kelsey Lauren and Jordan Elizabeth, and chat about the upcoming games against Texas and Oklahoma.
Chelsea Elizabeth, a rookie on the squad that we met on the first day of DCC auditions, is still taking time to soak in the experience. "It has been everything I dreamed of and more," she said of her first of what she hopes will be many years with the Cowboys. "Getting to experience nights like this makes it even better."
With the night beginning to wind down around 9:45, we saved the best for last and caught up with old friend Brittney Schram as her line finally began to dwindle to a manageable length. Ever the epitome of a true America's Sweetheart, when asked about her first calendar shoot, Schram was quick to praise the people behind the scenes.
"The people who worked the hardest are the photographers and hair and makeup artists," Schram said. "They were up early every day to make sure the calendar was the best it could be."
The 2013 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar ($15.99) is available in stores now or by visiting here.
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