Black Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Alumna
FIRST BLACK FEMALE DISC JOCKEY AT KVIL
Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Teri Richarson dies at age 53
September 7, 2010
Teri Richardson was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for five years. She was a member of the Show Group and a group leader. She made several appearances with the DCC, including both made-for-TV movies and one episode of The Love Boat.
After hanging up her boots and pom poms, Richardson became the first black female disc jockey at Dallas' KVIL.
Nowadays, she lives each day to the fullest, which is exactly what she was doing in 1978 when she was majoring in dance at North Texas State in Denton and walked into a 7-11 store and saw a poster of the Cowboys cheerleaders and by coincidence heard radio personality Ron Chapman announcing tryouts for the group.
Richardson showed up at Texas Stadium with 1,600 other women to vie for 20 of the group's 40 spots, which included four alternates.
Richardson was a cheerleader in high school at Sugar Land (Texas) Dulles and an accomplished dancer, but admits to having some doubts.
"I thought man there is no way in the world I am going to make this," Richardson said. "That was the first time I ever wasn't confident for a hot second.
"There were girls everywhere. Beautiful girls from all over the world. They were the hottest thing going at the time."
The candidates were instructed to dance before a panel of judges that included Chapman and were told to stay behind a line of tape on the floor.
"I had to do something to make myself memorable," Richardson said. "They said do not cross the line and what do I do, I cross the line.
"I went up to Ron Chapman and rubbed his bald head. Everybody started laughing. I wanted to make sure they remembered who I was."
Richardson advanced to the finals of the tryouts where she stood firm when asked by cheerleader sponsor Suzanne Mitchell if she would be willing to alter her appearance by cutting her hair or losing weight.
"She was a very intimidating woman and she had the power to say you're gone," Richardson said. "But I'm going to be me.
"My mother taught me to have confidence in myself. I said I'm pretty comfortable with myself the way I am. I like my hair, I kind of like my size. So I like myself."
Mitchell liked Richardson, who made the squad and was also a member of the traveling show team for four of the five years she spent with the group.
"It was the greatest thing I have ever done in my life," Richardson said. "It was a big commitment. My whole life was consumed by it. I couldn't leave the house without makeup on. You always had to be on. My whole life changed overnight."
Richardson was in the "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" movie, which aired on ABC. She was part of "The 36 Most Beautiful Girls in Texas" television special. She appeared at the televised Country Music Awards.
She kept her job teaching Jazzmatics classes while practicing with the cheerleaders four hours a day up to six days a week, getting Saturday off when the Cowboys played on the road.
She traveled to USO shows in Japan, Turkey, Greece, the Philippines, South Korea and Germany.
She also made numerous appearances around the country, which helped supplement the $15 the cheerleaders were paid per game.
Richardson left the cheerleaders after the 1983 season and almost became a flight attendant. But American Airlines wanted to send her to Chicago or New York and she wasn't fond of cold weather.
Chapman offered Richardson a position at KVIL where she did the overnight shift, making history in the process.
Sometimes she'll glance at her Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders pictures and remember how she got there.
"I'm always willing to take a chance and do something to make yourself stand out," she said. "I took a chance, I gambled and I won."
Today, Richardson cares for her 11-year-old daughter Zaharia and her 10-year-old son Zachary. She is also looking forward to her son Sterling's senior season of basketball at San Antonio Brandeis.
Portions of this were taken from Mike Forman's article in the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org