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Making the team: Las Vegas Raiderettes to host NFL season auditions

Posted at 7:28 AM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 10:49:17-04

HENDERSON (KTNV) — Established in 1961 as the Oakland Raiderettes, the Las Vegas Raiderettes, also known as "Football's Fabulous Females," dance team leaves behind glitter wherever they go.

It's a sisterhood, rooted in community outreach and lifting each other up. “I let our new generation of Las Vegas Raiderettes know what this team means to me and its family,” said Shaniah, the current Raiderette team captain.

Shaniah has been a part of the team for seven years, traveling with the Raiderettes from Oakland to Las Vegas.

As the NFL football season begins, Shaniah is hanging up her pom-poms and curtsying off the field as she completes her final season on the team.

Shaniah certainly left a mark on the organization. She made Raiderette of the year, taking her to the ProBowl to represent the Raiders as a Pro Bowl cheerleader — pro-dancing’s highest honor.

“There are so many different elements to being a Raiderette," she said. "Obviously, the performance aspect of it being out on the field, filling Allegiant Stadium's energy with all of our Raider fans, and then of course there’s the element where you’re out in the community being a true advocate and ambassador for the organization. The third element and final element is just being a good sister. My family is really small so this has been an extension of my family for so long."

Known as a "dream team" for many dancers, making the Raiderettes can be a challenge.

“The Raiders have always been my dream team because back home we’re really really big Raider fans. They were like the first pro-cheerleaders that like I’ve ever laid my eyes on so I was locked in," said Raiderette Veteran Mackenzie. She's been dancing with the Raiderettes for four seasons and has had quite the journey becoming a part of the Silver and Black.

"I didn’t make it my first time," said Mackenzie. "I actually didn’t make it my second time. And on the third time. Actually, in total, it was my thirteenth audition going through audition processes."

Mackenzie traveled and auditioned all over California until she finally made her dream squad, proving that dedication and hard work pay off.

The Raiderettes are currently led by Director Tiphanie McNiff, who understands the dedication it takes to be on the team firsthand.

“I was fortunate enough to spend four seasons cheering for the Oakland Raiderettes," said Mcniff. "With our recent move to Las Vegas we really put forth so much effort to get out in front of the community to help and something exciting that the Raiderettes will be offering this year is we’re actually opening up our studio to the general public where will be offering classes for both youth and adults."

Each year the Raiderettes offer prep classes and visit local high school dance teams to pay it forward to the next generation of dancers.

Outside of the glitz and glam, 13 Action News got to get a glimpse of what it really takes to be a part of the team. Tryouts for the upcoming 2023 NFL season are Saturday, April 16.

Mackenzie offered some advice to Raiderette hopefuls, saying, "You are going to audition for the Raiderettes, the best team in the NFL. Open your ears, open your heart, go hard, dance hard, smile big and just have a good time."

As Shaniah passes the torch, she says she’s grateful for the experience the Raiderettes have given her.

“I definitely am always going to cherish the journey that I have had, but, I feel like what I was meant to do on the team is done. I think that our new set of veterans and new Raiderette hopefuls are going to do an amazing job. I’m really excited to see what they do as I move on and watch from the stands," said Shaniah.

The registration deadline for tryouts is this Friday, April 8. Auditions are Saturday, April 16 at Raiders Headquarters and Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center at 1475 Raiders Way in Henderson at 8 p.m.

To register for Raiderette auditions visit raiders.com/raiderettes.