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Life as a cheerleader: Raiderettes hold 60-year reunion in Las Vegas

Nicole Rodrigues
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Nicole Rodrigues in August 2022.

The Las Vegas Raiders battle the L.A. Chargers this Sunday. 

But the game is just one part of the overall NFL experience. There’s tailgating, some people dress up in insanely creative costumes, and there are cheerleaders. 

In the case of the Raiders, they’re known as the Raiderettes. 

And they recently had a 60-year reunion in Las Vegas with dancers from every season going back to 1961. 

Nicole Rodrigues earned a coveted spot on the squad in 2003. She’s now the founder and CEO of a Beverly Hills PR firm. 

State of Nevada producer Lorraine Blanco Moss talked with her about the life of a NFL cheerleader. 

"It was so heartwarming to be dancing alongside my sisters but also be doing it in our new home, in a stadium that I know that we deserve to be at," she said of the event.

And being a Raiderette opened doors for her:

"I am now running a seven figure business. I am now a leader in my field. I am now doing all the things that- I'm a professional cheerleader for my clients right now," she said. 

On the field, she realized there was more to cheerleading than appears:

"... In that that moment, I realized I play a part. I play a role. My energy here, it matters. Me just feeling like it's clapping ... It might just look like clapping to everybody on the field, but it's an exchange of energy."

Nicole Rodrigues, former Raiderette cheerleader, Las Vegas Raiders

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Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports. She started at Nevada Public Radio in October 2021.