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|| News Item: Posted 2000-11-21

In Search of Bobby Estalella
By Andy Kuno

Photo by
Well, someone had to shoot it.

San Francisco Demons cheerleader tryouts. Their public relations department asked me to cover the event for historical purposes. And I said YES! What was I to expect from this XFL open audition? Bikini tops? Dental floss thongs? Anatomical overachievers? Well, there was a little of everything, but overall it was a pretty tame scene.

Still groggy from sleep, I drove out to Pac Bell Park. As I stumbled my way through the cheerleader tryout locale, a distinguished olfactory sense hit me. The hot suntan lotion aroma is undeniable. It was the scent of a strip club, well so I've been told... 240-plus girls were lined up and numbered. They were stretching and applying makeup in the hallways. Lot of eye candy. Yummy, I was now wide-awake.

#42: "So who are you with?"

AK: "The Demons."

#35: "Are you a judge?"

AK: "Nope."

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin
#100: "Is Bobby Estalella here?"

AK: "Nope."

The goal for the Demons was to narrow down this field to 30 or so girls who could dance well and had "the look." From that crop, 10 lucky souls would later be selected as the first San Francisco Demons cheerleaders.

So let the weeding process begin!

A choreographer chaotically taught all 240-plus candidates part of a dance routine in the small confines of Pac Bell Park's Club Level. It took close to 2 hours for all to perform the routine in front of a panel of judges, Bobby Estalella not being one of them.

It was apparent some girls would not make the cut because they either lacked rhythm or didn't have the "look." It took a while for the judges to tally up the scores and determine who would survive round 1. This allowed me to mingle a little bit.

Photo by Andy Kuno

Photo by Andy Kuno
#163: "This league has so much history, I just want to be a part of it."

AK: "Oh really?"

#101: "Do you know Bobby Estalella?"

AK: "Well I kind of work with him."

Approximately 180 girls were eliminated, reducing the squad to 60 or so hopefuls. This round was a bit more rigorous. New wrinkles were introduced to the routine: the Christina Aguilera leg kick, the hip swaying "chick-a-boom-chick-a-boom" and a few more twists and twirls. In groups of 5, they aggressively performed the extended routine. To make certain the judges could make the correct choices, the girls were asked to perform the routine 3 additional times.

I felt sorry for them. Most, if not all, had eaten since they arrived in the morning. They were running on fumes. Their exhaustion was evident in the sloppiness of their dance maneuvers. The judges broke to tally up the scores for round 2.

Photo by Andy Kuno

Photo by Andy Kuno
About a half an hour later, the desired goal of 30 candidates was attained. Unfortunately for most of the judges, cheerleader hopeful #116 did not make the cut. She was the dark horse of the group and a heavy favorite amongst the panel. She couldn't dance. She shouldn't have gotten this far in the first place and her mere presence was potentially stealing votes away from someone more deserving. She was the Ralph Nader of the group. I,m certain the judges wanted to see if her tiny, furry sweater was going to fall apart.

The 30 semi-finalists spoke each stating their name and something unique about herself. There were seasoned dancers, cloth designers, daredevils, exhibitionists, a musician, a student with a double major, and surprisingly a kindergarten teacher. We were told by the head XFL cheerleader coordinator, the 10 cheerleaders we'll eventually see will be good, topnotch performers. After sitting through and documenting the auditions, I realize not only will they be good performers, they're good athletes as well. It took a lot of physical endurance and mental toughness to do what they did that Sunday in November.

#100: "So where is Bobby Estalella?"

AK: "Probably in Miami."

(Andy Kuno is a Bay Area freelance photographer. His clients include the San Francisco Giants.)

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