Nearly 100 young women showed up to the Deana Bolton-Covin Rangerette Gym on Monday with one goal in mind: to land a spot on the 79th line of the Kilgore College Rangerettes.
Beginning July 7, ‘Rette hopefuls arrived at KC from across the state of Texas and from other states to begin pre-training sessions. These sessions will continue until tryouts are held on Thursday. The new line will be announced on Friday.
Shelley Wayne, assistant director and choreographer for the Rangerettes, said there were more candidates trying out for the drill team this year than in 2017.
“We’ve had 96 candidates show up,” Wayne said, up from 89 candidates last year.
Those candidates came from near and far for their chance to become a part of the famous drill and precision dance team.
“I would say they are from a pretty wide area across Texas. We also have two girls from Arkansas and one girl from Oklahoma,” Wayne said.
While many young women will give their all for a spot on the ‘Rette roster, only about a third of the candidates will get to wear the signature red, white and blue uniform.
“There is not an exact number of how many we are choosing,” Wayne said. “We have been at the 36 number for the last four, five, six years. It may be more than that or it may be less than that. It can hover anywhere between 32 to 36. We try to choose an even number because of housing issues, there are two Rangerettes to each dorm room.”
Wayne explained the new group of Rangerettes will be chosen based on their skill and abilities, rather than trying to stick to an exact number of new team members.
She also said ‘Rette tryouts change with the times. As the Rangerettes adapt and change to continuously improve, the selection process for new members also changes.
“The actual tryout itself is pretty standard in format, I think. It’s probably a little bit elevated compared to previous years. We are always trying to be better than we were before and we are always pushing our limits. This tryout will be every bit as hard as ever,” Wayne said.
Wayne explained the tryouts are extremely competitive and the majority of those trying out will not make it onto the team.
“We’ll have to send about 60 girls home,” she said. “But we hope some of them stay on at KC as students.”
The lead-up to this year’s tryouts began on Sunday at the annual Rangerette Tea in the McLaurin Building on the KC campus. After being welcomed to the pre-training event and to Kilgore, the candidates immediately began a grueling practice regimen.
“We work every day,” Wayne said. “In the morning, in the afternoons and in the evenings. The new line will be announced on Friday. It gets pretty intense for about three and a half days.”
The candidates who are chosen to join the 79th line will be announced at the Rangerette Sign Drop ceremony on Friday. Visitors are not allowed into the actual ceremony but friends and family can congratulate the new Rangerettes in Dodson Auditorium when the ceremony concludes.