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— A bittersweet year.

That's how cheer squad sponsor Courtney Hurst describes this year because she knows she'll say goodbye to three girls who've been with her since she began her career.

Noelle Littrell, Katelin Denny and Chelsey Haguewood are seniors this year. They were seventh-graders in Hurst's first cheer squad.

Hurst, now Pea Ridge High School varsity cheerleading coach, began coaching junior high school cheerleading at Pea Ridge five years ago.

Hurst, the students on her first junior high school cheer squad and their parents began a tradition which will be repeated next weekend - Pride Night.

Pride Night is set for 6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 28, at Blackhawk Stadium.

A fundraiser for the senior high school cheerleaders, the night is to showcase the football teams, cheerleaders and band. This year, the volleyball teams will be introduced.

Admission for the evening is $1 per person 6 years of age and older. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

The senior high school cheerleaders will sell hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks, as well as homemade desserts.

"There are more people attending," Littrell said of the growing event. Captain of the cheer squad, Littrell said the funds are used for competition fees and associated costs.

The Pea Ridge Booster Club will have merchandise for sale that evening as well.

"It's gotten better every year," Hurst said, adding that it's a pre-season event for the community to see all the teams.

"When I was in high school," Hurst said, recalling her years at Pea Ridge, "we had a soap scrimmage at the beginning of the season. Admission was soap, shampoo ... items used by the team through the year. That kind of went away."

"We had a very energetic group of parents," she said, remembering the origination of Pride Night. She said the parents cook and serve.

"The parents (of the graduating seniors) will be sorely missed," Hurst said, "but we have a good group to take over."

News, Pages 1 on 08/19/2009

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