Most athletic teams have an off-season, a time for rest and a time to relax before the season kicks back up again. But for the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles, there is no break-time.
“Pretty much 95 percent of my time goes to Belles,” said freshman Belle Alyssa Philips.
The girls have practice from summer to spring, making the Belle season 12 months long.
“We go all year long, there really is no off-season for the Apache Belles,” said Administrative Director and Apache Belle Gold President Jasilyn Schaefer.
During the fall, the girls start with football season, but also do appearances and performances at other events such as non-profit, fund-raising, ground-breaking events and dedications. Over the holidays and Christmas there is a lot of recruiting. They hold dance intensives in the major cities throughout Texas. They really work on getting the girls interested in Tyler Junior College and the Apache Belles.
Immediately following the holidays the Belles begin preparing for the Spring Show. The show is usually at the end of March or middle of April.
Once Spring Show is over, the Belles have various other performances and appearances throughout the community. Then there are auditions for the line in April and June. Also performing during the summer, the team has events such as Green Acre Pops & Praise and Green Acre’s Freedom Celebration.
Then there is the Belle camp for the line in the beginning of August and it goes right into the school year and football season.
“It’s very demanding. You are constantly 24/7 giving your all. If you don’t the team suffers for it, you better be on your toes. We work 24 hours pretty much all year,” said freshman Tara Broussard.
Staying busy all year can also be rewarding.
“(The work load) has taught a really strong drive to work and put in the effort, and you do see a product out of it. You get a lot of gratification out of the performances,” said Broussard.
As a result, the ladies learn life skills as well.
“They have to be pretty self-motivated and have discipline. Lots of positive things they can say about themselves. That they did not give up, that they did honor the commitment and they gave everything they could and that is going to transfer to life skills that most would not get at this early of an age,” said Director Ruth Flynn.
The Belles constant hustle and strive of the team working all year brings life lessons to some.
“(It has taught) time management and being on time, because everywhere I go I’m always 10 minutes early now just because of Belles,” said Historian/ sophomore Natalie Vance.
Auditions for the Apache Belle team are April 17 and 18. The second audition date is June 12 and 13. For more information, call (903) 510-2244 or 1-800-687-4580, ext. 2244.