LCHS cheer squad excited to perform at Citrus Bowl; cheer on Wildcats

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

By Larry Vaught
Contributing writer

Amy Bastin can still remember her son, Tyler, being the first to mention to her that the Citrus Bowl would have a Southeastern Conference team participating and that Kentucky was a SEC team.

That was months ago after the Lincoln County High School cheerleading squad that Bastin coaches won a game-day competition at the Universal Cheerleading Association camp at the University of Kentucky in July that earned it an invitation to perform a pregame routine at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando January 1 with other cheerleaders from around the country.

“I told him it would be really cool if Kentucky got there but I really didn’t think much about it to be honest,” Bastin said. “Then every week he kept telling me it was looking better for Kentucky going to the Citrus Bowl.”

Bastin’s son was right because Kentucky will play Penn State in the Citrus Bowl and the Lincoln cheerleaders will be on the field before the game performing a routine with cheerleaders from across the country that they are already practicing.

“What a chance for us to go to the Citrus Bowl and the Kentucky football team and cheerleaders getting to go, too,” Lincoln junior cheerleader Amber Foster said. “We get to represent Kentucky and our county. I am excited for the game already.”

Part of that excitement is because of UK’s cheerleaders, who have won the last three national championships and 23 overall.

“We are all Kentucky fans and obviously follow UK sports in general,” Bastin said. “Several of the girls have been to UK games this year. But we are cheerleaders and when they found out UK would be playing in the game, they were so excited that the UK cheerleaders would be there. They actually love watching the cheerleaders more than the football games.

“It would be great if we could get in touch with them to at least find a way for our girls to get a picture with the UK cheerleaders. They would be so excited because they all look up to them because they are the best.”

Foster said some parents have already tried reaching out to the UK cheerleaders about meeting the Lincoln squad.

“Maybe it will work out so we can see them and chat them with me. We would be like their little sisters,” Foster said.

Freshman Tinsley Bastin said it would be “amazing” to meet the UK cheerleaders and maybe help settle her nerves.

“Honestly, being in front of few thousand fans might scare the heck out of me,” Tinsley Bastin said when asked about performing in front of as many as 60,000 fans.

It will cost about $1,200 per cheerleader for the trip – no expense money came with the invitation to perform in Orlando. The team leaves at midnight December 29 and returns January 2. The cheerleaders have done various fundraising projects to help pay for transportation, lodging at Disney, uniforms, game tickets and more.

They went Christmas caroling at senior citizen homes after a spaghetti dinner at Willow Grove Baptist Church recently that raised money for their trip. Amy Bastin says community support has been “overwhelming” for the girls and that’s been uplifting, too. They will wear sponsorship shirts during the bowl trip that lists all donors on the back regardless of the donation amount.

“Sometimes cheerleaders think they are just in the background and do not get the attention other athletes do,” the Lincoln cheer coach said. “Our community does support us and this was an opportunity for the girls to see how much the community loves them and is there for them. We have got to meet a lot of community members through this.”

That’s why when the cheerleaders return from the Citrus Bowl they will perform the same routine — wearing the red, white and blue uniforms they get in Orlando — at a Lincoln County basketball game.

“We want the fans here at home to see what we spent so much time working towards,” Amy Bastin said. “This is the first trip to Florida and first trip to Disney for a lot of them. A majority of them have never seen a UK football game in person. They are such a marvelous group of girls, so well grounded. We want this to be a great experience and I really believe it will be.”

* * *

If you would like to make a donation to help the Lincoln County cheer squad, contact Bastin at Lincoln County High School at (606) 365-9111 or email her at amy.bastin@lincoln.kyschools.us.