Nevada’s Stunt Guys
Alyssa Doyle reports on what’s known as stunting in cheerleading and those who do it for the University of Nevada, Reno.
During UNR football and basketball games, stunt guys on the cheerleading team play a large role, even though many often do not have any prior background in performing their essential skills.
The guys practice three times a week from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Mackay Stadium in order to prepare for games and improve their stunting abilities. They also weight train and target different muscles on their own time to contribute to their stunting.
I had no stunting experience before college but was on a cheer team for about a month,” said Jevin Whitworth, a sophomore at UNR and second year on the Stunt team. “Two things made me want to join stunt. My friend’s mom, also my high school cheer coach, helped me realize it was something to do since I had no plans after high school. The second thing was when my friends and I came to visit for a weekend in Reno and they made me try stunting. I enjoyed it very much.”
A Family Feel
“Stunting benefits my life in so many ways, it gives me a sense of accomplishment like I’m doing something important,” Whitworth added.
“Most importantly it has brought me a family, people I can trust, people I care about, it has made me feel safe and at home even though I’m far away from home. It has given me so many memories and taught me so many new lessons that it amazes me.”
Before tryouts in May, the stunt team gathered outside of the Joe Crowley Student Union and tried to recruit guys to join the team. They offered a free donut for every guy that attempted to throw a stunt girl in the air and catch their feet.
Bobby Yarhi, a freshman at the time, saw the stunt team and decided to give it a try. “I always was interested in trying stunt, but never thought about giving it a short until I threw a stunt in front of the Joe,” Yarhi said.
For Yarhi, stunting gives him the opportunity to focus on something to get better at. “I have learned that stunting is a sport that relies tremendously on trust,” Yarhi said. “It’s so much fun and you make deep bonds with your teammates.”
A third year member on the team, Jackson Norried decided to join because he wanted to stay active and get involved with the university.
“People often don’t realize the amount of physical stress that we put on our bodies every day to do our job,” Norried said. “Stunting has given me countless new challenges in life that have helped me grow through experience.”
Male cheerleaders often face a certain stigma being involved in the sport, but when you ask them, they say the benefits are constant reminders of any challenges they may encounter.