PALM RIVER, Fla. (WFLA) – After not being able to cheer competitively as a child due to costs, a local cheerleading coach created an affordable cheer program that’s helping local girls achieve their cheer dreams regardless of cost.
“Cheer is my life, I do it everyday,” Mykiera Bailey said.
Bailey, 16, has been cheering for 13 years. She’s a power tumbler that has been with Tampa Bay’s B-Elite All Stars for a few years.
“It just takes my stress away,” Bailey said. “I’m always practicing too. You can always get better, no matter how good you think you are.”
Bailey’s teammate, Brooklyn Ingram has also been cheering for majority of your adolescence. Ingram plans to stick it one day at the Olympics.
“I want to be like Simone Biles,” Ingram said. “I want to do twists in the air and win gold medals.”
These kind of dreams are a reality for nearly 250 athletes, and it’s all thanks to their coach, Brandi Perdue.
“All star cheerleading was something I wanted to do growing up, however it wasn’t something feasible for my everyday working family, my everyday working parent,” Perdue said.
Along with her mother, Perdue create B-Elite All Stars. It’s competitive All Star cheer and tumbling program that offers levels 1-4 and ages 3-18.
“I always told myself that whenever I start my all star program I would make sure it’s affordable for girls in my community, girls that look like me, low income families, that we have a place to go,” she said.
On average, parents pay $300-$400 per month to participate in cheer programs. That’s $3000 – $5000/year. That doesn’t even include uniforms or travel. Perdue’s program is $125/month or less. That’s about $1500 per year.
“We do any and everything to help our athletes and their families out,” she said. ” We host fundraisers, we seek sponsors.”
B-Elite started in 2017 as a small program practicing at Palm River Park in Tampa.
“Back then we had about 60 athletes. We didn’t have lights at the park, stepping in ditches, holes, all we had were the lights from the basketball court,” Perdue said.
Now, B-Elite has 250 athletes that practice in Perdue’s new 8,000 sq. ft. gym in Palm River.
“To be able to offer this to girls and families that they thought they could never do all star cheer is a blessing,” she said. “They now know hey I have this talent, I can cheer, they know they can be seen on a big stage, now I can take this toward scholarship, now I can go to college,” she said.
Perdue’s love and dedication continues to leave a lasting impact on the athletes.
“Without her, half of us wouldn’t be where we are today,” Bailey said.
B-Elite is accepting new athletes to join the team, click here for more details.