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Cheering on the Miners

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Members of the UTEP football team are cheered on by the Ruidoso Middle School cheerleaders, Aug. 10, at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

Every time University of Texas-El Paso’s football team comes to Ruidoso to train, it’s a big event.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Members of the UTEP football team watch the RMS cheerleaders, Aug. 10, during a break from practice at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

It’s impossible to miss, what with all the blue-and-orange jerseys, the orange fencing around the field, the noise, the noise the noise.

This is the third year UTEP has called Ruidoso its preseason home, and both the team and the village are happy with the arrangement.

“This is the 19th camp I’ve coordinated, the first 14 were in Socorro, the next two at Alpine, Texas,” said Nate Poss, director of football operations at UTEP. “But this (in Ruidoso) is as good or better than any NFL setup.”

Poss says that because of the MCM Elegante hotel and Ruidoso Convention Center, which have served to give the Miners and staff everything they need in one place.

“You can put your locker room, training room, weight room, meeting rooms, cafeteria, all under one roof,” Poss said of the Convention Center setup. “It’s so much more functional, and the fields (at White Mountain Complex) are second to none.”

Photo by Todd Fuqua UTEP football coach Sean Kugler meets with Ruidoso Middle School cheer coach Brooke Hall-Chavez, far right, after the Brave cheerleaders performed for the Miners, Aug. 10, at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

Ruidoso’s schools showed their appreciation with a special cheer by the Ruidoso Middle School squad during one of the Miner’s breaks in the action.

Indeed, some members of the UTEP team were so appreciative, they started joining in on the cheers.

Poss said the cheer squad is indicative of the type of reception the Miners have received since coming to Ruidoso.

“I’ve been so happy with the people of the Village of Ruidoso,” Poss said. “Everybody has been so kind and so helpful.”

As for the RMS cheerleaders, they were admittedly nervous when they found out they were going to be performing for a bunch of college players.

“Actually, they got really scared,” said Brooke Hall-Chavez, coach for the RMS team. “Their eyes got pretty wide when they found out they’d be in front of college guys.”

But they did well, and Hall-Chavez said her team is pretty accomplished.

“They could cheer for the high school right now. We have tumblers, we have three full stunts,” she said. “They might not be ready for competition, but they can cheer with high schoolers.”

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