PLANO, TX (CBSDFW.COM) - Hundreds of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders hopefuls will be auditioning for the squad in Valley Ranch this weekend, and a North Texas grandmother of two will be among the group.
Several months ago, Sharon Simmons of Carrollton told her story to CBS 11 News. The popular piece lit up the internet, resulting in a little too much attention for her comfort level. So, ever since, Simmons has stepped out of the spotlight and into the dance studio, where CBS 11 News anchor Tracy Kornet caught up with her again.
Who knew that her tryout would makes waves around the world?
The interest certainly took Simmons by surprise. When asked if she was prepared for the massive popularity, she emphatically replied, "Holy cow, in less than 24 hours after that story broke, it was everywhere! No, I was not prepared for that."
Simmons is on a journey to become the oldest Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader ever. After her story hit television and the internet, the 56-year-old wife and grandmother was bombarded with personal requests. She has even been frightened at times, she admitted. "There was a car parked outside of my house the first day after the interview broke," Simmons said. "And so far, I've had three marriage proposals."
The cheerleading hopeful has declined those requests, instead focusing more feverishly on the May 5 auditions at Valley Ranch. In fact, the only way that CBS 11 News was able to get a second interview with the Carrollton resident was to join her for a dance class at KJ Dance studio in Plano, where she attends weekly group adult dance classes, taught by a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who is well-versed in what is required for the arduous auditions.
Simmons also takes a weekly private lesson, and a second group lesson at a different studio.
"I have improved, certainly, over what I used to be," Simmons explained. "My goal to get into the splits? I'm closer. I'm still not there."
The accomplished author and fitness expert is used to the daily discipline required for a competition, which involves intense stretching in this case. But what Simmons did not know, until now, is how dance demands a whole different skill set. "It's nothing like fitness, nothing at all. With this, the choreography is so fast," she explained. "Our instructor will show us two or three times, and then it's like, 'Okay, let's get it!'"
Kornet learned - from just one high-energy, advanced class with Simmons - that the confidence required to pas de bourree behind 20-somethings is intimidating by itself. So, to do it with the national media watching your every step-ball-change? Kornet said, "I sashayed and shoulder-rolled in sheer amazement at Simmons' strength, persistence and stamina."
Simmons refuses to turn back until her goal is met. But is she ready for the big audition day? "I'm getting closer," she replied. "The day of auditions, I'll be ready."