Brooke Wicker Alexander, the DCC Alumni Relations Coordinator, has dedicated countless hours over the past 11 years to not only cataloging Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' history, but also to enriching the experiences of the 673 women who have worn the iconic uniform & boots. As she began her quest to cultivate a treasure chest of memories and mementos, she had no idea the DCC artifacts she archived would one day wind up in The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
But when DCC Director Kelli Finglass received word from the curators of The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History that DCC uniforms and other artifacts would be added to the permanent collection, she asked Brooke to put together the most special of special deliveries.
Brooke, who cheered in three Super Bowls during her four seasons on the DCC (1992-95), and fellow DCC alum Michelle Taylor Sharp, got right to work.
"The presentation needed to be like the DCC itself: world-class!" says Brooke. "We have a sense of pride in our uniform and the presentation is as important as the donation. It shows the importance we place on our history and our traditions. In my role with The Spirit of DCC alumni aand the archives, I already had located all the artifacts. Kelli charged me with the task of boxing everything and preparing it for shipment to The Smithsonian's curators in Washington, D.C.
"Most of the items were part of our display cases at the entrance to the Cheerleaders' office and dance studio at Valley Ranch. We were in the process of taking down the display cases for the move from Valley Ranch to our new studio at The Star in Frisco when we learned that The Smithsonian wanted to add our DCC uniforms and artifacts to the museum's collection. So, while we prepared for the move to The Star, we kept the uniform pieces, including a pair of boots, to the side."
When becoming an official part of American history, authenticity is imperative.
"The museum's curators wanted the genuine article, they wanted accurate details for every artifact," notes Brooke. "So, we included dates as well as names of the DCC who wore the uniforms and boots. Some of the uniform pieces had names already written in them, so we were able to provide the provenance for each item."
Here's the rundown of the DCC artifacts donated to The Smithsonian, with explanations by Brooke:
*Two DCC Uniforms, Two Pairs of Poms
"I went out and got body forms so the uniforms would look good upon arrival at the museum. I cleaned every uniform, stitched every hole, repaired the buttons. I wanted everything to be in perfect, pristine condition. I went to The Container Store and found storage boxes that could accommodate the complete wardrobe with full uniforms and poms.
"One pair of poms from the 1980s, the vintage poms, were from the archives. Those original poms are so large and full, we could not fit them inside our display case at Valley Ranch, so they had been placed in the archives. We also sent a new pair of poms that have never been used. Those are brand new, fresh poms.
"I put the poms inside the box so everything was all together. On the outside of each box, I tied big, blue bows and applied vintage DCC stickers. When the curators received the boxes, they were all gray and they all matched with the same bows and decals. And when the curators opened the boxes, they saw the uniforms on the body figures."
*Two Pairs of DCC Boots
"For the boots, I actually sent the boot forms for the vintage go-go boots because that is what was holding them up in our Valley Ranch display case. The modern western-style Lucchese boots are brand new, never worn, and sent in their original Lucchese box, completely scuff-free."
*1977 DCC Poster
"As for the 1977 poster, our copy is in the Cowboys' archives. But I was able to locate an unopened, original poster that was still in a tube in its original packaging. We asked The Smithsonian if they wanted the poster already mounted and framed, but they preferred to have it in its original form."
*DCC Barbie Dolls
"The DCC Barbie Dolls were kept in storage, so they were in perfect condition. Same thing with the Abbey Bear, she was brand new and in her original packaging."
"ABBEY Bear is a stuffed bear that is a relatively new DCC tradition. We did not have her when I cheered in the 1990s. She's a tradition started by Kelli years later. ABBEY Bear represents our values of going Above & Beyond, thus the name ABBEY."
Interestingly, of all the DCC artifacts that are now part of the museum's collection, the newest DCC tradition (ABBEY Bear) may be the most emblematic of the true Spirit of the DCC.
"We could all be mediocre and go our own way, but the mantra of Above & Beyond means getting out of your comfort zone and doing things the right way because that's how it should be done," says Brooke. "Our DCC staff is part of a team, and as team members we'll do things the right way. Our entire presentation – all of the prep work we put into sending these donated items to The Smithsonian – is an example of going that extra mile for your team.
"For all of us that have ever worn this uniform, it's amazing to know that visitors to the museum will see our DCC traditions alongside other really neat artifacts that represent American sports and pop culture. For me personally, I've visited the museum several times and it's fun to know that we are there along with pieces of American life like Mister Rogers' red sweater and Fonzie's leather jacket. Those items are like music, they define generations and they're identifiable. Talk about being part of American culture!
"Visitors may not know every team's uniform, but people are going to walk in The Smithsonian and be able to immediately recognize the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. And my DCC sisters and I will be able to visit, too, and see that something we wore is part of the collection. It's an incredible feeling, truly amazing!"