OXFORD – Two local cheerleaders are hoping the community will support their trip to cheerleading camp as they prepare for the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football game this summer.

The event, which raises money for the Shriner Hospital and is sponsored by the Kora Shriners, pits football players from the eastern and western sections of Maine against each other. Two cheerleaders from each district are selected to form 18-girl east and west squads and cheer on their football teams.

This year, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School cheerleaders Kristie Hall and Austri Silver will perform at the event.

“We’ll be cheering the football players on,” said Hall, who has been cheerleading for the past 10 years starting with the PeeWee football teams.

Silver, the cheerleading squad captain with eight years under her belt as a cheerleader beginning in the Guy E. Rowe Elementary School for the Cowboys, said the coaches pick their top athletes to go to the event each year, but they must raise money to pay for the training camp.

The training camp, which will be held in July at the Central Maine Community College in Auburn, will prepare the girls for the event.

“We do this big routine with all the cheerleaders,” said Silver of the halftime show where the cheerleaders will be doing college level stunting such as having a pyramid more than two players high, which is not allowed under high school cheerleading regulations.

Hall and Silver will be in a team with other cheerleaders including those from Lewiston, Auburn and Brewer.

“It’s fun,” Silver said. “You learn a lot about leadership and there’s a lot of responsibility along the way. It teaches you a lot of things that you never thought would be part of football.”

“You almost become part of a family,” Hall said.

Both girls will graduate in June. Silver, who is well-known for singing at basketball games, Maineiacs games in Lewiston and many other events, plans to attend Plymouth State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. She then hopes to attend graduate school to become a physical therapist.

Hall, who works at the local Burger King, will attend Central Maine Community College to become a nurse.

The girls must raise at least $350 each from local businesses. Anyone who would like to sponsor Silver and Hall may contact them by e-mail at: [email protected] or [email protected]

This is the 18th year the Lobster Bowl Classic has been held. To date, it has raised more than $313,000 in support of the Shriner Hospitals. The internationally-known orthopedic and burn care facilities are available at no cost to children who need the specialized care.

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. July 27 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

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