Following last Saturday’s open audition, 34 women were selected as finalists for Thursday’s final audition. During the week, finalists took part in business interviews, a fitness training and rehearsals to prepare for the finals.
Of the 20 women selected, seven are first-time Thunder Girls.
“I am extremely excited for the upcoming season with this outstanding group of talented women,” said Paige Carter, dance team manager and choreographer for the Thunder. “These ladies will add even more excitement and energy to the Thunder experience at Chesapeake Energy Arena and will serve as great ambassadors in the community.”
A panel of judges – including Brian Bosworth, former All-American linebacker with the University of Oklahoma; Oklahoma Army National Guard Master Sgt. Aaron Sloan; Miss Oklahoma 2016 Sarah Klein; and Miss Oklahoma USA 2016 Taylor Gorton – assisted Thunder staff in making the final selections.
“You can see the hard work and dedication that goes into this, it’s like game day for them,” Bosworth said. “They deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated for the work they put in. A lot of people think of them as cheerleaders, but they are really ambassadors for the Oklahoma City Thunder and role models for girls who want to go down this road.”
The final audition process consisted of three rounds: a choreographed jazz/hip-hop routine, a question-and-answer session and a solo freestyle dance.
“The main difference from last year’s auditions to this year is that I had an idea of what is going on and what to expect from the process,” said second-year Thunder Girls vet Alicia, who is a former Miss Oklahoma. “My rookie year, I was hoping for the best and it was a really long week, but this year I feel like I was better prepared. It was a wonderful experience and I am so honored to be able to do it again.”
The 2016-17 Thunder Girls Lauren* (Bartlesville, Oklahoma); Courtney* (Coppell, Texas); Kim (Houston, Texas); McKenzie* (Mustang, Oklahoma); Chelsie (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); Jessica (Madison, Wisconsin); Jaimie (Yukon, Oklahoma); Jennie (Owasso, Oklahoma); Kimberly (Del City, Oklahoma); Anna* (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), Kayle (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); Kalyssa (Chickasha, Oklahoma); Alicia (Moore, Oklahoma); Pilar* (San Antonio, Texas); Kourtney (Fresno, California); Rachel (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); Addie (Stillwater, Oklahoma); Alyssa* (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); Stephanie (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); and Alyvia* (Overland Park, Kansas).
The Thunder Girls are presented by Riverwind Casino.
Members of the team make about 200 appearances each year throughout the community and have represented the Thunder at home and overseas.
More information about the Thunder Girls is available at okcthunder.com.