(DALLAS) — Sharon Simmons, a 55-year-old grandmother, is as slim and toned as a woman half her age, and she’s preparing to go head-to-head with women even younger when she auditions to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader in May.
“I don’t see a number,” she said, regarding her age. “If I do, it’s just a number. It’s not that I can’t keep up with [younger women] in the physical part of the training.”
Simmons, who has two grandchildren, is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist who began entering fitness competitions at the age of 50. In the last five years, she’s participated in more than 20 competitions, and has even won a few first-place titles, according to her website.
“To me, this is just like any other competition,” she said. “There are steps to take to prepare, which is exactly what I’m doing.”
Simmons, who works in commercial real estate, first began dreaming of becoming a Cowboys cheerleader when she was a cash-strapped single mother in her 20s. She had planned to try out, and even had her mother take some photos of her to submit with the application, but she lacked dance training. And, ultimately, Simmons didn’t have the courage to apply.
“Now,” she said, “I’m not afraid. I’m more mature. I know what to do.”
Simmons also has no qualms about donning the required attire for tryouts: hot pants and an athletic bra top. Simmons is used to wearing even skimpier outfits in fitness competitions.
“If you’re not comfortable wearing stuff like that, you should not be trying out for the [squad],” she said.
The oldest woman ever to dance with the Cowboys cheerleaders was Linda Badami, a 37-year-old mother of four from Kansas, according to Kelli Finglass, who directs the squad. Grandmothers and women in their 50s have auditioned in the past, but none have been chosen for the squad. The oldest woman on the 2011 squad was 31, and the youngest was 18 years old, Finglass said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio