2nd Annual Fan Favorite Denver Broncos Cheerleader Tournament — 3rd Quarterfinal Match

USA TODAY Sports

Prepare yourself Bronco fans. This week's match looks to be one of the most difficult quarterfinal matches this contest has ever seen. In fact, this could easily be a final match up and to be honest, I have absolutely no idea who I'm going to vote for. I suggest getting those coins ready for flipping just in case.

For those of you who missed the 2nd match of the quarterfinals, Heather was able to get past Katie W. after winning by fewer than 40 votes.

As always, I encourage voters to take a little bit of time and read the bios before voting (I know how distracting those wonderful pictures can be). It doesn't take long, and it can be extremely fascinating to get to know our squad. Also, more than once, my vote has been swayed by the information provided. And speaking of my vote, just like last year, if there is a tie, I will nullify my own vote declaring the other cheerleader the winner (this actually happened).

Remember the main rule:

I will not be tolerating any derogatory, insulting or demeaning comments about our cheerleaders. They are all gorgeous, and I'm fine with you talking about how great they look or how awesome their answers are, but I will not stand by and watch anyone nitpicking about some perceived flaws about their appearances. If I see any more of this kind of talk about our cheerleaders, the comments will be removed. Repeated comments will be cause for warnings and or punishment from MHR. I will continue to post this new rule for anyone who may have missed it for the rest of the tournament. Thank you for being civil and giving the proper respect that our cheerleaders deserve.

But, without further ado, lets get down to business.

If you can't see the full bracket, just click on the picture. It should take you to the source image.

Match 3 of the Quarterfinals: Sam vs. Candace

Sam

This is Sam's third year cheering for the Broncos and the Senior Market Operations Specialist from Detroit already has a deep history in our tournament. She had a bye in last year's first round before blowing past Allyson in the second round. She then moved on to the quarterfinals, where she was able to defeat Megan. She finally fell in the semifinals in one of the biggest matches our contest has ever seen by losing the tie-breaker to Nikki since she had won my vote. Will she make it to the end this year or fall short of her prior performance?

So far this year, she blew past Kimberly in the second round after getting a bye in the first.

Fan Since: The first NFL game I ever attended which was a Broncos home game and a WIN over the Giants!!!

What is your occupation and how does being a Denver Broncos Cheerleader affect your work?
Client Solutions Executive in the healthcare industry. I work full time, as many of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders do. The women on our team are so driven and passionate about being successful and reaching their goals. My involvement with the Broncos requires extra time commitments outside of my regular 40-hour week. I need to make sure I always keep a very up-to-date calendar. Being a DBC has taught me how to excel at time management and how to focus my energy on one thing at a time, especially when I may have 3 or 4 different things going on in any one day. That discipline helps me work more efficiently no matter what I'm doing.

What is the most important attribute of a Denver Broncos Cheerleader?
POSITIVE ENERGY! It radiates from her smile, it inspires the fans to support the team from start to finish, it is demonstrated in all her charitable work throughout the community, it encourages her to dance with 100% effort at every team rehearsal and on the field, and for all the people she meets it leaves an everlasting impression of kindness and grace that is the legacy all DBC's embody.

What is your most memorable experience as a Denver Broncos Cheerleader?
In the 2011-2012 football season, my most memorable experience was the final touchdown scored by Demaryius Thomas in overtime during the playoff game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was cheering in the southwest corner of Sports Authority Field, right where it all happened, and I'll never forget the energy that exploded throughout the stadium. It gave me goose bumps! I remember rushing to hug and congratulate my teammates! For me, that was the most exciting moment on the field and the most memorable Broncos win! One clear example of Mile High Magic!

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My fellow teammates. As a DBC I have had the privilege to meet some amazingly talented, driven, and beautiful women (both inside and out) whom I look up to in so many ways. My teammates over the years have inspired me to be the best cheerleader, role model, and team player that I can be. Being surrounding by young women that challenge me and inspire me has changed my life in ways that words just can't describe.

What is one thing about being a DBC that most people don't know?
Everyone is extremely professional. We are far from a group of drama queens or divas! All the cheerleaders show each other and their coaches a great amount of respect. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and preparation to perform at our very best, but we're able to achieve that because everyone fulfills their responsibilities.

What is your best advice to kids?
Believe in yourself! You just may surprise yourself with the accomplishments you're able to achieve if you just believe.

What sports do you enjoy watching or playing?
I'm a HUGE sports fan! I am so thankful to live in Denver where we have an abundance of professional sports teams to root for. Whether it's football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, or lacrosse, I absolutely love attending sports games and following team updates in the news!

What top three things do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
I hope to become a published author, to travel to all corners of the world, and to figure out why I'm so addicted to shoes!

What do you value most in your life?
My friends and family, my physical health, and the wisdom that comes with age.

What place you would most like to visit and why?
I've always wanted to travel to Italy! I recently purchased a Fiat 500 and was asked if the car "brought out the Italian in me". My answer is YES! I adore my new Italian-made car, would love to learn the romantic words of the Italian language, and can definitely imagine myself strolling the streets of Rome with a doppio espresso in hand. Plus, Italian food has always been my favorite…I could eat pasta, bread with oil, and olives every day.

What is the best thing about Broncos fans?
Their devotion. Every day I pass people on the street wearing Broncos t-shirts or hats, even during the off-season. I often pull up behind fans in their cars with Broncos bumper stickers, license plates, and decals in their windows. At the games, I love how our fans get dressed up from head to toe in blue and orange.

What book are you currently reading?
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

In what charities or community service organizations are you most involved and why?
As a DBC, we have the privilege of being involved with so many wonderful charities and helping out with a lot of truly great causes. This year, on my own personal time, I've chosen to get involved with Brent's Place. Brent's Place is a local charity that is the only hospital approved "Safe-Clean" housing facility for immune compromised patients and their families, providing a living environment that is essential to healing and recovery so that kids being treated for life threatening cancer can still be kids. I've become a Team Captain in the Kid's Cure for Cancer 5K race with a goal of raising a minimum of $930 to support Brent's Place.

What is something about you that fans might not know?
I've walked upon the Great Wall in China, and it was a breath-taking experience I will never forget.

What makes you laugh?
Dogs. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds. I can't pass a dog on the street without their wagging tails and cute faces bringing me a smile from ear to ear. The "man's best friend" look in their eyes and spunky personalities will always get a giggle out of me.

How do you challenge yourself?
I try to be a better me every day.

How do you spend your time in the offseason?
Taking dance classes, teaching dance classes, running outdoors, spending time with friends, traveling, and attending ballet and symphony performances.

In what area of your life have you achieved the most success?
I've achieved the most success dancing professionally. It's something that I've been dedicated to and have been striving for since I was 5 years old. I attended a private performing arts high school in order to fine tune my craft and made many sacrifices throughout my life in order to become a professional dancer. I've danced with two professional ballet companies over the course of seven years, Carolina Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet. I'm currently in my third season dancing with the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders. Dance has taught me discipline, self-respect, and poise.

Candace

Candace is another newcomer to our tournament who wasn't in last year's contest. This is her third year cheering for us in the past four years. This University of Dayton grad works as a surgical sales rep and I think we can all say welcome back!

In the first round of this year's tournament, Candace defeated Christina B. After that, she went on to defeat Christina C. in the second round.

What is the best thing about being a Broncos Cheerleader?
The best thing about being a DBC is the friendships I've made over the past 4 years. My family lives in Ohio, so my teammates have really become my second family. They always know how to make me laugh.

What is your most memorable experience?
In 2010, I had the opportunity to travel with a few of my teammates to 7 countries on the Armed Forces Entertainment tour to various bases. My favorite memory is visiting soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the Wounded Warriors Project in Germany. It was rewarding to thank our soldiers for what they do and bring smiles to their faces.

How do you spend your time off the field?
My career requires me to work in the operating room and provide insight on products for specific patients and procedures. Needless to say, my schedule is pretty hectic and unpredictable, but if I find free time, I really love to travel and visit my family.

What has been your most memorable game?
I'll never forget my first game as a DBC. It was the Broncos vs. Browns game back in 2009. My whole family flew in to cheer me on. I remember we had just won the game and my teammates started heading back to our locker room. I was so excited to be cheering that I missed the signal to head in, and just kept cheering long after my teammates were gone. My family still teases me about it!

What is your occupation and how do the Broncos affect your work?
Anyone who has ever worked in the medical device field can attest to the long hours and high sales expectations, so it's definitely a high stress job. I love being able to go to practice after a long day and dance the stress away. It's helps me live a more balanced life.

Who do you admire most in the Sports industry?
I admire any athlete that uses their talents and stardom as a platform to give back to the community.

What is your favorite book?
"Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker. Even though he's not a Bronco anymore, his book inspired me to never give up or forget the bigger picture. Hard work and determination will get you to where you want to be.

What is the best thing about Broncos fans?
Their passion for our team! Broncos fans are all over the world!

What do you do in your spare time to relax?
Hot yoga and bubble baths

Best advice to kids?
Don't let other kids bully you or make you feel like you're not good enough. Ultimately, it's their own insecurities that get the best of them eventually.

Most important goal in life?
Happiness

Place you would most like to visit?
Bora Bora

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My parents. My father started his own custom home business when he was 19 years old. He taught me the importance of a strong work ethic. My mother runs her own personal training business. She is her clients' biggest cheerleader, and inspires them to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles.

What is the one thing that you value most in life?
My family. They are my greatest support system and have always believed in me and encouraged me to go after my goals.

Toughest part about being a cheerleader?
The toughest part about being a cheerleader is remembering all of our routines. We learn over 25 new routines each season and after 3 years on the team, they all start to run together!

Two people you would like to have dinner with?
My best friends and teammates, Tara and Allyson. I never leave a meal with them without my face hurting from laughing so hard.

Favorite things to do in Denver?
I love going to all sporting events, concerts, and charity events. Nothing can top a great concert in the summer at Red Rocks.

Favorite sport to participate in?
Living in Colorado, I'm lucky to be close to some of the best skiing in the U.S. I really enjoy escaping to the mountains on the weekends and skiing with friends...when we don't have a home game of course!

Three words that best describe you?
Driven, Passionate, Loyal

Most prized possession?
A teddy bear my Aunt gave me when I was born. It was the first gift I ever received and I still have it.

Greatest Accomplishment
Earning a spot on the team as a DBC. So many women audition every year to be a part of one of the most highly technically trained cheerleading teams in the NFL. I'm just grateful to make it back.

If this week seems like an easy decision to you, I suggest taking another look back at the info. I still have no idea who I'm going to vote for. As always, please feel free to add your opinions and any info you can find on these lovely ladies, and let me know if there's anything I can do to improve this series. Go Broncos!

One last look

Sam

Candace

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