Houston Oilers’ Derrick Dolls grateful to reunite this Thanksgiving

Published November 24, 2022 11:50AM

HOUSTON – A group of NFL cheerleaders is thankful to have found each other again! Some of them cheered more than 40 ¬†years ago together, back in the “Luv Ya Blue” days of the Houston Oilers. Their dance crew was known as the Derrick Dolls during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

We took a trip down memory lane with them at Memorial Park’s beautiful Clay Family East Glades. Their time on the football field at the Astrodome, cheering on the Houston Oilers, still dances in their minds, as some of their fondest memories.

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“It was a lot of fun, that’s something that can never be taken away from us. I was one of the originals in 78, 79, and 80. A little out there in that area, it was something else,” says Vivian Cisneros.

They wear the decade of when they dance on their shirts! Social media helped bring them back together about a decade ago.

“For many years we lost contact with each other, but when we got back together, it seems like it was just yesterday,” says Sylvia Bonham-Smith.

They cheered and danced during the days of many football greats, who are still household names like Tyler Rose and Dr. Doom.

“I was there in 1979 and 80, back in the day with the legendary Earl Campbell, Robert Brazile, Dan Pastorini. It was just a glorious time cheering for all those legendary football players,” says Joyce Mikle.

Sonya Brazeal tried out for Derrick Dolls when she was a senior in high school!

“The drill team director and I went out for the first round in 1985, so you have the student and the teacher try out together. We did it in February of that year, and then I graduated in May and I had to wait until my 18th birthday to sign my contract, so we danced for a year and left when the team disbanded. Then, when I heard he was making a comeback in 1993, I tried again and made the team. So, I started from the youngest to now one of the oldest at 26 years old, if you can believe it, then you have 1,000 women going for 36 active places,” explains Sonya.

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They’ve had some big moments over the decades and even got to travel overseas as NFL cheerleaders and dancers.

“The highlights were going to the American Bowl the first year which was 92 to 93. We did the American Bowl in Tokyo and it was great – and it was a lot of fun dancing with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and cheering for the team of -our football, our quarterback was Warren Moon,” says Maria Regner.

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They also got to travel to Mexico for the American Bowl to play the Dallas Cowboys. Sonya says that the Dallas cheerleaders actually went inside during a storm to clean the mud off their uniforms and that helped send the Derrick Dolls into more fame.

“That was when they called us the cheerleaders of Mexico because they always said that the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were the darling of America, there was a big headline the next day that said the cheerleaders of Mexico,” she shouted. Sonya.

“To take it to the next level was really exciting for me as a dancer,” says Jennifer Smith.

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