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48 HOURS OF FOOTBALL: What it takes to be a baton twirler

Friday, October 28, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:37 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 28, 2011

Hour 21: 12:40 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22

Just a few minutes shy of halftime of the Missouri football game, Cayla Troyer, accompanied by three batons, warms up in Faurot Field's southwest tunnel. She’s dressed in a slinky velvet dress that exposes her back. Her hair has been teased and doused in so much hairspray that when she twirls, hardly a strand strays.

A referee's whistle blows, and the football teams head to the locker room. Troyer steps onto the field with the rest of Marching Mizzou. A lipstick-covered smile spreads across her face as her friends in the stands recognize her. She waves to the various parts of the stadium from where she hears her name being called. “Cayla!” “Hey, Cayla!”

Troyer glows with confidence. She puts her shoulders back, stands up straight and waits for the music to start.

Before Troyer could put on the slinky dress, before she could even step out onto the field, she had to go through a selective process to become a baton twirler for MU.

Aside from a twirling audition that requires a routine with the use of up to three batons, tricks, flips and splits, Troyer had to submit a DVD of herself twirling.

In addition, Troyer needed three letters of recommendation, a resume and an essay on why she wanted to be a twirler at MU. After turning in her materials, Troyer was chosen to audition in front of a panel of judges. Every year she has to attend the same audition to secure her spot on Faurot Field.

Troyer, now a senior at MU, performs two routines during halftime. She maintains the lipstick-covered smile as she twirls, tosses, kicks and spins.

At the end of the routine, completely out of breath, she waves at her friends and smiles some more.

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