ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Cheerleading doesn’t get a lot of love when it comes to baseball. Unlike basketball and football, which have cheerleaders on the field and hardwood, just out of the playing area, baseball doesn’t have cheerleaders standing on the field or court cheering for the home team, mostly because its foul territory is still in play. However, over the last several years, baseball teams have been integrating a cheer-type squad into the game in the stands.
In Arlington, the Texas Rangers have a cheer squad, it is called the Six Shooters, and for Hobbs native Victoria Navarro, it has been a perfect blend of two of her favorite things, baseball and cheer.
“I have danced and cheered all my life,” Navarro said. “I love baseball. I grew up watching baseball. I grew up watching the Rangers.
“Coming to the games, I have always seen the girls and I have always wanted to be something like that,” Navarro continued. “I happened to come across their application. My mom actually sent it to me. I went through the process and got an interview and was given a job.”
The Six Shooters are in charge of fan interaction during the game. They dance on the dugouts during the game, wave the flags out on Greene’s Hill (the sloped turf area beyond the centerfield fence) when the Rangers score a run as well as make appearances for the Rangers at selected places.
The Six Shooters are made up of about 20 girls with 10 girls working each game. However, all 20 girls work the season finale.
Navarro was involved in one of those appearances when the Six Shooters went to Dallas’ Love Field back in June. While there the Six Shooters took over for the Southwest Airlines employees and helped board passengers. Hunter Pence, Deli-no DeShields, and Chris Martin were also involved in the event.
“We got to switch around and be in the cockpit and taking tickets and greet the fans,” Navarro said. “It was a lot of fun. Being able to go to Dallas Love Field with the baseball team, that was really awesome. Being there with Hunter Pence and Delino (DeShields), that was a really neat opportunity.”
Navarro graduated from Hobbs High School in 2015. While at Hobbs, she was a member of the cheer squad for three years. She also danced for three years at Eastern New Mexico University and cheered for one season with the Greyhounds.
The former Lady Eagle graduated from ENMU in May with a degree in criminal justice and minor in sociology. While Navarro doesn’t need her degree to work for the Rangers’ Sox Shooters squad, she is hoping to use it to get a job in the Arlington area.
“It’s definitely a foot in the door over here,” Navarro said. “I did do an internship with the Allen Police Department last summer. My whole main move, coming over here, my main goal is to get in with one of the police departments, hopefully Arlington Police Department.”
From the start of the season to the end, Navarro has loved every minute of it. She was the only rookie Six Shooter to work on Opening Day when the Rangers lost to the Cubs.
The whole season has been one giant memorable event for Navarro.
“It’s like wow. That is the best word I have to describe it,” she said. “Getting to see so many different players. Not just from the Rangers, but from different teams as well. Being able to be a part of a group that makes history is what is so amazing about this season.”
After 26 seasons, the Rangers played their final game at Globe Life Park on Sunday afternoon, beating the playoff-bound New York Yankees, 6-1.
“It’s very emotional. I can’t believe it is already the end of the season,” Navarro said. “It felt like just yesterday we were here, in March, on Opening Day for the Rangers first game of the season. Everyone was excited for the season to start and now, for the last game, it is so bittersweet to see every single thing about this stadium end.”
The Dallas area is a football town first, especially when the Rangers are not playing well, like this year. For the final game at Globe Life Park, the Rangers drew 47,144. It was just the fourth sellout all season. This year the Rangers finished with a losing record, going 78-84, while drawing 2,132,994 fans. But the fans who do come, they are passionate and love the game.
“They are excited when they see us,” Navarro said. “We hear them say, oh awesome the Rangers girls are here. The Six Shooters girls are here. They are going to make our time a lot more fun because they have stuff that they are going to interact with us and do.”
Navarro loves interacting with the fans, especially the young children.
“One of my favorite parts is seeing the kids’ faces light up whenever we come around,” Navarro said. “Whether we are handing them face-tattoos or magnets or making them a balloon animal. Whatever it is, just something to see their face brighten up anytime we are around.”
When asked to pick her favorite moment from the season, Navarro said it was being able to do flags on Greene’s Hill for the final game of the season, and the final game at the stadium.
“I get to be a part of the last flag team that is going to run on Greene’s Hill,” Navarro said. “We do not know if there is going to be a hill next year for us to run, so being able to be a part of that history and part of the last flags on Greene’s Hill is pretty awesome.”
As much fun as it is, Navarro has had some hard times. Those hard times were not at the ballpark though, instead, they were getting to the ballpark. Since she didn’t graduate from ENMU until May, the former Lady Eagle commuted from Portales to Arlington from January until graduating in May.
“The commute has definitely been the hardest part,” she said. “But I definitely made it work and I loved it.”
With one year of experience under her belt and the Rangers ready to open a brand new stadium next year, Navarro is hoping to come back and continue working for the Six Shooters.
“I already put in my application and I am so excited,” she said. “Auditions will be happening in November, so I am excited to come back and audition and open up a brand new stadium.”