The daughter of Jan and Tony Norris of Bridge City left July 19 for the grueling week long tryout for the Kilgore College Rangerettes. It all started with a social on Sunday with approximately 110 young ladies, each hoping to earn one of the 36 positions open on the team. 

The social was held so that they could get to know each other. “I was very overwhelmed,” said Klacie, “but very excited at the same time. This is something that I have been planning and dreaming about for a long time. I was going to give it my best effort. I was leaving it in God’s hands.”

They all had to go through an interview process and learn all the rules and regulations. “I was more nervous about the interviews and modeling process,” Klacie said. “My passion is dance so I am more comfortable performing for the judges than interviewing.” The first two days consisted of several interviews and modeling and the last two days focused on dancing abilities. 

On Klacie’s very first interview the judges asked her how she was doing since Hurricane Ike. Klacie recalled, “I was not prepared for that question; it rattled me a little bit. I had to keep from getting emotional, but once I started talking about my passion for dance and who inspired me, I was able to pull it together again. I was glad when the interviews were over so that I could concentrate on my dance.” During the tryouts, Klacie was only allowed to wear red lips and no make up with her hair pulled back away from her face.

The judges wanted to see her smile without any distractions. 

Jan, Klacie’s Mom, recalled, “Waiting was the hardest part. Parents are not allowed in when the results are revealed on Friday morning. Waiting outside and seeing the ones come out crying who did not make it was heartbreaking and not knowing about Klacie was nerve wracking. We were all so excited when we got the good news.

Klacie had an amazing support system there for her.” Several of her close friends drove down for the big announcement along with Cathy Riley. Jan continued, “You should have seen us, all laughing and crying because we were so happy. Klacie has worked very hard for this and it is very rewarding to see your child’s dream come true.” 

The 18-year-old was a Strutter all four years of high school, spending senior year as captain. Her role model and inspiration to try out was her Strutters’ Director Cathy Riley, a former Rangerette.

Klacie also attributes much of her success to her lifelong dance instructor, Dawn Swindel, owner of Dawn Fitzgerald’s Academy of Dance. Klacie also had two former Strutters’, Kayla Kenney 2004-05 captain and former Rangerette and Hannah Dunahoe, 2008-09 captain and currently a Rangerette for help and guidance.
“They helped me with the tryout procedure and my dance techniques,” she said. 

Of the Rangerettes, she added, “They’re the best of the best and they love what they’re doing.” The Rangerettes were the first of their kind when they began in 1940 as a vision of the late Gussie Nell Davis. Their high kicks rivaled the New York Rockettes.

Considered the best in the world by many, they originated the precision dance moves that are imitated by modern day drill / dance teams.

Klacie will be joined by four other Golden Triangle girls on Aug. 14, including former Strutter captain Dunahoe.

Klacie is the granddaughter of Alois and Effie Lednicky of Bridge City. 

Klacie will be a member of the Rangerettes and attend Kilgore College for the next two years. She will then continue her education with a future in pediatric physical therapy.