Words of Cheer – 38 years of cheer and counting

This is my fifth article in a series profiling prominent personalities in Canadian Cheerleading. I interviewed Charmaine Wintermute from her home in Saskatoon.

Charmaine reminisced, “Cheerleading in high school in the early 80s. No all star, no U of S. Only the high schools had teams. I cheered at Mount Royal Collegiate, 1982-1985. A friend wanted to try out, so I tagged along. That was 38 years ago.”

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Teacher Wendy Mason was Mount Royal’s coach at that time. The Cheer Team was well respected at the school, and in the cheer community. The team did compete, but its primary role was to cheer at school sporting events. For advanced training, one American cheerleader would be imported for an annual weekend clinic.

After high school, Charmaine cheered for the Saskatoon Hilltops (football team) 1986-1989 as an athlete, and then for three more years as the Hilltops cheer coach 1989-1991. While with the Hilltops, Charmaine was responding to requests to do training clinics for high school cheer teams. Charmaine operated as “Cheerwest” doing clinics in Saskatchewan and Manitoba 1990-1997. In her free time, Charmaine was the cheer coach at Martensville High School for 10 years, and ran a cheer class at the Saskatoon YMCA for ages 8-12 for three years.

In 1991, the University of Saskatchewan contacted Charmaine to ask if cheer could enhance the crowd experience at U of S sport team events.  When the U of S teams would travel and compete, they noticed that most of the other universities had co-ed Cheer and it seemed to be a good thing. 1991-1992 was the planning year and the U of S Cheer Team hit the field for the 1992-1993 sport season cheering for football and basketball.

Charmaine coached the team for six years and is proud of her legacy at the U of S where she also taught in the Edwards School of Business for a decade.

Cheerleading was also added to the list of Huskie Sports Camps. These summer camps served to build skills for high school and university students.

Charmaine remains involved with the Saskatchewan Cheerleading Association and sponsors the annual Future Leader Award and the Leadership Scholarship. She is also a member of the SCA Awards Committee.

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