The heat wafting off the pavement Saturday morning didn’t slow a gang of young ladies who set up a booth and car wash in the parking lot of the Crossroads Shopping Center parking lot.

The members of Statesville Cheer Elite – and parents and supporters – set up a tent selling baked goods and a car wash that appeared to be quite thorough in an open spot in the lot. Young girls plunged giant sponges into soapy water and washed off the cars while “cheer dad’s” jet-sprayed the vehicles before and after. All of the funds raised going to a good cause – the travel and training expenses for the squad.

See all the photos at the bottom of this article

Beth Underwood and her daughter, Katie, formed what is now two squads three years ago. Beth Underwood said the group has a Level 1, which is kindergarten through third-graders, and a Level 2, which is kindergarten through 12th grade. There are 13 members of the Level 2 team and six on the Level 1.

Their mission is simple: “to provide what is normally a very expensive sport, an affordable experience while being able to show off God-given talent that these girls have.”

Their first competition of the season will be Oct. 26. From then, the group hits the road. They will be competing in Virginia, twice in Myrtle Beach and in Wilmington as part of their schedule this season. Two years ago, they won the championships in the Beach Bash Nationals in Myrtle Beach and the Mountain Nationals in Asheville. With those two national championships under their belt, they are heading to three national competitions this year.

It’s their third season of doing this, and Underwood believes they are the only team of this nature in Statesville. They don’t have a gym or building of their own, instead practicing at Celeste Henkel, where 90 percent of their members go to school, Underwood says.

They are looking for a building of their own.

Beth Underwood said she has been coaching about 15 years, including with a team in Indiana before moving to North Carolina 11 years ago. Her team operates under the rules set by the U.S. All Star Federation.

So Saturday they were out in the heat, washing cars, standing under a tent and waving signs trying to raise their own money to compete. A lady pulled up asking what the car wash was for and, when hearing of the cause, quietly made a donation and left. Vehicles rolled through the car wash at a steady pace despite the midday heat.

Everyone pitched in to help as the money raised at the car wash, and in other fundraisers, will go toward uniforms, training and travel expenses.

Anyone interested in the program can call Underwood at 704-682-1163.

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