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Lawton cheerleaders use creative fundraising tactic on journey to national competition

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LAWTON, Okla._ A local cheerleading squad is hoping their creative new way of fundraising will raise enough money to send the team to the national competition at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The Stars Elite cheerleaders, a group of 20 girls ages 7-12, won a bid when they placed first at a qualifier in Tulsa back in December. Now, they're committed to working long hours on and off the floor mats to prepare. That includes raising nearly $20,000 to make their dreams come true.

"I've dreamt of us coming this far and now that it's happening, I can't believe it," says 12-year-old Nahmie Banderas.

"I couldn't speak or anything," says Destiny Yanger. "I was speechless."

The group says they have had to work hard over the past few years to gel as a unit.

"We've had our ups and downs and just struggled a lot, but we finally broke through and got to win first and tried our hardest," says Banderas.

The team is now Disney bound. The trip will cost each girl nearly $1,000, so they   came up with an unusual fundraising tactic.

"We just didn't want to do another door-to-door selling something that everybody has seen," says Christie Mullenix, a cheer mom. "So we were looking for something that was unique and fun that got everyone involved."

The fundraising plan includes placing large, pink flamingos around the city of Lawton in an effort to get people and businesses to buy them, or donate money to team to get rid of the obnoxious birds.

"The only way to remove the flamingos from the property is to make a donation, so, on behalf of City National Bank, we would certainly like to be flocked," says Paul Ellwanger, who presented the group with a $100 donation Friday afternoon. His donation will be added to the more than $600 the team has collected since the campaign began last week.

"They have all worked so hard and they all deserve to go and it would be a way to reward them for everything they've put into it," said Mullenix.

If you would like to help the team in any way, you can email Christie Mullenix at starseliteyouth@gmail.com for more information. 

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