Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Reds hope Rally Pack will bring fun to park

It's too early to tell for sure, but if last week's auditions for the Pepsi Reds Rally Pack are any indication, it's going to be fun at Great American Ballpark.

The Pack will be 12 cheerleading entertainers who will perform on-field and in the stands at home games, shooting T-shirts into the crowd, giving away Pepsi and balloons, doing what they can to get the baseball crowds fired up.

Pack members - six at every game - will be paid on a per-game basis, says Reds marketing rep Jennifer Black.

Auditions were for 20 finalists, whittled from the original 80. They were young - late teens to mid-20s - and mostly male - 15 of them.

Actually it was more of a party. Hopefuls warmed up with party games, then backflipped, unicycled, pretended to be velociraptors, discoed, break danced, snorted and shouted.

Yeah, but why? "Because I can't imagine anything more fun than being on the team," said Tammy Amico, 27, of Maineville.

"Because I'm used to having fun jobs," said Andrew Marler, an 18-year-old high school student from Hillsboro. "I used to work at Kings Island, so I'm used to having fun jobs. I'd rather play ball, but this is the next best thing."

"Because I love getting a crowd moving," said hopeful Jeff Ferrar, an 18-year-old cheerleader from Milford High School, still breathy from his backflips.

Or, as 23-year-old Jonathan Troyer of East Walnut Hills said, "Hey, you get paid to have fun. It's just like a big old party."

The Reds will notify the 12 winners by the end of this week.

Global chili: Like the ads says, anytime is Skyline time. Even in Afghanistan? Yep, says Tom Allen, Skyline's marketing vice president.

He got a homesick e-mail last week from over there: "My name is Staff Sgt. Josh Woolridge. I am in the Air Force. Our squadron is deployed to Afghanistan in support on the war on terrorism.

"I am from Cincinnati and there are five other people with me who are from Cincinnati as well. Somehow our conversation got on the subject of Skyline chili. I can't explain how much my mouth started to water just thinking about those three-ways and coneys."

His mouth's probably still watering, but not for long: Last week Allen shipped Woolridge a case of 24 cans - enough to make 48 three-ways.

Woolridge, reached by e-mail, is already licking his chops: "I'm beyond thrilled. I've arranged a chili fest for the entire squadron a week after it arrives. Our dining facility is willing to give us a ton of spaghetti, onions, and cheese to make this worthwhile.

" I think we might go through all 24 cans in one night. I found out last night there are 15 people here that have been to Skyline before who can't wait until the cans arrive. It might take two weeks because it has to go through customs."

Yeah, but then it's Skylline time.

Sunny week: Well, here's some happy news out of the West Side: George and Kathleen Ellerman are headed to Belize.

Remember them? They were featured in a Jan. 2 column as national finalists in the Coffeemate Perfect Mate contest, a deal where contestants sent in essays on why their mate is perfect. Read it and vote for them, the column said.

Apparently plenty of people did. The Ellermans just got word they won the grand prize - a $20,000 dream week at Cayo Espanto, off the coast of Belize where, we guess, they're going to be a lot warmer than the rest of us.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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