Grannies Form Cheerleading Squad, Dance Moves Prove that Age is Only a Number


Just because they’re old, doesn’t mean they can’t bust a move. A group of retired women in Arizona are proving that point with their cheerleading group, the Sun City Poms.

The Sun City Poms were first created as a cheerleading squad for a local women’s softball team in 1979. Since then, it’s served as a way for local women to stay active as they get older.

Women in the group range from 56 to 84. All the dancing and marching has mitigated the effects of aging for many of these women, as new member Gloria Tolla told Inside Edition.

“What inspired me to join was my love for dancing. I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis when I was in my 20s, they told me I’d be crippled by the time I was in my 40s,” The 67-year-old Tolla  said.

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“So, all my life I’ve pushed myself by exercising, finding things to do, dancing was one of them. I had both hips done within a year before I joined the Sun City Poms,” she recalled.

“When you think of someone who’s 80, you think maybe somebody with a lot of gray hair, sitting around knitting or crocheting,” member Tommie Sebring told The List Show. “I’m very, very active — I travel a lot and Pom keeps you really going.”

The group practices twice a twice a week and performs about 40 times over the course of a year. According to Tolla, practices are no joke.

“The practices are quite grueling, especially our choreographer,” Tolla said. “It gives me chance to express myself, since I retired I’ve been looking for something to do and this is my little niche that I found. It makes me feel young again.”

Most of the women in the Sun City Poms have a similar story. They were looking for a way to stay active, and thought the Poms were a wonderful fit for their interests.

“The first I had ever heard of the Sun City Poms was about ten years ago and I was watching the fiesta bowl parade on TV,” 71-year-old Ruth Pharris told Inside Edition. “This group came on marching with their glittery costumes, their arms going every which way, and doing their routines.

“And I thought, ‘Holy cow, I’ll never be able to do what they do.’” But Pharris underestimated herself, and seven years later she’s now one of the veterans of the group.

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“I have probably lost 15 pounds, my waist declined because I was doing so much more activity that I had never, ever done before,” Pharris said. “Not only does it help the physical well-being, but the mental as well.

“The crowds are awesome — they are so in awe that we do what we do. They’re just amazed that their grandmothers, basically, are getting out there on the dance floor in our little sequin costumes,” she explained.

For some, such as Pat Weber, the Sun City Poms are more than just a way to get moving. “The Poms are my life,” Weber told The List Show.

“My husband passed away almost 15 years ago, and I was new in Sun City,” she said. “I simply made up my mind that this was going to be my life, and it’s been a wonderful life.”

The Sun City Poms have created a way for this aging group of women to stay active and connected to a community. Each of them, even their oldest members, are invested in the group and excited about their future performances.

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