It was quite a rookie campaign for Jozie LaViolette.
In her first season as a Denver Broncos cheerleader, the 2009 Papillion-La Vista High School graduate concluded her season with a trip to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif.
An already memorable season was capped off with Denver’s 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, giving the Broncos their third championship in franchise history and first since 1999.
“You’re very thankful just to go to a Super Bowl but once you’re there, you want to win,” LaViolette said.
It was a whirlwind seven days for LaViolette, who left for the Super Bowl four days prior to the game, a day earlier than most of her teammates, for several promotional events.
“They asked if anyone was interested in going early and I was lucky enough to be picked,” she said. “We got to hang out with Broncos fans and go on a trolley tour and boat cruise so it was a lot of fun.
“We had a big pep rally the day before the game and there were thousands of people there. There were Bronco fans everywhere. It was a sea of orange.”
After attending a team staff brunch on game day, LaViolette and her teammates got to the stadium about three hours prior to kickoff.
The Broncos never trailed in the game, but that didn’t mean there weren’t some nervous moments for LaViolette and her teammates.
“I had a really good feeling going into the game, but it’s not normal for us to lead the whole game,” she said. “When we were leading at halftime, I was a little nervous.
“It was hard to explain. Just to look around and see my teammates was a really special feeling. We were ready for the confetti.”
LaViolette said television doesn’t do justice to the pageantry that centers around the biggest sporting event of the year.
“It’s so much more grand and loud than it is on TV,” she said. “When you’re surrounded by everything, it’s pretty insane. It was so exciting to be on the sidelines and watch the halftime show and take everything in.”
A postgame party followed with Bronco fans that evening before LaViolette headed back to Denver the next day. But the fun wasn’t over as a victory parade took place on Feb. 9 with about a million Bronco fans in attendance.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as soon as we turned that corner, the streets were just packed,” she said.
Even though the season is over, LaViolette has more obligations to the team for events and promotions. Then it’s back to work as she prepares to audition for the 2016 squad in April.
“I want to be involved in as many things as I can because you never know how long this will last,” she said.
LaViolette, who works as a marketing and social media director for a law firm in Denver, said the time commitment it takes to be a cheerleader is well worth it.
“It was everything I expected and much more,” she said. “I heard so many great things about this organization and they are the best group of people to be around. Getting to the Super Bowl is always the end goal, but there’s so much more to it. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities for community involvement without this team and I’m so thankful.”
LaViolette finally had a chance to catch her breath as she returned to work last week.
“I started looking at my calendar yesterday and it was strange to think a week ago I was on a boat ride in San Francisco,” she said. “It’s been a little crazy, so it’s nice to have some quiet time.”
LaViolette will always treasure her moment on the big stage. It was such a big event, she even got her mom, Lisa, to watch.
“She’s never even watched a Super Bowl so she finally watched,” LaViolette said. “My family was pretty excited.”