UT cheerleader to perform in London New Year's Day parade

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - For Denise Bennett, cheerleading is part of her daily routine.

"Basically, my whole week is cheer," she jokes. "I practice a lot."

The day after Christmas she's traveling to London, England alongside 650 other cheerleaders and dancers as part of the All-American Varsity Spirit team.

Her mom, Inger Bennett, says she's been cheering since she was six years old.

"She just started off kind of flipping and she could be in the department store and she would like do a cartwheel," her mother recalls.

When she was older, Bennett joined an elite cheer team. Once she arrived at United Township High School, Bennett joined the Panthers cheer squad.

This past summer she tried out and made the All-American team.

"This year when I tried out I was shocked when I actually made it," Bennett says.

While several other cheerleaders from UTHS were selected as an All-American, Bennett is the only one who has decided to travel to London.

She says she's looking forward to being a tourist.

"Just like exploring London," Bennett says on what she's most excited for. "I hope I get to have a day off to explore."

"It's a once in a lifetime thing," her mother believes.

Of the more than 300,000 cheerleaders and dancers who try out each summer, only ten percent make it.