OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – A star from Netflix’s “Cheer” is ready to cheer for Weber State University’s nationally ranked cheer team.
Gabi Butler was recruited to Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, in 2019. The junior college is recognized nationally for its cheer program and became the focus of Netflix’s “Cheer,” a six-part series that aired in January 2020. It follows Butler and the Navarro cheer team as they prepare for college nationals.
During the series, Butler is followed by the filming crew for weeks. She tells Weber State, “Half the time, on the show, I was either crying or I was hurt or I was, like, just going through a hard time, and people were like, ‘Wow, we have so much more respect for you now that you showed us that side of you.’ I think that’s the best part of it, people got to see how I actually was, versus the social media aspect.”
The Netflix series focused primarily on Navarro and another top Texas team, Trinity Valley College. While they have claimed national victories many times, at the 2021 college nationals held in Dayton Beach, the Weber State Wildcats captured the Grand National Title with the highest score for the entire competition across all divisions.
Following the victory, the university says it captured the eye of dozens of recruits – both nationally and internationally – to try out for the Spirit Squad, which includes both the dance and cheer teams. Among the hopefuls was Butler.
SLIDESHOW: Gabi Butler
Butler has competed with All-Star teams in Florida and California, where she won several national and world cheerleading titles, Weber State explains. At the age of 12, Butler began creating instructional cheerleading videos on YouTube, starred in the platform’s series “Cheerleaders,” and was profiled on ABC Nightline about the pressures of competitive cheerleading.
Her teammate, Elsa Hassett, who ranked No. 1 in partner stunts at the 2021 national championship, tells Weber State she thought the team was “ridiculously talented” last year, but this year it’s “10 times more talented” with the same intense work ethic. She says Butler fits right in.
Butler is a flyer, one of the cheerleaders on the top of any stunt. She says she plans to end her cheer career in Ogden unless she has the chance to continue and compete at the Olympics. Cheerleading was approved as an Olympic sport in August.
“I used to not like game day at all, but at Weber State, the games are genuinely so much fun. I actually enjoy cheering at the games,” she says. “We get a crowd, and they love our energy, so let’s give it back to them. I am so, so proud to be a Wildcat.”
Weber State University is currently celebrating a week of homecoming with the Wildcats football team gearing up to play rival Montana State University on Friday at 8 p.m.
Netflix’s “Cheer” made headlines months after it came out when one of its stars, Jerry Harris, was arrested on child pornography charges.
For more about Butler, visit Weber State’s website.