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It was 1972, and Vonciel Baker was nervous about the crowds. The twenty-year-old was short and skinny.

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and he used to shimmy with James Brown in his living room as a child. He was one of five raised by a single mother in South Dallas.

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on the wrong side of the tracks in a status-obsessed city, but Baker had a quality you might call sparkle.

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Earlier that spring, he heard a radio spot on local station KVIL announcing that the Dallas Cowboys were looking for a new breed of cheerleader-dancers.

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Over a hundred showed up for tryouts; Only seven made the cut. (Actually, eight did, but an aspiring model dropped out before the season started.)

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They would become known as the Original Seven: Baker, Anna Carpenter, Rosemary Hall, Dolores Mcada, Carrie O'Brien, DeNovoy Nichols and Dixie Smith.

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Each of them stood in that tunnel looking at the artificial turf and the stands of a new football stadium whose glory it hoped to capture.

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The Dallas Cowboys have had cheerleaders before, including a group of high school students in bobby socks and pleated skirts who chant "Charge!" shouted.

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They didn't dance, and they didn't wear it. It's hard to remember in our skin-saturated age, but cleavage and bare midriffs weren't uncommon back.

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This moment in 1972 marked the debut of a daring experiment, a very Texas hybrid of beauty pageants, good-girl manners, and come-here.