Heading into its 16th season, the Greater Midwest Cheer Expo (a competition company founded in southern Ohio) is proud to host a variety of exciting competitions for cheerleaders in the Midwest area and beyond. One unique aspect that sets them apart from their competitors is their drive to give back to the cheer community and raise awareness for some vital causes that have touched the lives of the athletes and their families. Founded by recreational coach, Teresa Barbiere, who took over when the annual recreational event host no longer wished to continue. She shares with us, “All the local recreation cheer teams had one end of the year competition. The person who ran the local event no longer wanted to host them and I wanted to take over. The first year I hosted the event, I received a call from ACE All Stars and Star Performance Centre asking if they could bring their teams. So began our open competition events and we have continually added new events each year. Each event now hosts up to 125 teams and 2100 athletes including rec, school, all star, and dance teams, and for the last 5 years we have partnered with Jam Brands as Gold Members giving bids to The US Finals.”


GMCE3To kick off the competition season each year, GMCE hosts a very special event- The Pink Ribbon Cheer and Dance Championships. This competition, held in October, is a favorite among GMCE regulars and the support these athletes and their families show to raise awareness for Breast Cancer can be seen immediately upon entering the building. Teresa states, “As our events grew, I felt very blessed with all of the amazing gyms, teams, coaches and friends that I have had the pleasure of working with. Seeing so many young ladies, women etc. in one venue made me think that it would be amazing to work with The American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  What a great way to let these young athletes feel that they can make a difference and begin raising awareness to them in a positive atmosphere!  I am in awe of them every October, as they raise more than the season before. I love the pink bows, the support and most of all, I love that we are doing something we have a passion for and able to help others. That is what life is about. Being a good person and helping others. I begin in the summer contacting vendors and collecting donations from many companies for the coaches' bags and the raffle baskets etc. We are very fortunate to have some companies that are ready at a phone call every season. But honestly, it's the kids that make the event and the parents that support them, and the coaches that support the event. Everyone is touched by breast cancer in some form. It seems like we all know someone who has had it and to know all of the monies raised goes to those in our area is great.”



GMCE4February is American Heart Awareness month and to help raise awareness each February, GMCE hosts the Go Red Cheer and Dance Championships. “The Go Red event began when I heard about so many young athletes with heart problems. We really never expect to have any heart issues in such young athletes, but many heard defects go undetected. It is important for us to be aware that heart disease affect so many women. I have such a great platform for women, this seemed to go hand in hand with the Pink Ribbon Event. I do set up a fundraiser page every year that can be linked to if people would like to donate, but this event is used more to raise awareness to our young athletes and young ladies about heart health.”


GMCE5This past spring during the annual Spring Fling Cheer & Dance Open Nationals the Greater Midwest Cheer Expo took on a very special project, one that touched them deeply as it involved a little cheerleader they had all grown to love, Lauren McManaway. “Wow. What a special young lady and athlete. I have so much respect for the fight that she fought at such a young age. I consider myself privileged to have known Lauren. When I received the devastating news about this sweet girl, it just crushed me and all of those who knew her. Her beautiful smile could light up the sky. After she passed away, her mother started Love4Lauren to help provide for the oncology department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus where Lauren was a patient. I had seen on Facebook that she was trying to put together Easter baskets for the kids. I just thought I would put on my Facebook if anyone would bring some coloring books and/or crayons to the event it would be nice to help out. It was so amazing that ALL the gyms wanted to help out and we received over 400 coloring books and 300 packs of crayons! More than I could have dreamed! And then…one of our judges knew Sarah Rathel who wrote "There's something Different about My Hair" and called me and wanted to buy 10 books to donate to our event. I said that is amazing and let me buy 100 so that all the kids at the hospital can have one. The author called and was so excited, she offered to come and donate any sales to Love4Lauren! Then one of the judges took money out of her own pocket and made the raffle baskets and all of that money went to Love4Lauren and the winners of the baskets donated them back to Love4Lauren for the kids at the hospital.”



Some closing thoughts by Teresa, “Our events bring in some of the kindest, most talented giving athletes, parents, teams, gyms and families in this industry. I am proud of my profession and my relationship with them all. There is a lot of negativity that surrounds cheer events, but honestly I try to make our events feel like family. When we began this journey, we wanted to treat those who attended our events, the way that we would want our children treated. We put so much back into our events for the kids. They remain our focus at every event.”

For more information on the Greater Midwest Cheer Expo, please their website:

Additional Links

American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

American Heart Awareness


Heart of Cheer would like to thank Teresa Barbiere for her time in interviewing for this article.

Teresa and her husband are the proud parents of 3 daughters. The oldest 2 were in rec cheer, school cheer and competitive cheer and coached for many years. They have been USASF certified safety judges for many years as well. They have seen many changes in the industry and look forward to all that 2014-2015 has to offer.

Leslie cancer awareness,cheerleading competition,giving back,greater midwest cheer expo,heart disease awareness,love4lauren
Heading into its 16th season, the Greater Midwest Cheer Expo (a competition company founded in southern Ohio) is proud to host a variety of exciting competitions for cheerleaders in the Midwest area and beyond. One unique aspect that sets them apart from their competitors is their drive to give...