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Heartland Events Center prepares for cheer and dance competition

Chairs are closed off at the Heartland Events Center to encourage social distance.
Chairs are closed off at the Heartland Events Center to encourage social distance.(Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 9:48 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska State Dance and Cheer competition is returning to Grand Island for another year. As expected it will look quite different to prevent any spread of COVID-19.

For the last 13 years, the competition has been a two-day event. In 2021 it will be extended over a period of four days.

“Even though we are spreading this out over four days, we are even spreading it out into eight sessions because we will have two sessions per day,” Nebraska Coaches Association Director Darin Boysin said. “We’ll clear the arena after a session through the morning and into the afternoon, we’ll get everything cleaned up and ready to go and bring in new teams.”

Spreading out and cleaning up are just two of the many precautions organizers are taking. They also closed off many seats around the arena to encourage social distance and will limit the number of people in the crowd.

“It’ll be about 1,185 is the official capacity of what we’re doing,” Boysin said. “It’s well below the extremes or what the government is allowing right now, but we had to make decisions months ago on what can we do with tickets sales. We’re probably staying at about a third of capacity.”

Boysin said it was important to them to have the event in person and give the athletes the chance to compete live.

“We had the opportunity to say hey let’s do this virtually and have them submit a tape, but we really think people are just craving something to be out together at an event,” he said. “That’s our goal, to pull it all off.”

The competition starts Wednesday and lasts through Saturday at the Heartland Events Center. Everyone who attends will have to wear a mask.

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