Send 30 or so NFL cheerleaders out on the beach on a summer day in matching bikinis, and it's most likely going to get noticed.
The Philadelphia Eagles did send most of their camera-ready, fan-friendly cheerleaders out to the beach in front of the Atlantic City hotel called The Chelsea on Wednesday afternoon in uniform - bikinis decorated with Eagles' logos on the back. Yes, the scene managed to draw a crowd - and lots of lenses.
The Eagles were looking for the attention from their fans and the media for their 2014 cheerleader calendar, which the team planned to unveil in an evening event at The Chelsea. The calendar pictures were shot on New Jersey beaches from Cape May to Atlantic City and up to Seaside Heights. The team announced before the May photo sessions that the Eagles will donate all the profits from this year's calendar to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Several of the cheerleaders on the beach - for a series of semi-serious athletic competitions with Atlantic City firefighters and State Police - also had local connections.
Tiffany Monroe lives in Absecon, teaches in Somers Point and likes to go to the beach in Margate, where her father, Lenny, is an ice-cream man.
The Eagles veteran has seen the reaction she and her cheering colleagues get when they show up in public as a group. And although Wednesday was the first time they ever did a big cheerleader event on a local beach, she added that the scene was just about normal.
Michaelaann Guaracini, a rookie cheerleader who grew up in Vineland and goes to the beach in Ocean City, was having fun with the attention.
"It's been amazing just to see all our fans - and all our diehard fans come to the Jersey shore as a second home," she said.
She got into a Dizzy Bat race, and a contest in which the cheerleaders had to catch footballs and toss them away as they ran around a field marked with traffic cones.
"We're basically just doing a drill - with our own little cheerleader aspect added to it," she explained.
Chris Emmell, the president of Atlantic City's firefighters' union, said it really wasn't hard to recruit about 15 off-duty guys to compete with and against the cheerleaders.
"It was for a good cause," he said, with a grin.
One spectator, Matt Potash, is a longtime condo owner in the Ocean Club, the high-rise building next to The Chelsea.
"At last, some glamour," he said. "It's the best thing I've seen on this beach in 19 years."
To buy copies of the calendar, go to PhiladelphiaEagles.com
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