📅31 January 2014
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By Patrick Lujan

Before there were Pia Gillan (Seattle Sea Gals) and Maria Manibusan DeCabooter (Arizona Cardinals), there was Oakland Raiderette Deborah Luck.deb1

The daughter of 1947 Miss Guam Delfina Carbullido Luck, Deborah hit the NFL sidelines with the Oakland Raiders when Tom Flores was the head coach and Archbishop Felixberto Flores would joke about their relation, Devo was whipping it on the radio and even Guam folks were wondering ‘who shot J.R.?’ in Dallas.

GSPN was fortunate enough to make connection with Deborah Luck via social media – a thought not imaginable back then.

GSPN: What years did you cheer for the Raiders?

Luck: 1979-1982 I tried out on a dare. The boy I was dating said something silly like, “You couldn’t be a Raiderette!” and I showed him. Nearly 600 girls tried out and they chose 13 of us.

GSPN: What are the fondest memories of being a Raiderette?

Luck: Beyond a doubt, meeting my best friend and being a part of this amazing sisterhood! I not only was able to attend one Super Bowl but did go to another one. The year I went as a Raiderette we were one of the first teams to go and win as a Wildcard. Plus that same year was Battle of the NFL Cheerleaders of which we won the AFC.

GSPN: What did you feel that Pia Gillan is probably feeling right now?

Luck: Sheer excitement and pride! It was after that I realized what an extraordinary event I was able to be a part of. Once in a lifetime and forever remembered. Enjoy every minute Pia! Take tons of pictures and save every momento that you can put into a scrapbook for your children.

deb5GSPN: What’s the difference between cheering then and cheering now?

Luck: For me, I was with a team that went to and won a Super Bowl in addition to doing the network Battle of the NFL Cheerleaders show. Now, there are many teams that have cheerleaders but when I was cheering it was a Texas team and the Raiderettes that were popular. When I cheered we were considered “working man’s cheerleaders” as each us held full-time jobs or were full-time students. We cheered for the love of the game and our team. I am sure the wonderful cheerleaders of the NFL have taken that to another level.

GSPN: How much were you paid to be on the sidelines?

Luck: As I recall it was not much. Maybe $15 per game, but really who can get a ticket to be on the sidelines of an NFL game for that? We also received additional monies for personal appearances. Today I must say that I never cheered for the money. The Raiderette Sisterhood that I am a part of is PRICELESS!! There is no amount of money in the world that could give me what I have in enduring and lasting friendships that I have made.

GSPN: What other perks did you get as a Raiderette?

Deborah with her children Chelsea 26, Ty 21 and Janae 16.

Deborah with her children Chelsea 26, Ty 21 and Janae 16.

Luck: I wouldn’t call them “perks” but rather “bonuses!” We were able to meet many inspiring and wonderful people. We were able to participate in the Stay in School program with the U.S. Military. We had little girls that aspired to be US! There is so much that I could fill a page of the blessings I had while being a Raiderette.

GSPN: What did that experience do for you when you were done cheering?

Luck: I have to say that it is still mentioned either by my children or my friends that I was a Raiderette. I consider it such an honor to be a part of this special sisterhood. I have been fortunate in that I was also a judge for Raiderette try outs for seven years. In addition, I was the Raiderette Reunion Chairman for the 40th and 50th anniversary events. Both of the reunions had well over 400 women in attendance. I am also the Admin for the private Raiderette alumni group on FB that has nearly 400 Raiderette’s in the group. Needless to say I am still very involved.

GSPN: Would you encourage other Guam girls to pursue professional cheerleading?

Luck: I wouldn’t say do anything other than be yourself. You are a Chamorrita and that in and of itself is extraordinary! Smile that smile and exude your heritage. One of which I am extremely proud!

GSPN: When’s the last time you’ve been to Guam?

Luck: I have not been in too many years to say…My Nina, Helen Montinola, and my cousins keep asking when I will be coming…my answer…I hope soon!

Deborah Luck's mother was the 1947 Miss Guam - Delfina Carbullido

Deborah Luck’s mother was the 1947 Miss Guam – Delfina Carbullido


NOTE: In 1980, Guam still didn’t have live television. Super Bowl XV was viewed on a one-week tape delay on Guam Cable TV…”at the end of the game they showed me spinning around waving my poms in the air because I knew victory was at hand. No cell phones or social media back in the day but my family’s home phone, with a cord mind you, blew up!”

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