Kerrie and Cary Overall continue the success of Cheer Zone nearly 20 years after opening their doors to cheerleaders throughout the region.
In 1993 the couple met for the first time, they were both working at the Briarpatch. Kerrie was a hostess and her future husband Cary was a cook. They dated for over six years before getting married in 1999. When they exchanged vows, they never could have guessed the path that their life would take them, far from the college degrees that each had recently earned.
After playing soccer in college at Brescia, Cary worked at Owensboro Grain. Kerrie took a job at Barton Brands and began coaching cheerleading on the side, helping a squad in Ohio County. As interest grew, Overall expanded the number of squads that she worked with, adding Burns and Apollo, two of the teams she cheered for when she was in school.
“I always loved cheer, but my class load as a Chemistry major was too great to cheer in college, Kerrie said. “Once I had my job I wanted still be involved in cheer.”
Overall loved teaching on the side, so much that she and her husband decided to rent a small building on Second Street, leasing half of the space with a month to month commitment. The couple both worked full-time jobs and then headed to lessons from 4-9 p.m. at their building space. While Kerrie had years of experience in gymnastics and cheer, her husband was brand new to the scene, ready to take on the challenge to support his wife.
“It kept getting bigger and bigger,” Cary said. “Before helping Kerrie, I didn’t even know what a back handspring was. I just called it a backflip.”
January 5, 2000 was the first official day Cheer Zone was open for business. For three years, Cary continued to keep up with two jobs. He worked 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no lunch and then went straight to coaching gymnastics and cheerleading in the evenings. They picked up several school teams and even started doing birthday parties.
In 2001, when the couple built their facility just off Carter Road where they currently operate, they still didn’t realize that this would become a full time gig. As business continued to grow and expand, the Overalls were in awe of how far teams would travel to receive their instruction.
“If it’s within an hour of here, chances are we’ve coached them in the last 20 years,” Cary said. “We have worked with athletes from Muhlenberg, Jasper, Ohio County, Evansville, Rockport, Mclean County, and all the local teams.”
Cary says that what fuels his passion is watching a child learn a new skill. According to him, there’s no better feeling than watching a student reach a breakthrough. After leaving Cheer Zone, several students went on to cheer through college.
“Kids are talented,” Cary said. “We just try to pull out the talent in them, get them to take the national stage.”
Former Cheer Zone competitor Ben Head became a cheerleader for the University of Kentucky Wildcats and now is an assistant cheer coach there. Other former students Jordawn Howard, Evan Todd, and Jacob Hicks went on to cheer at the University of Louisville. These are just a few examples of the successes that the Overall family celebrates. Former standouts have also gone to Indiana University, Western Kentucky University and Morehead to continue their cheerleading careers at the collegiate level.
The couple credits the success of Cheer Zone to the positive atmosphere of their business and the support of local teams.
“We have been very blessed,” Kerrie said. “Owensboro is very supportive.”