BULLARD — For the 29th annual KTBB Scholastic All-Stars Awards Banquet, a perfect keynote speaker was chosen.

Kristi Scales is entering her 29th season working for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network. It will be her 21st season as the sideline reporter.

Scales said she does call-ins to the radio show of Bill Coates during the season. Coates, the host of SportsTalk with Bill Coates, coordinates the Scholastic All-Stars event, which took place Thursday night at KE Bushman’s Celebration Center.

“He asked me several months ago if I would be able to come out, and it’s such an honor to be with these scholastic All-Stars,” Scales said. “The time that they are in their lives is similar to where we are with the Cowboys. We just had rookie mini camp where the young players came in, and also this weekend is the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader auditions. This will be my 18th year being a judge for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader auditions. They’re making a big transition just as these young scholastic All-Stars are about to.

“My message tonight is one about sharing tips for success, things I’ve observed from some of the top coaches, Cowboys players and cheerleaders over the years. It’s hard making that leap, going from being the best player on your team, the smartest person in your room or the best dancer on your squad to the elite level. But what sets people apart, the ones that become successful is they don’t let the fear of failure stop them from taking the next step.”

Scales shared that message along with a story about how when she was a young girl, she would stand on top of a Pizza Hut dumpster to watch Cowboys practice in the Lake Highlands area and then try to acquire autographs from Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Roger Staubach and other Cowboys.

“I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to work for the Cowboys,” Scales said. “Back then, people thought the only girls who worked for the Cowboys would be cheerleaders. There are a lot more opportunities now for women in sports, particularly in the NFL, than when I started in 1991.”

Honorees included Brook Hill’s Peyton Adams, Alba-Golden’s Grace Bizzell, Spring Hill’s Macy Borens, Tatum’s Ashton Brown, All Saints’ Cate Clements, Van’s Brayden Doring, LaPoynor’s Austin Dunn, John Tyler’s Erynn Henderson-Ryder, Union Grove’s Cade Judd, Lindale’s Brina Kuslak, Whitehouse’s Jenna Leihgeber, Longview’s Brady Miller, Arp’s Holtan Quinn Roberts, Tyler Lee’s Meghan Romines, Canton’s Cameron Sullivan, Sabine’s Scottie Taylor, Hawkins’ Olivia Urwiller, Chapel Hill’s Maddy Wages, Bullard’s Dakotah Walsworth and New Summerfield’s Collin Wilkerson.

“It’s a blessing,” said Wilkerson, who is New Summerfield’s valedictorian and will play basketball as a walk-on at UT Tyler. “I’m glad to be a part of this.”

“It feels really good to know I was good at sports and able to keep my grades up at the same time,” said Henderson-Ryder, who will attend North Texas for a degree in business administration.

“It’s so awesome to be a part of this elite group,” said Romines, who will major in math education at Pepperdine University. “It was a lot of work but definitely worth it.”

“I think it’s a very big honor,” said Clements, who will attend Northwestern University as a chemical engineering major.

Clements helped make a prosthetic hand.

Coates said there were three valedictorians chosen this year and also a member of Longview’s state championship football team.

The Scholastic All-Stars were presented with a plaque and a scholarship.

TWITTER: @BrandonOSports

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