Cheering Jeff

The Early Show, Varner Jeff, Outcast, Survivor, 010308, RKF
"These are people that are willing and dedicated to work their buns off."

So says former Outback "Survivor" Jeff Varner. And he's not talking about his fellow castaways. He's talking about cheerleaders.

On Thursday, the CBS Early Show caught up with the former college cheerleader while he was attending the 2001 Chick-Fil-A National Cheer and Dance Championship.

Many of his comments about the sport of cheerleading - yes, today cheerleading is considered a real sport - could also be said for his experiences in the Outback.

"They want to win. They are focused, cut-throat, evil people out here sometimes, when it comes to winning. I used to be one of them," he said.

Varner started his "cheering career" at Appalachian State University in the mountains of North Carolina and then transferred to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"This sport is so addictive that you get so caught up in what's going on, you really focus on nothing else."

Varner was returning to the national cheering championship for the first time in 10 years. In 1986, as co-captain, his squad won the competition, and he later returned as coach.

For More Jeff
To see more of Jeff in action, watch the "2001 Chic-Fil-A National Cheer and Dance Championship", April 28, on CBS.
"It's the first time I've ever been to this event and not been in it, and not had a team here as a coach." Varner went on, "My experience at this competition has always been exhausting. You come as a competitor. You're up at the crack of dawn. You're practicing and the sun, all of it."

At the competition he ran into his former college coach, Don Collins who spilled the beans on Varner. "He actually could cheer, which is a good thing. And he always had to be front and center because he thought he looked good," Collins joked of his former squad member.

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