1985 Bears Coverage: Honey Bears lose spot on sidelines

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Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Honey Bears lose spot on sidelines

Lynn Sweet

Originally published Nov. 16, 1985

The Honey Bears, the Darlings of the Midway, will have to pack up their pompons. This is the season of their last her-rah.

“The club has elected not to renew its contract with the Honey Bears,” General Manager Jerry Vainisi said yesterday. “We are appreciative of the efforts of the many girls who have participated in the Honey Bear program.”

Vainisi said the club will review its game entertainment format before the 1986 season. “We will continue to strive to provide programs that are attractive and enjoyable,” he said.

Bears spokesman Ken Valdiserri said he was “not at liberty to give reasons why the contract was not renewed.” The Honey Bears kicked to life in 1977 when the Bears were run by George Halas and General Manager Jim Finks. The Bears eventually contracted with the A-Plus Talent Agency to recruit and train the 32 regulars and four alternates who make up the squad.

A-Plus President Sharon Wottrich and Honey Bears choreographer Cathy Core learned that their contract will not be renewed in a meeting yesterday with Vainisi.

They could not be reached for comment last night.

“The girls are quite upset,” Core said recently when it appeared the Honey Bears were on the endangered-species list.

In recent weeks, Wottrich and Core hoped that a public outcry would save the Honey Bears. However, the decision to disband the squad was reached last year by Bears President Michael McCaskey, and had little to do with the estimated $50,000 annual cost of the Honey Bears.

McCaskey reportedly was not enamored with the idea of young women in low-cut uniforms performing Rockettelike dance routines from the sidelines during football games.

However, the Honey Bears got a year’s reprieve when A-Plus pleaded that the squad already had 1985 charity bookings. Last year, the squad donated a combined 3,000 hours to help raise money for charities.

Members are paid $15 a game plus $5 for parking, and fees for appearances before non-charitable groups.

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