From auditioning in March to cheering at her first game in September, it was quite the buildup for Rachel.
"Even though we do so many other things, what the fans tie you to is cheering at a home game. And so, here's where you're finally doing that thing that everyone is talking about – where for six months, you didn't even do it yet."
Still, it was time well spent.
"It's been amazing – beyond incredible, really," she says. "One of the biggest reasons I wanted to join this team was for the sisterhood and the organization, that community feel. I thought I had kind of lost it after graduating and I was trying to find my home away from home again."
She found it – not just on the football field, but on the dance floor.
"I took a six-year hiatus from performing," she says. "I just told myself if it was important to me, I would find a way to get back to it."
And she did – in a big way.
Rachel's 2018 Colts Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Shoot in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
"It had been a hot minute and I'm not as young as I used to be, but I work real hard," she laughs. "Just the things that used to be easy, the memorization, the routines, the recall, those are the things that you kind of lose. But even now it's starting to feel like, 'Alright. I have it again. I didn't lose it. It's still buried in there somewhere.'"
But no matter how much time passes, for Rachel one thing never changes.
"The feeling right before a song starts in your stomach, those butterflies – those last counts when it's the silence before the music starts and you're just thinking, 'Oh, my gosh. This is the moment. This is what all those hours are for.' That feeling never fades. It's my favorite part of a performance."
These days, she's performing in front of 63,000 people, which has made her a bit of a celebrity at her other job as a nurse at Riley Hospital for Children.
"I don't ever lead with it, but when a kid is really upset sometimes another nurse will be like, 'Well, did you know that your nurse is a Colts cheerleader?' And then all of the sudden, the pictures come out and the questions and 'Do you know so and so?' It's a really good icebreaker with the kids."
When Rachel isn't working or cheering – she's traveling.
"I have a little bit of wanderlust, I will admit. My favorite feeling in the whole world is experiencing something for the first time – so I'm always chasing that feeling. Whether it's seeing a new place or trying a new food or doing a new activity."
In May, she went to Switzerland. Of all the places she's visited, it's her favorite so far.
"I got off at the train station and I looked up in the sky and more people were in the air – paragliding, hang gliding – than on the ground. 'This is the place for me,'" she thought. "I'm definitely a thrill seeker. Everyone was outside being an adventurer and I just loved that. I just felt like I fit right in with them."
With an infectious personality and a lust for life, it's hard to imagine Rachel not fitting in somewhere.
And she looks forward to putting her passion to use to raise the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium this season.
"What the fans don't realize is, it matters until the very last minute that the crowd is still there and cheering the Colts on just like we are. Not every game can be perfect, but every fan can be."