MUSKEGON, Mich. — Sunday's home Muskegon Lumberjacks' game at the L.C. Walker Arena won't start until after 11-year old Sophia Saylor clears the ice.
She already has three years of performing the Star-Spangled Banner in front of big crowds. For her the road to local national anthem celebrity took off moments after her mother posted a video to Facebook.
That was in the fall of 2016. Sophia and her mother Kacey Sillman were watching the Chicago Cubs on television. Sophia, at that time 9, commented that she wasn't impressed by the man singing the anthem at Wrigley Field.
"I was like I think I can do better than that," she remembers saying.
And just like that the challenge was on.
"I was like do it," said Kacey.
A few minutes later Kacey's video of her daughter singing was on Facebook. And a few hours after that the video already had 128 comments, 171 shares, and 376 likes.
"She just killed it," said Kacey.
Since that day Sophia has become a regular at Lumberjack's games and other Muskegon area sporting events.
"Three times at the Clipper's games," said Sophia.
In that first video she relied on cue card with the lyrics to the song written out in big, bold, letters. The words were held just inches from her face so she could see them due to the vision impairment she was born with.
"It's not fun," she said.
The condition is know as Septo-optic dysplasia. Kacey says it's a disorder that impacts early brain and eye development resulting in underdeveloped optic nerves and limited vision.
Sophia now has new powerful glasses to improve her vision, and she no longer needs those cue cards with the lyrics to the song.
"I'm not just making my family proud, I'm making people happy," she said.
Sophia's next performance is Sunday, Jan.13 at 3:15 p.m. at the L.C. Walker Arena.
It's also 13 On YOUR SIDE day at the game. 13 On Your Side's morning team will be there as the Muskegon Lumberjacks host the Central Illinois Flying Aces.