Photo by Ken Martinson, Marching.com
The only competitive drum and bugle corps from the state of Wyoming marked its triumphant return with an exclamation mark this season. For the first-time in 23 years, the Troopers—founded in 1957 by Jim Jones—performed in Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championship Finals competition, finishing in 12th place with a score of 85.10.
For Trooper alumni, it was a sight for sore eyes. The journey for the 2009 Troopers started more than three years before when the board of directors made the decision to take a break from competition to re-organize.
Fred Morris, current director for the Troopers, first got involved with the corps in 2006.
“We had 22 kids show up, and I thought, ‘Well, it’s a start,’” Morris says. “We just kept recruiting and doing everything that we said we would do and made believers out of everyone that came to the corps, and we ended up in 20th place in 2006. The next year we grew and placed 16th. Here we are, three years later from those 22 kids and in 12th place in Finals.”
“The corps is made up of over 80% of the first and second year corps,” Morris adds. “I will continue to expand and develop the organization and the educational program for the corps. We have a pretty good foundation in which to grow from, and it’s going to be fun and quite a ride; it has been thus far.”
This year, the Troopers performed a Westernized version of “West Side Story.”
“I really feel that ‘Western Side Story’ was the program that was the perfect fit for the Troopers,” says Dean Westman, program coordinator. “The concept allowed us to embrace who we are as an organization while at the same time playing a mix of contemporary literature and drum corps classics.”
But making top 12 was never really part of the overall plan for the 2009 season. “Believe it or not, our goals from a member experience standpoint had very little to do with making it back to the top 12,” Westman says. “We wanted to give the members the most positive educational experience possible and to create a performance experience for the Troopers that would be a springboard for the future, and I certainly feel like we did that.”
About the Author
Gregory M. Kuzma (www.gregorymkuzma.com), who simply goes by “GM,” is a freelance writer and the author of the book “On the Field From Denver, Colorado … The Blue Knights!,” which highlights his 1994 summer tour adventures as a drum corps member.