Marching a step above

Buffs sweep Fiesta Bowl parade awards


By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor

  • Outstanding Marching,
  • Outstanding Drum Major.
  • Outstanding Music.
  • Outstanding Percussion.
  • Outstanding General Effect.
  • First Place in Class AA
  • And the Special Award to the Program that Most Embodies the Fiesta Bowl.

The Republic County Marching Buffs had to make room for some metal on their buses home for Phoenix–six large trophies and assorted plaques for the performance in the Fiesta Bowl parade in Phoenix New Year’s Eve.

“It has just been an outstanding trip,” band director Kalen Bebermeyer said Tuesday morning as the buses neared Dalhart TX enroute home. The band arrived home early Tuesday evening.

“I was not expecting to win all the awards,” he said. “I knew our kids could hold their heads high no matter how they were judged.” Bebermeyer said he was especially proud of the 82 band members on two points of endurance: they were the only marching band to march in formation from the staging area, through the parade, and past the finish line to the buses, and two, even though some of the students battled illness before the performance, they were intent that they would march anyway. “We ended up staying in formation more than three miles,” he said. “A lot of the bands just walked to the parade start and quit right at the finish line.”

“Some of the (Republic County) parents who tried to keep up with us were pretty winded,” he laughs. The threat of rain the morning of the parade led Bebermeyer to pull out the ponchos to protect the nearly new band uniforms, but the sun broke out before the start and they weren’t needed. Not marching because of rain was not a consideration, Bebermeyer said.

“The kids said they didn’t come this far not to march,” he said.

The estimated 50,000 Fiesta Bowl Parade crowd and the viewers on Phoenix area television broadcasts weren’t the only people on this trip who enjoyed the Marching Buffs. Students also drew a crowd during practices in Albuquerque NM and Winslow AZ.

“There were great people in Winslow,” Bebermeyer said, a town about the size of Beatrice NE made famous by the Eagles in a song called “Take it Easy”. A highlight at that stop was a radio interview for Bebermeyer by an announcer he grew up listening to in Abilene. Bebermyer timed the television appearance so the band would be playing a medley of US military fight songs.

“The kids played exceptionally well the whole parade,” Bebermeyer said. “They were top notch, and they represented Republic County well.”

Bebermeyer said he was also proud of the students who dressed in “business casual” for the Fiesta Bowl awards banquet, compared to students from other schools who wore jeans. Along with the Ohio State and Clemson college marching bands, high schools from Arizona, California and Ohio were featured in the parade.

Video from the band marching in the Fiesta Bowl parade.

Video from the band practicing in Winslow, Arizona.