MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Five days removed from their last competitive performance, the Blue Devils became the latest corps to break 80 points, finishing atop a lineup of eight World and four Open Class groups on Saturday at DCI Minnesota presented by the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps.
In the first meeting between two of last year’s top-four finishers, the Concord corps (1st, 81.700), picked up a victory over The Cavaliers (2nd, 80.100), while winning all captions except color guard.
“I’m feeling terrific,” drum major C.C. Waggoner said. “Getting the time here in the state of Minnesota after long drives from the west, to just stretch and recharge our batteries and work on the show a lot has just been a blessing for the whole drum corps.”
The Green Machine still found itself within striking distance of the top; its 1.6-point gap is the closest the corps has been to the Blue Devils since 2011.
Competition remained heated between Phantom Regiment (3rd, 75.250), Blue Stars (4th, 74.600) and the Crossmen (5th, 73.500), which have all spent the majority of this season jockeying for position with one another.
After falling to the Blue Stars two nights prior for the first time since 2016, Regiment regained its lead thanks to strong third-place finishes in the general effect and music captions.
On a positive note for the La Crosse, Wisconsin corps, Saturday marked Blue Stars’ first head-to-head win of the season over the Crossmen, having lost the three prior matchups by an average of two tenths of a point.
“Entering this weekend the main thing for us was to not even acknowledge what has happened so far [competitively],” Blue Stars drum major Taylor Smith said. “As we go forward, especially this early in the season, our goal is to just make the show the way we want it to be, to make it the best we can make it, and to perform the hell out of it.”
Colts (6th, 71.300) squeaked out a third consecutive head-to-head victory over the Madison Scouts (7th, 71.250) at Saturday’s event, despite finishing three tenths below the Scouts in the general effect caption.
After three close losses to start the season, the Dubuque, Iowa corps defeated the Scouts for the first time since 2009 Thursday in Wausau, Wisconsin, before opening up a lead of more than a point at Friday night’s Rockford, Illinois event.
“That was a really good run,” Colts drum major Jack Riehl said. “I thought they did a great job of bringing the energy but also still keeping it focused while it was going on.”
Rounding out the World Class standings, Genesis finished in eighth place with a score of 63.300.
Genesis drum major Cameron Wilson said that his corps has recently put in a number of changes to the corps’ 2018 production “RetroVertigo.”
“There’s a lot of energy behind these changes, and they went out and performed them really well,” Wilson said. “We went out and threw down what we had been rehearsing and threw it down really well.
Earning a commanding victory over three fellow Open Class corps, Legends, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, earned a score of 56.600, improving upon Friday night’s season debut in Rockford by nearly three full points.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Legends drum major Emily Thomas said. “The energy that the members give me throughout the performance — it’s tangible how excited they are about the show, and everytime they perform it, it’s absolutely incredible.”
In the corps’ third competitive event on the young season, Minnesota’s own River City Rhythm took second place with a score of 53.300, while finishing first in its class in percussion.
The corps saw its score improve by just over two points since its last outing on Monday. Saturday’s 3.3-point gap marked the slimmest ever between River City Rhythm and Legends.
“We had an absolutely great show,” River City Rhythm drum major Adam Shew said. “Our first impact today was absolutely incredible. I know a lot of people in the corps are from Minnesota, and we have a lot of family and friends in the crowd. I could really feel us feeding off that energy.”
Earning a score of 50.000, Colt Cadets took third place in Open Class and edged Shadow (4th, 48.550) in the two corps’ first meeting of the season. While Colt Cadets held solid leads in the general effect and visual captions, Shadow defeated its competitor from Iowa by a slim margin in total music.
Minnesota Brass, Chops, and Govenaires — three ensembles based in an around the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area — also made appearances at Saturday’s event in exhibition.
As the DCI Tour begins to make its way toward the inaugural DCI Midwestern Championship in St. Louis, the bulk of Saturday’s corps will remain in Minnesota for Sunday’s event in Rochester — with the rest headed to Waukesha, Wisconsin — before making their way south.