In recognition of Winter Guard International World Championships being held in San Diego this week, we'll be focusing some editorial firepower on anecdotes and stories related to guards. Think back to those formative, funny, inspiring or memorable guard stories and send them in! They can be as long or as short as you would like. Attach a picture of yourself or the situation you're writing about if you can. And by all means, pass this on to your guard friends! We'll edit these stories for clarity, grammar and appropriateness. If you have a guard-related anecdote or story, send it to By Mandy Idso This past summer we spent a few days in Newton, Iowa. That stay alone has left me and the rest of the girls in the Colts with some crazy memories and stories. It rained while we were there -- down poured I should say. We were learning a new dance break for "Blue Sapphire" in one of the only open areas in the school, but we had to share this area with the Newton Cheerleaders. Well, while they were doing their cheers, it took all that we had not to laugh at them, but we all lost it when they were practicing the school song. In the middle of it they break out chanting, "Chi Cha Cha Rah Rah!" From that day on we chanted that phrase before we entered the field.

Left to right: Colts' guard caption head Carla Burgess-Tomsa, guard captain Mandy Idso and guard staff member Scott Markham.
When it had stopped raining, we went out and found ourselves practicing in a giant mud hole. The field had standing water and instead of getting our shoes muddy and wet, we were able to practice in flip-flops. We all thought this was great because the field was nasty -- but then we went to full ensemble. The new dance break we learned required rolling around on the ground. Sure, it was fun learning it, but we did not want to do this in the water and mud. We didn't think that guard caption head Carla Burgess-Tomsa would make us -- but sure enough, we got over to the field, bragging to the horns and drums that we got to practice in our flip-flops. The corps was to set up at the beginning of our dance break. We look up to the tower and see Carla pointing to the ground -- "Down!" We all were a muddy mess that day, and I ruined a brand new pair of lime green shorts, but we still look back to our Newton experience and all we can think of is: "Chi Cha Cha Rah Rah!"