Although the drums, bugles and color guard equipment have been put away long ago, the strong friendships and shared memories remain. Great Bend and Barton County’s Argonne Rebels alumni, friends and supporters will gather on July 11, for a reunion in Great Bend.
“This summer’s gathering is part of the organization’s efforts to celebrate the drum corps’ history, and to say thank you to the community, whose support was legendary,” said Ron Straub, one of the reunion organizers. Ron was in the corps from 1968 through 1973.
The reunion is part of four days of events that will be kicked off by an exhibit of the corps’ history that is being staged at the Great Bend Public Library. The exhibit will open June 1 and run through Aug. 31. The dedication will take place during the reunion at 3 p.m. on July 11, and everyone is welcome.
After the dedication, the reunion will be held at the StoneRidge County Club, formally the Great Bend Petroleum Club. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m.
The four-day hometown thank you celebration will conclude the evening of July 14, with the March of Champions drum corps show to be held at Great Bend’s Memorial Stadium. The show will feature six of the best drum corps in America including longtime Argonne competitors: Denver’s Blue Knights, Wisconsin’s Blue Stars and the perennial fan favorite Casper Troopers. The Academy from Phoenix, the Oregon Crusaders and the DCI finalist Crossmen from San Antonio will fill out the field.
More information on all the activities and the events of the reunion weekend will be released soon.
Ticket information can be found at the web site, www.drumsacrosskansas.com along with further show information.
Ron said a lot of contacts with corps veterans have been made, but there are more out there. “We want to get a plea out to the community that if anyone knows a former member, let us know.”
Reunion Chairperson Linda Straub Hart has requested that alumni, friends and supporters interested in attending contact her at email@example.com.
The efforts of area residents enabled the corps to not only compete with drum corps from larger population bases like Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area among others, but to win their share and bring home numerous championships, including three national titles, Ron said. The corps also won numerous state American Legion and V.F.W state championships.
“The alumni want to acknowledge what the community did to make all this possible and to bring all those together who made this a very special group,” he said.
And, he said, this is apparent even today. It is expensive to bring these groups to Great Bend, but local residents have been generous in supporting the cause.
Argonne alumni have worked for the past year with the Kansas Humanities Council, the Smithsonian, and the Library to make this special event possible. Hometown Teams is a project that is staging several exhibitions around the state and the Argonne Rebels are very proud to be representing Great Bend.