The move to Friday afternoon appears to have paid off for The American Legion National Convention Color Guard Contest. The Aug. 24 competition at the Indiana Convention Center had a marked increase in attendance from previous years.
Many of the spectators were cheering on particular guards, of which there was also an increased number this year, with 19 total competing performances. But the added competition didn't faze Harrisburg Post 472 of Houston, which repeated its two class titles from the 2011 contest in Minneapolis. Harrisburg took first place in the Military Open class with a total score of 93.25, followed by Algot Johnson Unit 69 of Whitehall, Mich., with a total score of 81.1, and We-Ta-Se Post 410 of Mayetta, Kan., with a total score of 73. Harrisburg also won the Advancing/Retreating Colors contest with a total score of 85.8, follwed by Greece Post 468 of Rochester, N.Y., with a total score of 83.6, and the 2nd District Department of Indiana Color Guard of Valparaiso, Ind., with a total score of 83.4. The Houston post was named the National Commander's Color Guard.
Memorial Post 196 of Bloomfield, Ind., took first place in the Military class with a total score of 90.95, followed by the 2nd District guard with a total score of 89.5, and Greece with a total score of 89.05. The Eagles Elite Color Guard from Unit 564, of Worden, Ill., repeated its 2011 first-place finish in the Open class with a total score of 90.5, followed by the Chili Post 1830 Family Color Guard of Scottsville, N.Y., with a total score of 87.2.
During a break between class competitions, We-Ta-Se, a Native American post, performed a special routine combining the U.S. colors with objects and rhythms from their heritage.
National Commander Fang A. Wong rushed over from throwing the first pitch at a baseball game nearby to hand out the awards. The contest can be seen in its entirety on demand at www.legiontv.org . The 2013 color guard contest will be held during the national convention in Houston – Harrisburg's hometown.