Thanks to all of those listed below (alumni, boosters, former Pioneer Staff, personal friends, current members, and people who I regretfully do not recognize. Regardless of the amount, it was your intensions and desire to be of help that leaves me so grateful. “Love you all!”
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
The corps had a great rehearsal day, late evening supper, clean-up and then the fleet left the school’s parking lot. The usual order for the fleet traveling was the equipment truck first, then the camper/trailer, the four buses, and finally the food truck. The school was located on top of a high hill in Dubuque.
We headed out on the usual route which entailed a long, high hill with a stop sign at the bottom of the hill. The problem was that there were several neighbors’ cars parked on the corners that we needed to turn on. Several of us pounded on house doors, and admit with the idling of 6 diesel vehicles, none of the neighbors answered.
Using our usual GPS, the lead truck rerouted going through a few neighborhoods on narrow roads that lead us to a very steep downward hill. We recognized the hill’s steepness and we radioed to each other, to proceed “one vehicle at a time.” The equipment truck made it. The camper/trailer was next to go. The driver, Mrs. Carol Hellman and Roman Blenski were sitting in front. All of a sudden Carol exclaimed, “My brakes are not holding.” The emergency brakes had no effect. I radioed the buses, “Don’t come!” and we slammed into about a four foot stone wall. The camper went up and over the wall, but it came to an abrupt dead stop before an enormous descent down the cliff into some huge trees. The reason the camper hung up from not going over the cliff was because it was towing a trailer with the two golf carts that got held up by the huge rocks on the stone wall.
Mrs. Hellman and I were thrown against the windshield, but not hurt. Neighbors came with ladders to help us out and up the hill.
In the meantime two tow trucks and a crane were called to lift the camper up off the side of the hill. The police re-routed the rest of the corps. The tow truck drivers disconnected the drive shaft, drained the propane tank, and the full 50 gallon tank of fuel. As the tow trucks held the camper, the trailer with two golf carts was disconnected and the crane pulled up the vehicle off the side of the hill. It was very painful to hear and observe as the crunching sound of metal and plastic breaking up was taking place.
Some kind neighbors from Dubuque offered the use of their bathrooms and gave Carol and I a plate of tuna sandwiches and chips! This for sure was a memorable evening full of “challenges!”
My wife, Sue, brought our family’s Suburban, driving up all the way from Milwaukee, and we continued the tour, now running the corps and ourselves out of boxes, now in a much smaller, but comfortable vehicle.
Thankfully between your generous donations and insurance, we will be allowed to get a replacement vehicle for next summer. So now you know the rest of the story.
Humbly, but Better Every Day!.....Let’s keep in touch!
PS: If I forgot to list your donation or member number, please let men know!
If you would like to donate, your name will be added to this list. Once we purchase another camper, all names will be engraved on a plaques for display at Pioneerland.
|Donor Name||Member Number|
Some of the hardest working extraordinary human beings that the Pioneer Corps has ever had, ended the season on Sunday. All of the buses and trucks are back, members drove or have flown home except for about 15 who are hanging out at Pioneerland, not wanting to end it all yet.
Our victories came in the face of taking on challenges and solving them. Even though we had a smaller corps than the past average of about 94 members, we put on quite a production that so many fans in the stands were excited about. Your staff did a wonderful job of helping to make that excitement happen. During each show we experienced several rousing applauds and very often the shows ended with a standing ovation!
The judging system was not very generous to us, basing their stingy scores on individual performance issues. It is very hard to believe that with the enthusiasm and applauses ringing in our ears from literally thousands of people who eagerly watched our production, that our scores and improvements from show to show were not recognized or given credit from the judges.
Listed here are the awards that were given at the Pioneer Banquet on Monday night. A unit full of highly talented that our 56 year system was strained to acknowledge so many.
Our soloists were outstanding, led by our “star” Jackie Hirn. Her beautiful voice and characterization was the high point of our show all season. All Pioneer hearts stopped and eyes teared up as her microphone malfunctioned in the Quarterfinals. It was hard for the corps and for her too. Besides being an outstanding drum major and corps leader, she WON DCI’s Top Individual Vocalist award, outscoring others for the 3rd consecutive year at their solo-ensemble (I&E) contest. Jackie sang her song beautifully, confidently, and stellar! Her personal characteristics added a lot to the show. She also organized the Pioneer Choir which placed third.
Our trombone soloist, Jacob Pike, aged out after three seasons. His personal characteristics added a lot to the show, besides receiving the Section Award and being the winner of the Veteran of the Year Award. He was always, and I mean always the last and the first to the equipment truck. He will be missed!
DCI winners of the I&E Auxiliary Awards (flags, sabers, rifles) was a star, who with his outstanding skills was often hard to see in front of the corps, but definitely was a crowd-pleaser, and now the recipient of the Guard Award, Austin Crawley. He was the happiest man in Pioneer.
Joey Tackett, our 5 year vet (tuba for 4 years & drum major for this season), received the DCI Scholarship Award for his contributions to many outside activities, an imposing leader and future band director that will excel for his students. Thank you, Joey!
So many others…talented Flugel Horn Soloist, Andrew “VK” Pearson, produced a beautiful tone quality that filled the stadiums with awe from fellow brass players…Zak, a veteran leader for the percussion… Shane, veteran leader of the front ensemble and “Waffle King!”…T.J., Gloria, Cloe, and our South African baritone, Johannes, running away with the Rookie of the Year award, section leader award, and unanimously the Bus General with the cleanest in the fleet…Armond with 4 years the trumpet rock from Texas. Notice our “Gear Department” on the road with many, many, great new designs. Mr. Jeff Williams put the Corps’ name out there….Props, or focal points that every corps must now have, giving credit to chairman Josh Pier and Ja’Malh Wallace, as well as kudos to art designs by Jackie Bilder and John Schoenknecht. The construction of our props was done by Dr. and Mrs. Knepp, the grandparents of Garet Williams. Wind, tornados, or hurricanes, would never blow down these well-constructed props. Thank you!
Rumor has it that our brass caption head, Randall Bennett, might step down after 6 years. He was an awesome recruiter, a steady leader, a person who noticed everything (P.W.N.T.) and led the brass section with his whole heart and soul. He was voted twice as staff member of the year. He will be missed. He says that he needs to move on with his career now that he has graduated. We look forward to hearing what “lucky” band has the good fortune of hiring him…Randall you are among the best ever!
While the applause of the crowd still rings in my ears, I cannot say enough about everyone involved. We all worked endless hours to achieve excellence. A few dropped off along the way, but were quickly covered by truly magnificent other individuals.
Thanking you a hundred times would not be enough, but cherish the memories that we created, the challenges we took on, and the masses of people that bonded together for 80 days. We were Better Every Day, Just ask us! RB
PIONEER MEMBERS OF 2017
We celebrate our successes and encourage those successes throughout the Corps, especially at our Annual Awards Banquet held on the last week of our tour in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The following people, voted by everyone concerned, were the best of our
“Extraordinary Human Beings” living the Pioneer Motto,
“BETTER EVERY DAY!
Veteran of the Year JACOB PIKE Baritone Arlington Heights, Illinois
Runner Up Joey Tackett Tuba Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Runner Up Katy Jansen Guard Cincinnati, Ohio
Rookie of the Year JOHANNES MOTLHABANE Mellophone South Africa
Runner Up Gloria Garner Tenor Fredericksburg, Virginia
Runner Up Austin Crawley Guard Indianapolis, Indiana
Best Instructor BILL McCLENDON Brass Jacksonville, Florida
Runner Up Josh Pier Visual De Forest, Wisconsin
Runner Up Javier Ramirez Tenor Indianapolis, Indiana
Best Support Staff TANYA BARE Food Department Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin
Runner Up Charity Brook Bus Driver Cudahy, Wisconsin
Runner Up Jerry Culbertson Food Department Columbia City, Indiana
Most Appreciated JERRY CULBERTSON Food Service Columbia City, Indiana
Best Trumpet ANDREW MODISANE Trumpet South Africa
Best Mellophone JOHANNES MOTLHABANE Mellophone South Africa
Best Baritone JACOB PIKE Baritone Arlington Heights, Illinois
Best Tuba SAM KEARNS Tuba Champaign, Illinois
Best Snare CHIAKI MATSUDA Snare Amagasaki Hyogo Japan
Best Tenor GLORIA GARNER Tenor Fredericksburg, Virginia
Best Bass PETER HANDERHAN Bass Bel Air, Maryland
Best Cymbals J.D. MESGER Cymbals Gotham, Wisconsin
Best Front Ensemble TIFFANY WANG Front Ensemble Downers Grove, Illinois
Best Flag ASHLYN JONES Flag Pilot Mountain North Carolina
Best Weapon AUSTIN CRAWLEY Weapons Indianapolis, Indiana
Best Dressed Male COLIN SCHAKELFORD Trumpet San Antonio, Texas
2nd Place Austin Crawley Guard Indianapolis, Indiana
3rd Place Ernie Vera Guard Instructor Walnut, California
Best Dressed Female MEGAN WEAVER Guard Kenosha, Wisconsin
2nd Place Ashlyn Jones Guard Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
3rd Place Katy Jansen Guard Cincinnati, Ohio
Zildian Award ARIANNA JUE Cymbals Cumming, Georgia
Perfect Attendance ARMOND RIGGS Trumpet Wadsworth, Ohio
Perfect Attendance SAM KEARNS Tuba Champaign, Illinois
Perfect Attendance SIENNA JOYCE Tenors Waterloo, Ontario Canada
Perfect Attendance CONNOR WIGART Trumpet Derby, Kansas
Perfect Attendance ANGELICA BARE Guard Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin
Perfect Attendance JESSICA NEISES Mellophone Wichita, Kansas
Perfect Attendance CRYSTAL HARGRAVE Mellophone Sabina, Ohio
Perfect Attendance JACKIE HIRN Drum Major Urbana, Illinois
Perfect Attendance ALLY FARRAND Guard Sargent Germantown, Wisconsin
Perfect Attendance JACOB PIKE Baritone Arlington Heights, Illinois
2017 Age Out CAROLINE RAMIREZ 1 Year Guard Sterling, Virginia
2017 Age Out CONNOR WIGART 1 Year Trumpet Derby, Kansas
2017 Age Out DAVID STENWALL 1 Year Bass Brookland, Arkansas
2017 Age Out MASATO HIRATA 1 Year Bass Oita, Japan
2017 Age Out ZACH HEWITT 2 Years Snare Greenwich, New York
2017 Age Out ANDREW PEARSON 2 Years Trumpet Miami, Oklahoma
2017 Age Out LANCE REISETTER 2 Years Trumpet Ardmore, Oklahoma
2017 Age Out JESSICA NEISES 2 Years Mellophone Wichita, Kansas
2017 Age Out SAM KEARNS 2 Years Tuba Champaign, Illinois
2017 Age Out JACOB PIKE 3 Years Baritone Arlington Heights, Illinois
2017 Age Out ARMOND RIGGS 4 Years Trumpet Wadsworth, Ohio
2017 Age Out JOEY TACKETT 5 Years Drum Major Milwaukee, Wisconsin