RMCGA’s mission has always been to assist in the education and development of the youth and to promote color guard contests and the winter color guard activity. RMCGA also is committed to fostering positive and safe learning, performing, and working environments for all. It is important for all members of our community to know how to address concerns that may be contrary to this commitment.

Over the years, we as a circuit have developed policies and put protections into place to safeguard students, staff, and members of our organization. All members agree to our code of conduct. Additionally, all educators complete a full SafeSport training.

Our goal is to create and provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone in our organization. To ensure this, we encourage all students, parents, and staff members to voice any concerns anonymously through our whistleblower link. Any and all tips will be reported and investigated to the fullest.

To report an ethics concern or alleged noncompliance, or to seek support from an RMCGA staff member in reporting such an issue, please email your concern to rmcga.whistleblower@gmail.com or fill out the online form. For reports submitted with a means of contact, RMCGA will respond in a timely manner.

Board of Directors

President/Circuit Director:

Shelby McNeill

Shelby has been involved in the marching arts both as a performer and a director for 11 years. Over her performing career, she has competed at the Scholastic/Independent Regional A, Independent A/Open, and Independent World levels, most recently with Malachi World in Denver CO. Shelby has been assistant director within a variety of performance levels in the RMCGA circuit and is currently the Visual/Body Technician for The Pride of Mesa Ridge Marching Band and Executive Director of Color Guard at Mesa Ridge High School. Shelby’s overall goal is to not only teach color guard but to use her program to prepare and create better humans.

Vice President/Director of Training:

Xander Caven

Xander has been involved in the marching arts since 2009. Xander marched with his high school and shortly after decided to spin Independently with the following groups; Mysterium, Solstice Winterguard, Rise Winterguard, Opus X, Malachi Independent, and Invictus. Xander has also been teaching in the RMCGA circuit for over 10 years with various groups and is currently one of the directors at Legacy High School. He is very excited to continue to help grow the RMCGA circuit and grow the Colorado color guard community.

Treasurer/Director of Finance:

Jeff Hargis

Jeff has been involved with the marching band and color guard activities since 2006 as a performer, technician, choreographer, designer, director, clinician, and adjudicator. He began judging Colorado winter guards in 2015 and has since expanded to other activities and states. Jeff is passionate about teaching and mentoring young students and instructors; especially helping students continue their involvement in the marching arts after high school through opportunities such as drum corps, instruction, and independent winter guard. Jeff recently completed his Master’s in School Counseling and works as a high school counselor in Colorado

Secretary/Director of Public Relations:

Michael Sulpizio

Michael has been involved in the color guard activity since 2012 in various roles including performer, technician, choreographer, and most recently adjudicator. Early in his color guard career, Michael found mentors within the dance world that helped him refine his technical skills and explore a world of artistic and stylistic choices to individualize his art of movement. Michael recently completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and looks forward to a new career in critical care nursing.

Contest Director:

Kendra Whelchel

Kendra has been involved with RMCGA since she was 14 years old as a performer for 7 years and on the contest staff for the rest of the time.  She took a few years off in the middle of this time and didn’t know what to do with herself, so she came back! She is also a Contest Administrator for WGI so if you don’t see her at a contest, she is probably traveling to some exciting place (like Kansas City).

Chief Judge:

William Chumley

As a marching member, instructor, consultant, judge, and color guard director, William Chumley has committed over 42 years to the pageantry arts, where his various roles have included: serving on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association for 30 years; judging worldwide for Drum Corps United Kingdom, Drum Corps Japan, Color Guard Netherlands, Winter Guard International, Bands of America, and Drum Corps International for over 29 years; and training, mentoring, and scheduling judges as president of the Rocky Mountain Judges’ Association. William trains judges and instructors around the world.  As a color guard director and instructor, William has created World Championship teams, established fully functioning non-profit arts organizations, and has consulted and taught in both high school and independent settings.  His passion for success along with creating a collaborative environment are trademarks. William is the caption manager for Design Analysis and General Effect with WGI.

Members at Large

Metro / Northern Region

Marissa Keating

Marissa has a plethora of teaching experience, including Oracle Performance Ensemble Dance Company (Executive Director 2023-Present, member 2007-Present) and Dakota Ridge High School (Color Guard Director 2014-2023, Visual Coordinator 2023-Present). Marissa performed with The Phoenix 2009-12, Opus X 2014-15 and 2017-18, Imbue 2016, Pride of Cincinnati 2019, and Malachi 2022. She also received dance training from various studio 2005-12.

Southern Region

Phil Olivas

Phil has been instructing bands for 30 years and is currently the Director of Bands at Mesa Ridge High School. His Concert and Jazz bands have been recognized for excellence and have been CBA Marching Band State Finalists 19 times.  Phil is currently a member of the CBA Marching Committee.  As the Assistant Guard Instructor he has had the privilege of accompanying and coaching the Mesa Ridge Guard to WGI Regionals in  Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Texas.  Phil is a passionate educator and is enjoying growing and sharing his marching and performing experiences with students and fellow instructors.

Western Region

Molly Bethe

Molly started her color guard journey in 2014 at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School. After performing with DHS for three years, she spun with Anesidora Winter Guard for the 2018 season, which also happened to be her senior year of high school. After graduating, Molly moved to Grand Junction, CO to attend Colorado Mesa University, and has been the director at Central High School since 2021. Molly is so excited to represent the Western Slope and to bring more resources over the mountains to students and directors alike!

Circuit History

In the fall of 1972, the Continental Divide Color Guard Circuit (CDCGC) was formed to promote color guard contests in the Rocky Mountain area. Spearheaded by Lee Carlson, the first contests were held in the winter of 1973. Lee went on to become a Winter Guard International adjudicator and a member of the board for the Winter Guard Association of Southern California.

That first year, CDCGC had three contests – all in one weekend! There were no local judges; so five judges from the Midwest were brought in. That meant airfare plus judging fees, so the cost was split between all three shows. CDCGC was off and running.

In 1974 there were 11 guards and more contests. The growing began.

In 1978 Earl and Cindy Carlheim moved to Colorado and new guards were formed with new instructors. CDCGC had 9 guards in the 1979 season. The Carlheims inspired everyone with their energy and optimism and spurred everyone into a renewed effort. Earl’s unit, “Nova,” was a force to be reckoned with for many years!

At the end of the 10th year, there were 16 competitive units including some from Kansas, Wyoming, and Pueblo.

In the late 80s, new instructors and units continued to propel the association. Shows like “Silver Boots” from Aurora Central High School and “A Touch of Class” from Smoky Hill High School led the way for the new high schools. “Nova” and “Speakeasy” challenged the independents to improve and to achieve.

Each year, members of the circuit have improved both locally and nationally. In 1990 Jinx made Winter Guard International Championship Finals, marking the first year a Colorado guard made finals. Since then, many more groups have made finals including 1994 Pomona High School, winning the gold medal in Scholastic Open. Pomona repeated that honor in 1999 with a record-setting score for Scholastic Open and followed that feat with many appearances in Scholastic World Class finals.

Oracle Winter Guard brought a new sense of musicality and visual interpretation to the Colorado scene in 1998. They consistently made WGI Championship Finals, winning the gold medal for Independent Open Class in 2002. Oracle solidly moved into the Independent World competition in 2003, finishing in 9th place. The organization became Opus X in 2007 and continued to make several appearances in World Class finals.

1997 was the 25th Anniversary of the circuit. In honor of this, the name was changed to the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association. Select contests were combined with the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association including the Championship at the CU Event Center in Boulder.

Each year, Colorado sends several units to the WGI World Championship competitions. In 2001, 11 units made semifinals and 7 units were finalists! The quality continued to excel on the national stage with groups like Signature Color Guard, Arvada High School, Legacy High School, Bear Creek High School, Loveland High School, Anesidora Winter Guard, and Malachi Independent.

RMCGA continues to grow both in numbers and talent. As people graduate or age out, they are becoming instructors or creating new color guards. RMCGA members have become consistent finalists at WGI Championships, as both performers and educators, and continue to set new standards locally and nationally.

The number of Units at selected Championship contests:

1978 – 9
1983 – 13
1999 – 29
2002 – 36 (30th Anniversary season)
2022 – 50 (50th Anniversary season)