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 is now a Winter Guard International adjudicator, and 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 begins.
In 1978 Earl and Cindy Carlheim moved to Colorado and new guards were formed with new instructors and with staff from guards no longer active. CDCGC had 9 guards in the 1979 season. The Carlheim’s inspired everyone with their energy and optimism, and spurred everyone into renewed effort. (Earl’s unit “Nova” still competes in the Colorado events!)
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. “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, more groups have made finals including the 1st place finish in 1994 by Pomona High School, winning the gold medal in Scholastic Open. Pomona repeated that honor in 1999 with a record setting score for Scholastic Open. Pomona has been a consistent Scholastic World Class finalist ever since.
Oracle Winter Guard brought a new musicality and visual interpretation to the Colorado scene in 1998. Oracle consistently made WGI Championship Finals, and won the gold medal for Independent Open Class in 2002. Oracle solidly moved into the Independent World competition in 2003 finishing in 9th place.
Each year, Colorado sends one quarter of its membership to the WGI World Championship competitions. In 2001, 11 units made semifinals, and 7 units were finalists! The quality continues to excel with groups like Signature Color Guard, which has been around since 1993!
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.
RMCGA continues to grow both in numbers and talent. As people age out, they are becoming instructors or creating new color guards. RMCGA members have become consistent finalists at WGI Championships
The number of Units at selected Championship contests:
1981 – 11
1983 – 13
1987 – 10
1990 – 7
1999 – 29
2000 – 27
2001 – 31
2002 – 36
2003 – 40 – 30th Anniversary season