Saturday’s Old West Weekend was unique among the previous 37 iterations of the marching band competition.
There was no march down Broadway. No trumpets echoing the Scottsbluff High School fight song off the downtown buildings. There wasn’t even a Scottsbluff High School band. According to Band Director Frank Ibero, about 20% of the band was placed under quarantine the day before they were set to perform.
But, despite it all, the 30th Old West Weekend happened.
“Isn’t it great to hear live music?” the announcer at Bearcats Stadium asked just before the day kicked off.
Instead of marching down Broadway, five bands took to the Bearcat Stadium’s track to march for the judges. Bluff Middle School, Hershey High School, Gering Junior High School, Gering High School and Ogallala High School competed for judge’s comments instead of rankings. The event lasted from 9:45 a.m. until around 3:30 p.m. when the Ogallala troop left the field.
Each band and all its fans would leave the stadium and, an hour or so later, bands and fans from another school flooded the stadium.
In a previous interview, Ibero said that the track’s four turns might provide an additional difficulty. While most of the bands saw good weather with light wind, the Ogallala band performed in frigid temperatures.
While most of the SHS band is at home under quarantine, one member Riley Ibero was able to stick around and help out.
“I was pretty disappointed,” Riley said, referring to his reaction when he found out he and his bandmates wouldn’t perform this weekend.
He said his band hadn’t had the chance to perform their full field set after venturing to Ogallala last weekend. He assisted in behind-the-scenes functions of the weekend.
“I’m glad I still get to do something,” Riley said.