Every championship the Bushwackers ever won has had it’s own identity. 1986 was a shocker as the corps sneaked up and won in true “Bushwacker” fashion. 1988 was a dogfight the last four shows of the season with an anticlimactic tie. And now 1989 was a year in which the Bushwackers became the front runner with the Sunriers snapping at their heels. The hunter became the hunted.
Bush came out, after a decent winter, in good shape with a talented corps and another difficult show. The Sunrisers were in a similar condition and it became apparent that both corps would pick up where they left off in ’88.
In head to head competition the Sunrisers took the first and third meetings between the two corps. The Bushwackers took the second, fourth and remaining six competitions. Bush pulled away in July and had to maintain their lead into finals. They almost didn’t.
After the first few shows Sun took the risk of making major drill changes in their show. This allowed Bush to pull away and make up points on the rest of the circuit. But eventually when these drill changes were completed and polished it was the Sunrisers who came charging back gaining on Bush right up until finals.
The pace of the season may have had a negative effect on Bush. They were never in the position of dominance like this before and complacency often can sink in. By the time prelims came around they knew they were back in a battle. The question was could they keep their edge over the Sunrisers.
DCA brought a new format to the championship in 1989 by having prelims on Saturday afternoon and finals on Sunday night. The rain of ’87 and ’88 haunted everyone and the circuit had lost money with the two rain soaked championships.
Saturday afternoon prelims were good. Bush put on a good performance and continued their lead in percussion, GE and colorguard. The Sunrisers reportedly had a prelim performance that did not reflect their recent progress. But knowing the Sunrisers they would not put two sub-par performances back to back. The Sunrisers are always dangerous DCA weekend.
Sunday, the day of finals, was clear of bad weather for the first time in three years. Everything seemed fine and Bush was on the track ready to take the field. Sun had just put on their best performance of the year and the crowd was roaring. Then the Bushwackers went out and performed a good show, but not a great show. The corps was better in prelims and everyone in the corps and on staff was nervous. The Bushwackers did not max-out their show. This was not a good feeling.
The corps did not have the fire they usually do, especially the hornline. The drumline and the colorguard carried the corps through and in the end analysis it was the colorguard that pushed the corps over the top. I thought we had lost to Sun.
In the breakdown of scores Bush took 3rd in Visual to Sun and Cabs, .4 out and a tie for 3rd in Brass with the Cabs .5 behind Sun. So Bush was down .9 to Sun in these two captions. But Bush took GE by .2 over Sun and, more importantly, Bush took Percussion by .7 over Sun. That makes up the .9 Bush was down and we have another tie between the Sunrisers and the Bushwackers.
After the 1988 championship a tie breaking rule was developed by using the total GE score as an additional plus .1 to whoever won total GE. With the strength of the Bushwacker colorguard, who won best guard again, this put the extra .1 on the Bushwacker card.
The Bushwackers found another way to win.
Time Check, In Her Family, No Pasaran, Mira Mira
Drum Major: Laurie Kunzle
PRELIMS: 1st – 95.9
FINALS: 1st – 95.1