The Nevada marching band performs their show on Nov. 9. The band is wearing blue and silver uniforms.
Sarah Strang/Nevada Sagebrush. Nevada marching band plays their show at the annual Sierra Band Crusade. Led by drum major Stefan Harpster, Nevada helped oversee 14 local area high school marching bands.

The University of Nevada, Reno hosted the annual Sierra Band Crusade—the largest high school band competition to take place in northern Nevada—on Saturday, Nov. 9. The competition features fourteen high school marching bands from the northern Nevada region, welcoming high schools from as far as Elko and Spring Creek. 

The bands are judged by six different captions: music effect, visual effect, music ensemble, visual ensemble, percussion and color guard.

Music and visual effect scores are gauged as the ability to perform a captivating show. This includes the design of the show and the quality of its performance. Music and visual ensemble focuses on the individual’s ability to play music and perform respective movements.

Percussion and color guard captions focus on the ability of the individual performers in relation to the full show. These are stand-alone and do not count towards overall score.

Each band is allowed a total of 15 minutes on the field from setup to departure. Bands that go over the 15-minute mark are penalized one point every 30 seconds of overtime.

The adjudicators of this event were Dr. Brad Snow judging music effect, Dr. Rickey Badua providing music analysis and Chris Cowling providing visual analysis. Additionally, Ivan De la Cruz judged visual effect and John Sullivan judged color guard.

Class A Division

Fernley High School’s Fernley Vaquero Band pioneered the competition with their show, “Revolutions.” They were directed by Benjamin Gibson and Lisa Causey. Fernley earned an overall score of 50.15 and finished in fourth place.

Next was “Sound of the Iron Horse” Railroader Marching Band from Sparks High School, directed by Garrett Spalka with their show titled “Nightmare.” Sparks earned a 57.35 score and was given the “Outstanding Visual” award. They earned first place in their division.

The Dust Devil Marching Band from Dayton High School performed their show “The Beatles” directed by Joshua Strickland. Dayton earned an overall score of 51.5 and was given third place for their efforts.

Last to perform in this division were the Marching Spartans from Spring Creek High School. They were led by director Christopher Hansen. Their show featured music from the musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Spring Creek earned a score of 55.85, given the “Outstanding Music,” “Outstanding Percussion” and “Outstanding Color Guard” as well as second place in Class A.

Class AA Division

The first to perform in the Class AA Division was the Blue Thunder Marching Band from Carson High School, led by director Bill Zabelsky. Their musical program titled “E Pluribus Unum” earned a sixth-place finish with an overall score of 63.15.

Second in this division was Greenwave Marching Band from Churchill County High. Their show titled “The Beatles” was led by director Thomas Fleming. The band earned an overall score of 56.75 and placed seventh.

Next was the Band of Indians from Elko High School. Directed by Michael Broyles, their show, “Gold,” placed third in AA earning a score of 69.9.

The Panther Marching Band from North Valleys High School performed their show “Seige” directed by Greg Canfield. The band earned a score of 66.85, earning fourth-place in their division.

Following NVHS was the Grizzly Marching Band from Galena High School. Directed by Jason Smith, the band performed their show titled “Black Widow.” They earned a fifth-place finish with a score of 64.1.

In second place, was the Cougar Marching Band from Spanish Springs High, led by David E. Morris. Their show was titled “Essence of the Warrior” which earned an overall score of 73.85. 

Douglas Tiger Marching Band from Douglas High performed their show, “A Moment in Time” directed by Tammy Owens. The Tigers earned a score of 75.65. The “Outstanding Music/Visual/Percussion/Color Guard” awards were all given to Douglas.

Class AAA Division

Robert McQueen High School’s marching band—led by Natalia Tomasello—performed their show “Filtered Reality,” earning 83.65 points. The performance placed first in their division and won “Outstanding Music/Visual/Percussion/Color Guard” awards.

Class AAAA Division

The Raider Band from Reed High performed “Through Their Eyes” directed by Ron Eichstedt. Reed won first place in the division with a score of 80.8. They won “Outstanding Music” and “Outstanding Percussion” for the performance. 

Damonte Ranch High was last to perform with their show, “Barriers” led by director Christi Blahnik. They earned an overall score of 80.25 and placed second. They also won “Outstanding Visual” and “Outstanding Color Guard.”

The Grand Sweepstakes Award—better known as the Governor’s Cup—was given to Robert McQueen High School. McQueen last won the Cup in 2017.

Sarah Strang can be reached at and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.