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History for Silver Sabres Salina, KS
Inactive Junior Corps founded in 1966 Did you march Silver Sabres?
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The Silver Sabres was originally known as the Salina [Kansas] Optimist Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, which for many years had performed in local parades. In 1964 the corps was reactivated by the Salina Downtown Optimist Club and rechristened the Salina Silver Sabres.

The Sabres enter their first year of class A competition in 1967. They quickly solidified their spot in the Great Plains Association by placing third, behind the Argonne Rebels and the Hutchinson Sky Ryders. After another third-place finish at the Kansas State American Legion Championship, the Sabres ended the year competing at the VFW Nationals in New Orleans.

From 1968 through 1972 the Sabres again placed third at the state championship. Knowing that national exposure was a key to future success, the corps competed at the 1969 American Legion National Championship in Atlanta, the 1970 and 1971 North American Open in Milwaukee, and the 1970 and 1971 Mid-America Open in Kansas City, as well as numerous contests throughout the Midwest.

The 1971 North American Open was a major highlight for the Sabres, where they placed fourth in preliminary competition behind the Des Plaines Vanguard, the Argonne Rebels, and the Racine Kilties. The Sabres displaced the Sky Ryders in 1973 to take over second place at the state level. The corps entered its first DCI national contest that year in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

In 1974 and 1975 the Sabres suffered the loss of many veteran members, which led to disappointing years. While the heart was there, the inexperienced corps faded from the success of the past. But the traditional uniform was altered in 1976 to give the Sabres a new image, and the corps rebounded with renewed enthusiasm. They won the Great Plains Championship and went to Seattle where they finished second at the American Legion Nationals, losing by less than a point.

1977 saw the Sabres return to a level of competition that they had not achieved since 1973. Winning their first five contests against both the Argonne Rebels and the Sky Ryders, the Silver Sabres captured their second straight Great Plains Championship. The Sky Ryders came on strong at the end of the season to deny the Sabres the state championship.

New management and staff in 1978 were determined to take the Sabres to a higher level of competition. The Sabres struggled at first, but again finished second at state. The stresses of fighting for success proved fatal, however. Money problems and dissension within the corps left the Salina Silver Sabres with only one choice at the end of the season. Although a few of the loyal corps members tried to keep the dream alive in 1979, the Silver Sabres quietly faded into drum corps history.

After a hiatus of 25 years, the Silver Sabres began to reorganize for a return to the field in late 2003. Kansas and the Great Plains would again be represented in DCI, in Division II/III in 2005. In preparation, the corps was given a set of uniforms once belonging to Star of Indiana by the 21st Century Drum & Bugle Corps Foundation.

[www.silbersabres.homestead.com; DCW, 11/03, p.16; DCW, 6/18/04, p.13; DCW, 8/6/04, p.1]

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