Flying tents, torrential rain in Jackson, NJ

Hopkins calls successful show a "miracle"

lightningbolt.jpgAs rehearsal was coming to a close at Jackson on Saturday, I was watching the radar. A storm was coming and it was going to rain,  but how much?

We decided after a conference to NOT open the stadium until after the rain. Clearing the location would be tough and there was not a great deal of shelter. So we sat and waited and watched the radar.

I actually started to wonder about the decision; perhaps it was going to push by? But slowly the lightning became more prevalent, the darkness approached and eventually a leading bank of storm clouds had everyone running for cover.

First came the winds — 70 mph!! The "souvie" area became a shambles. Tents went flying in all directions. Several of us ran to the tents to hold them down, all of this in the midst of a fierce lightning storm. We waited; the rain poured down. I stood in the rain wondering how much The Cadets would lose on this evening. $20,000? $30,000? Or more?

As the rain continued, we could see the sky brighten to the northeast. I went out to the GRASS field. It was OK. Jim Coates of Carolina Crown came down and we decided to do exhibitions. What else could we do? But as we were leaving, some marching guys from The Cadets came running in and announced that they thought the field was in good shape — amazing, considering the weather we just experienced.

We decided to begin — one hour late and two hours later than the original time before the heat warnings came into play.

We cleaned up, the judges were in position, the people came back — we had an excellent evening. Now, we were done at 11:30 p.m. and it was 1a.m. before the corps hit the road but we were grateful. This, the Jackson event, is the one show we run on grass and well, it almost cost us.

It was one of the worst storms I have stood in, and for a corps show, the timing and the intensity looked like it was clearly going to be a disaster. But it was not, and the show went on.

Amazing. Thank you to all who stuck with it!


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