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Home > Spotlight > WGI Superfans Spectator Independent

Superfan group "Spectator Independent" breaks own record viewing WGI color guard performances

By Ken Martinson, Founder

Update for 2022: Spectator Independent survived, thrived and stuck together through the pandemic! When COVID-19 brought the 2020 winter season to a halt, this determined group organized a virtual gathering for the day WGI finals would have taken place. The friends stayed connected during the 2021 "virtual season" and watched shows together online. For 2022, the group is heading back to Dayton for the in-person events, and the circle of superfans has now grown to include 25 members.

DAYTON, Ohio (April 8, 2019) — They're among the first to arrive and the last to leave. If there is a performance happening in UD Arena during the WGI Color Guard World Championships, this group is there to watch and cheer. Meet "Spectator Independent."

"This year we witnessed 256 color guard performances at the WGI Championships," group founder Jeremy Denzer said. "Our previous record was 205 performances in three days, but the addition of the fourth day of competition this year gave us a new record."
Superfan group Spectator Independent at the 2019 WGI Color Guard World Championships

Playfully named as if it were a winter guard, the group comprises men and women who have several things in common. They've marched in guards themselves, they still love the activity, and they all know Denzer. The group members either taught, taught with, marched with, are friends with, or are friends of friends with Denzer. In recent years, the group has expanded with new acquaintances who noticed the group's enthusiasm.

"Our main goal is to support and encourage as many performers as possible in all classes," Denzer said. "We came up with the name as sort of a joke because we feel like we are almost one of the performing units since we are all so invested in the entire weekend and the activity."

Denzer began these spectating marathons in 1997 with a group of five friends who would attend WGI together. The current incarnation of Spectator Independent began in 2010. The group currently has 16 members who come from across the United States and Canada, and have performed with groups such as Sundowners, St. John's, Zydeco, Mayflower, Blessed Sacrament, Sonnor, St. Ann's, Field of View, State Street Review, Kingsmen, Miller's Blackhawks and the Bluecoats.

"We always make a point to catch all six classes of competition," Denzer said. "This year it was easier with A Class Finals being back on Friday night. In previous years we traveled to multiple sites to catch portions of all six classes."

The group has developed traditions and strategies over the years.

"For world class prelims we sit in the front row near the center. We love seeing the expressions on the performers' faces from such a close vantage point," Denzer said. "For finals we move up to section 219 to enjoy the full experience of the show designs. We try to sit in the same seats every year."

The group normally eats at the arena so they don't miss any performances, but they do schedule one special meal offsite.

"One of our favorite traditions is to have a group dinner at a restaurant in Dayton on Saturday during the break between Open Class Finals and World Class Finals. We get to catch up and discuss what we have watched over the weekend. This is like our own 'awards banquet' similar to what many of the performing guards do at the end of their season.

"We clap and cheer for every single performance we see. Some of the teams that perform early in prelims have told us they love how loud and supportive we are when most of the audience has not yet arrived at the venue. Our main goal is to support every performer who gets out on that floor."

Related content: WGI Photo Galleries on and WGI Color Guard World Championships information.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Denzer.

Copyright 2019 All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.

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