Chino High 77th Cavalry Marching Band and Pageantry took first place in the Los Angeles County Fair High School Marching Band Competition on Sept. 23, winning $10,000.
Don Antonio Lugo High Marching Band of Chino took third place in the Class B of the competition, earning a $500 prize.
That evening, the two bands performed at the Milk Can football game between their schools at Chino High.
Forty-one high school bands from throughout Southern California participated in the L.A. County Fair competition on Sept. 23. They were selected for the competition after participating in parades at the Fair during its three-week run.
Chino High has competed in the competition four times in the past five years. It previously won second places and cash prizes in 2012, 2013, and 2015. This was its first Grand Championship (first place) win in the competition, according to longtime Chino High Band Director Doug Bowden.
“We’ve been second for three years, so to finally win was fun,” Bowden said.
There are no immediate plans for the $10,000 other than to replace some instruments, he said.
In the past, the Los Angeles County Fair parade championships were connected with the Tournament of Roses Parade, paving the way for bands to participate in the prestigious New Year’s Day event in Pasadena. As of 2015, Tournament of Roses Parade officials no longer attend the L.A. County Fair band competition, Bowden said.
Chino High’s Band was chosen to participate in the Tournament of Roses parade in 2002.
Don Lugo High Band also won third place in the L.A. County Fair competition in 2015, right after Stephen Yanik was appointed the school’s new band director.
“I am so incredibly proud of the amount of growth our Lugo marching band has shown in just my second year here,” Yanik said. “We are not even an official parade band, yet they went out there giving their best, performing their best….and their hard work paid off. These kiddos are awesome. It was a great day to be a Conquistador, no doubt about it. We will be using the prize money to continue to work toward new equipment and supplies for this up and coming program.”
The LA County Fair Association now awards $22,000 to nine winners in the band competition (Class B, Class A, and Open divisions).