Bob started his drum corps life in 1963 at the age of 13 with the Troopers “B” Corps. At that time, potential members had to wait for a position in the “A” Corps. In 1965, Bob earned a position in the Casper Troopers “A” Corps snare line. He marched in that snare line from 1965-68. In 1969 he had to give up his summer to Uncle Sam (National Guard) but returned to the Troopers in 1970 to march one more year in the snare line. Not only did HE march that year, but he instructed the line as well. His time with the Troopers was a once in a lifetime experience, being lucky enough to have marched in the corps for every National Championship they ever won. In 1966 he also won the VFW National individual Tenor Drum Title and went on to win the All-American individual Snare titles in 1967 and 1968.
After the 1970 season, Bob packed his bags and headed for Santa Clara, following in Fred Sanford’s footsteps, to study under Tony Cirone at San Jose State University and to teach the Santa Clara Vanguard. He thought it was ironic that when he got in his car to leave Casper, the song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” was playing on the radio! He believed that was a good omen!
Bob arrived in Santa Clara only to find that there was no Fred! Evidently, Fred had moved to New Jersey to teach. That was a big surprise, to say the least. Now Bob was the one to oversee developing a new drumline! Bob thought it was great that Fred and he looked to be on the same page. Fred was a great arranger and Bob wanted to create a Dynasty. They had a saying between the two of them, “You write it, I’ll clean it”. He thinks they might have been the best team that there ever was in Drum Corps, and they DID create a dynasty – winning 54 straight shows – the most ever in Drum Corps history! Not bad for two guys from a small town in Wyoming. He does want to say, however, that they had a great group of extremely talented kids to work with! However, greatness does not come easily, and those kids always went above and beyond! They were SANTA CLARA! During that time, Bob was going to school at San Jose State University and became the drum instructor and music arranger for the San Jose State Marching Band.
At the end of the1975 Season, Bob accepted a position teaching percussion at Casper Junior College, back in Casper, Wyoming. Along with that, he also took a position as Drum Caption Head/Assistant Director of the Troopers. During that time, he also became the President of the Percussive Arts Society of Wyoming. Their ensemble traveled to Los Angeles and received 1st place in their division!
In the fall of 1978, Bob accepted a position as Caption Head with the Blue Devils. Although it was a very interesting experience, it was just not a great fit for him. At that point, Bob decided to move back to Santa Clara and resumed working with Scott Pierson, teaching the San Jose State Marching Band. During that time, he also worked with the San Jose Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps.
From 1984-1986 Bob returned to the Santa Clara Vanguard, this time working under the leadership of Ralph Hardimon and teaching the snare line once again. All good things must come to an end and Bob decided it was time to retire from teaching drum corps. But, as he likes to say, “WHAT A RIDE!”
Bob does want to share that he would be remiss if he didn’t mention that he would not be in the Vanguard Hall of Fame if it weren’t for all the great and talented members of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum Lines of the 1970’s.