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Hughey oversees hundreds in Little Big Horn Contest

Bands from 23 high schools across the South will gather in Opp's Channell Lee Stadium on Saturday, October 19 to compete in the 22nd-Annual Little Big Horn Marching Band Contest.

Randy Hughey, band director at Opp High School, said Little Big Horn is still one of the biggest contests in the area, despite a slight decrease in participation.

"Participation is down a bit from last year," Hughey said. "Our average is probably somewhere around 28 or 30 bands. Something is going on because everyone is down. Daleville only had 10 participating bands and Clanton only has 17. Clanton usually averages 35 or 40 bands like us.

"I think it is two things," he said. "I think there are a lot of young band directors who aren't quite ready - they want to get their feet on the ground a bit first. I had some people tell me transportation costs that have kept them away. Transportation has also cut down on participation. Schools have made tremendous cutbacks due to proration and band budgets have taken a big hit due to those cuts. So it is a bit down from last year, but we are still the biggest in this area. I have heard of no one bigger."

Hughey said anyone who attends the contest will have the opportunity to enjoy grilled hamburgers and sausage dogs, fresh pizza, and cold refreshments at the concession stand, adding that various Little Big Horn and band merchandise will also be available for purchase.

"This is the second year in a row that we have brought in Music T's," Hughey said. "It is a national company that goes around and caters to these events. They have t-shirts and hats. They also customize the merchandise to the bands who attend the contest."

According to Hughey, Little Big Horn has something to offer anyone who enjoys listening to music.

"Anyone who enjoys music or enjoys dance or any type of motion to music can find something either visually or musically to entertain them," Hughey said. "It is basically going to be about ten hours of non-stop halftime shows. They're going to see everything from Spanish to Country to Rock and Roll to Classical to Religious. There will be something for everybody. There will be bands as small as 30 members and bands as big as over 200 members. Even if they are not a former band member or in the 'band family,' there will be something there, and there will be plenty of entertainment.

"There will be several very entertaining bands at the contest this year," he said. "Some bands come over with a strict drum corps style and some of the bands come over with more an entertainment style - a show band."

Chanell Lee Stadium is host to many events throughout the year, but Hughey said Little Big Horn draws the largest crowd of any event each year.

"Usually in Chanell Lee Stadium it is literally standing room only," Hughey said. "The end zones are usually full of bands who have performed. All the seats are filled and everywhere you can stand is filled up along the edges of the wall. This year, with the band number being down a bit, it probably will not be a packed house but when it is time to hand out awards there will probably be 4,000 to 5,000 people there. It is the largest crowd the stadium draws at one time every year."

Several local bands are slated to compete in Little Big Horn on October 19. These bands include:

Red Level High School - 11 a.m.

Samson High School -

Noon

Florala High School -

12:30 p.m.

Straughn High School - 3:15 p.m.

Andalusia High School - 6:30 p.m.

Opp High School (Exhibition) - 8 p.m.

Gates open at 10 a.m. and the first band will take the field for competition at 11 a.m. A 30-minute break will be taken between each division of competition and an hour-long supper break will be taken between Division 3A and 4A competition.

A $5 entry fee will be charged to each person at the gate. Anyone wishing to park at the stadium will be required to pay a $2

parking fee.