Until about 2005, there were not very many post-high school soloists, or at least high school graduates who loved to spin a rifle and could compete or perform in public. Nothing really existed for Drillers except for New Guard America (NGA) which began in the 1990s under the direction of my college friend, Constantine Wilson.
That is until 2007/8. Michael, a friend of mine for several years now, had an idea to host the first independent exhibition drill competition for solo and tandem Drillers, the birth of the New York Drill Competition (NYDC). The first NYDC had the competitors judging each other with score sheets developed by me. The next few years saw me flying in to help judge with others using updated World Drill Association score sheets that I was refining. Those years also saw the creation of the Texas Drill Competition (TXDC), North Carolina Drill Competition (NCDC)- both of which I judged, and the Florida Drill Competition (FLDC). The only consistent online competition has been the Michigan Online Drill Competition (MIODC) that I have been thrilled to judge since its inception, which is now defunct.
Also in 2007 was the Isis World Drill Championships (“Isis” has since been removed), sponsored by Sports Network International. And let’s not forget about NGA’s Pro America competition, but this competition was blade-only and you had to go through an audition.
While competitions were burgeoning many high school Drillers who loved to drill finally saw some hope of continuing with their passion for armed exhibition drill once they graduated.
How to “Break Into” Post-High School Drill
There are no secrets. It’s about practicing and practicing until you have the ability to compete at the professional level. You will also want to consider drilling with a bayonet. I am not one of those who says that drill without a bayonet isn’t “real”- not that anyone really says that but there are a few purists out there who do not like facsimile rifles or, for that matter, drilling stub (without a bayonet).
Read about the DrillMaster Bayonet here. Before you even think about going bladed:
- You really should be at least 16- 18 years old is even better.
- You need to have several years (at least four years is a good rule of thumb) of exhibition drill under your belt.
Your next step is to then go to a competition. You may have to travel, but it will be worth it to meet other Drillers, face time (not the app) is the perfect way to help you get known by others. Now repeat what I wrote: practice and practice and then compete. When you need feedback on your performance, other Drillers are usually more than happy to give advice since many want to see our activity grow. And there is always me, I offer DrillMaster Audio Performance Critiques (an MP3 of my comments based on the World Drill Association Adjudication system which you can download) for performances and advice about moves and short sequences.