Bailey Rutledge said hearing announcers say “first place,” followed by “Harker Heights Avalon,” was one of her greatest moments.

Avalon, the color guard team at Harker Heights High School, won first place at the Texas Color Guard Circuit Scholastic Regional A competition Jan. 25 in San Marcos.

“When I heard that we got first place, I was so happy and proud,” said Rutledge, a senior. “We have come a long way this year and worked harder than ever. I am so proud of my team and all of the hard work we have done.”

To be eligible for the state title, the team must compete in at least three Texas Color Guard Circuit competitions, said Lauren Workman, Avalon director.

“The contests we are going through now serve as building blocks so that we can obtain critiques from the judges that specialize in each of the categories we are judged on,” said Workman, who is also assistant band director at the school. “This helps us prepare for state level competition.”

Avalon’s show, “Mama Always Said ...,” is based on reflecting on the important roles mothers play in day-to-day lives, Workman said. Choreography is set to music from the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

Workman said the team has prepared for this season’s competitions since August and rehearsed every morning from 6:30 to 8.

With about half of the color guard being new to the activity this year, Workman said they used football season to work on the fundamentals necessary for competition.

“At the beginning of the winter guard season, we have a choreographer that comes in for two full-day rehearsals to set up our ‘staging,’” Workman said.

Next, the team works with professionals to master choreography.

“The girls compete on flag, rifle, saber and dance,” Workman said. “A lot of the learning is student-led, which makes for a really cool cooperative environment.”

Rutledge said she instantly fell in love with color guard when she tried it out her freshman year.

“The best part about performing is letting go,” she said. “When I perform I can let go of everything outside of guard and show other people what I can do and make them enjoy watching me as much as I love performing for them.”

Avalon will attend another Texas Color Guard Circuit competition Saturday in Leander.

“I look forward to what the rest of the season holds for us,” Rutledge said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique or "like" Sarah Rafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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