On Saturday night a thunderstorm rolled over Northwest Indiana, but at Michigan City High School the sound of thunder came from a drill team. The ninth annual Show Up and Show Out, hosted by the Michigan City Soul Steppers, brought together drill, drumline and dance teams from across the country to compete to win some major hardware and be one of the elite groups in the world of drill teams.
Not only was Saturday’s event the ninth for the Show Up and Show Out, it also was the 16th anniversary for the Michigan City Soul Steppers. Organizer for the event and founder of the Soul Steppers Lyn Isbell explained that the event is a celebration for the teams and reminder of their “Sweet 16”.
“The past sixteen years have gone so fast! It’s crazy to think of it because a lot of the kids started out little bitty and now I’ve got a whole new team to see grow upm” Isbell stated. “This event, though, it’s been nine years and that has gone by fast too. We’ve got teams who have come back year after year but there are others like New Orleans who have come up for the first time. All of the teams have been fantastic and you can see and feel the energy. These kids practice really hard and I’m so glad to see that they bring it for us.”
The people of Michigan City have showed support for the Soul Steppers over their sixteen years, and came out to support the competition year after year. Javaughn Blakely, a local Pastor and one of the judges for the night, said that the Soul Steppers have been a great program for the city - and for the city’s youth.
“[Lyn] pushes out a positive message for the youth of the city with the Soul Steppers,” Blakely stated. “She keeps them in practice year-round and keeps them out of trouble. This team really teaches them discipline, and I like to support anyone who’s concerned about their community. This event is really fun to watch too and to see the kids perform from all over. It’s something I love being a part of.”
Show Up and Show Out, for all of it’s facets, is a competition. The night was broken up into dance teams, drumlines, and drill teams and gave them an opportunity to show out. Teams traveled in from New Orleans, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and neighbouring states Illinois and Ohio. The drumlines were loud and precise, dancers on point, and the drill teams had all of the flair a team would need to show the competition what they had to offer.
Support for each team was very evident throughout the performances, but one team had fans that came out in droves of orange. The Invincible Regulating Striders from Dayton, Ohio have participated in the competition for the past few years and have taken home a trophy each year. Vaelra Richardson, who travelled with the team, said that Show Up and Show Out is one competition they’ve always looked forward to.
“The young lady that puts on this competition always welcomes us with open arms, and she has a great house of talent - she’s the best. We really appreciate that and being able to come out to this one that’s so close to us,” Richardson explained. “We’re here to show how good we are, that we ‘drill for real’, but it’s good to be involved in many competitions across the country. Tonight is one, but it really is one of our favorites.”
At the end of the night one of the teams walked away with a first place trophy, but the support between all teams, and the overall support from the Soul Steppers, showcased that the teams from Show Up and Show Out all came out winners. Next year the tenth anniversary will come around and more teams will come to drum and dance their hearts out, but 2016’s was another impressive year to add to the list of and already fantastic tradition.