The corps was founded in 1957 by Jim Jones, a World War II veteran and a building contractor with a flair for percussion and pageantry. (As a youth, Jones won the American Legion snare drumming championship.) In 1957 the corps gathered for its first rehearsals and parade appearances and made its competitive debut in 1958.
During the 1960s, it was the first drum and bugle corps to go on the road and travel across the country. Other innovations pioneered by the Troopers during that era involved circular drills (including the famous "sunburst"), precision marching, allowing girls to be members of the brass and drum lines, the precision and flair of the color guard and a rousing, highly entertaining musical program. It has been said that the Troopers invented the concept of the modern, touring drum and bugle corps.
The Troopers have won 11 national and international titles. The corps reached its competitive apex in 1971 by winning the American Legion, CYO and VFW national championships. Jones and other Troopers staff members played a key role in founding Drum Corps International (DCI), which held its first championship event in 1972.
From 1972 through 1986, the Troopers were 9 time DCI finalists, placing as high as second (in 1973). In 1985, Jones was inducted into the DCI hall of fame. In other milestones, the Troopers performed at the dedication of Arrowhead Stadium, the Calgary Stampede, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and were the focus of a television special "The Troopers Are Coming," narrated by western movie actor Walter Brennan. The Troopers have performed for presidents Johnson, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. Scores of Trooper alumni have made a mark on the drum corps activity as staff members, volunteers, adminstrators and parents.
In 1987, Jim Jones retired as director and was succeed by John Masterson (1988-1991), Gabe Luchetta (1992-1994), Mark Humberson (1995-1996) and Mat Krum (1997-2005), all of whom are alumni of the corps.
The Troopers continued to compete and tour each summer until the fall of 2005, when the DCI board of directors voted to suspend the Troopers' DCI membership status, citing noncompliance with DCI's membership requirements. The corps went inactive, and Troopers board of directors named Mike Ottoes, an alumnus of the corps, former assistant corps director and Wyoming businessman, as interim executive director. Ottoes quickly announced that the Troopers intended to return to comply with DCI rules and return to competition for the 2007 season.
On April 7, 2006, Drum Corps International's Executive Committee gave preliminary approval to the Troopers to rejoin the ranks of DCI Division I competition for the 2007 season. In June, the board of directors selected Fred Morris to be the full-time director of the Troopers. Morris has an extensive background as a staff member and fundraiser for several drum corps in the Midwest, including the Canton (Ohio) Bluecoats. Morris currently handles day-to-day operations for the Troopers, while Ottoes has continued to guide the organization at executive director.
On Oct. 3, 2006, the Troopers returned to DCI Division 1 active competitive status. In early October the corps announced several new staff hires as well as audition dates for the 2006-2007 season.
The Troopers´ uniforms are reminiscent of the civil war era. More specifically they represent the uniforms of the 11th Ohio Cavalry.
- To provide a youth activity with positive educational experiences that promote the growth and development of specific life skills consistent with the Trooper Tradition of Excellence.
- Troopers: Official website
- Troopers Receive Vote of Confidence from DCI (April 12, 2006) troopersdrumcorps.org
- Troopers Return in 2007 drumcorpsplaet.com