This story was updated 7:20 p.m. Nov. 15 to correct the spelling of the name Courtney Bobb-Meilinger.
Color guard, also known as Panthera Onca Colorguard, is a fine art group that is a part of the spirit program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
It started as a general interest group that consisted of students who did color guard in high school. The idea began as a way to practice on campus. The group then took an interest in wanting to compete.
Adriana Vallejo — founder of the A&M-San Antonio color guard — was one of these students. She began working on its production during fall 2021.
“It first started as an interest group, then it started going under rec sports, and now we’re officially under the spirit program,” she said.
Being a part of recreational sports was vital because one of the main focuses was to compete, and A&M-San Antonio’s recreational sports have competitive sports clubs.
“They did all their research and they followed all the basic protocols of an interest group becoming a competitive sports team,” said Courtney Bobb-Meilinger, assistant director of spirit programs.
Bobb-Meilinger guided the group and ensured that they were given advice on how to be competitive.
The group showcases dance and equipment work, which includes flag spinning and tossing — usually paired with a marching band.
“Since the university is so small, we don’t have a marching band just yet, but we are working with the spirit program to get a percussion,” said Vallejo, a first year criminology graduate student.
Color guard is important to most of the group members because they’ve been a part of it since high school. Vallejo said it’s important to the A&M-San Antonio community because it builds a sense of connection.
“It’s important for me because it was a huge part of my life in high school, as it is for a lot of our members,” she said. “Most of them being in color guard for all four years of high school, or they were band members that just happened to be interested in joining.”
Whether the student — full-time or part-time — knows the basic skills, color guard holds tryouts for any student interested in becoming a member. Those who aren’t familiar with the skills can be taught. Students who are alumni or graduates are also welcome to join; however, this does not include students from other institutions who don’t have connections to A&M-San Antonio.
“Color guard is one of those things where if you’re interested or passionate about, you’ll catch on,” Bobb-Meilinger said. “We’re looking for anybody that has any level of interest, all the way up to those who’ve actually done it previously before in high school.”
A common trait that occurs early on for new members is shyness, but being a part of color guard brings the person out of that void.
“I think it has to do with this idea of camaraderie and the ability to have a social connection,” Bobb-Meilinger said. “Color guard is one of those infrastructures where even if you are a very shy and a very into yourself type of person, the choreography and music, that brings out your own voice.”
Color guard performs at events like Fiesta parades, Fall Fest and Festival De Cascarones. They’re also preparing for Lights of Esperanza. Bobb-Meilinger said that the color guard is scheduled to perform at the Spurs game, Nov. 20, along with the A&M-San Antonio dance team.
The A&M-San Antonio spirit program will be performing during “TAMUSA Spirit Night at the Spurs” 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Frost Bank Center.
“I don’t think a lot of people know what goes on in color guard because everyone sees dance, everyone sees cheer and you kind of know what that is, but color guard is all of it wrapped up into one,” Bobb-Meilinger said. “It adds to this facet of the idea that this campus is always on a mission to build something, and I think being a part of color guard is naturally a part of that process.”