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Elgin band proves it's best in state for the second year

ELGIN  The Elgin High School band proved, once again, it's the best in the state with its second Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association State Sweepstakes Award in two years. 

The Pride of Elgin has won the prestigious honor three out of the last five years under director Mike Palmer. While each win is special, this one means even more to Palmer and his students.

"Repeating is something that's rarely done," Palmer said. "It takes so much work to get to this point. Repeating says a lot about the program and what everyone involved has done."

The sweepstakes award is not something that is given out to a specific group each year. It has to be earned with "superior" ratings across four OSSAA sanctioned events  each different from the next and all difficult to master. Palmer knows very well how difficult it can be to obtain the sweepstakes, as the Pride of Elgin was so very close to earning what would have been the first of three years in a row. 

"You start at the regional marching competition," Palmer said. "And then you have to go to a concert band competition. Then you go to state and you have to get a superior rating on stage and at sight-reading. The one year, we were one judge's vote away from earning the sweepstakes."

The disappointment turned to determination the following year and the band was rewarded with the what could be considered the "Triple Crown" of Oklahoma band competition with the state sweepstakes. Determined to try again, Palmer entered this year with high expectations. 

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