On Sunday, April 10, the day after WGI World Championships, the ballroom of the Dayton
Marriot Hotel was the site of a historic event. The first ever Cookout! The Cookout 22 was a celebration
for colorguard instructors, designers, performers, and judges of color. The idea started from a chance
picture that was taken in the hotel lobby three years earlier at the 2019 WGI Championships when a
group of friends took a candid photo that became know as the “Black Girl Magic” photo. After posting
the picture online, there was an interest in connecting with fellow WGI alums of color. With the
pandemic happening the next season, along with social unrest and a need for communities to connect
and reflect on diversity; The “Black Girl Magic” photo set into motion people from all over the country
connecting about their shared experiences as a pageantry arts lovers. Through multiple zoom meetings
over the ensuing months, The Cookout founder Nicole Younger decided to take action and create a
space for celebration. Along with planning committee members Matthew Miller, Martell Pearson,
Ricardo Robinson-Shinall, Bianca Wallace, and Andre Williams; Nicole set out to create a safe space that
would recognize the achievements, honor those who have passed on, and give hope to the next
generation of colorguard performers, instructors, and judges of color.

The Cookout 22 was hosted by Ricardo Robinson-Shinall while guest speakers Vincent Thomas,
Michael James, and Kennedy Riles set the tone as The Cookout gave its first ever Legacy Award to Shelia
Henderson – Founder and Director of Light Brigade. In an effort make sure that The Cookout gives back
to the community, the first ever scholarship was given to Marcus Cain from Reverie Open. Thanks to the
support from corporate sponsors Field and Floor FX, McCormick’s, Digital Performance Gear, Band
Shoppe, Guard Closet, GPG Music, Style Plus, Creative Costume Designs, Halftime Magazine, Winter
Guard International, and Mic Check One Two One Two guest of The Cookout 22 left with prizes and
small tokens of appreciation.

The Cookout 23 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 16 after the 2023 WGI World
Championships. To stay up to date on happenings from The Cookout please follow on Facebook and
Instagram. To make donations to The Cookout Scholarship for performers go to $thecookout22 on

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