You can’t have the New Windsor Fair Rodeo and Horse Show without the New Windsor Drill Team.

The team practices every Monday of the summer, preparing to carry the sponsor flags and expertly complete their drill formations.

Husband and wife Leland and Nan Martin got involved when their kids joined the team 31 years ago. Now they’ve been running it for nine years. 

“[We] expect respect from all the kids. They need to respect not only us as leaders, but their parents who are bringing them here and helping them through these practices,” Nan said. “Also just respect for what the drill team has meant to the rodeo for all these years.” 

That’s 47 years to be exact. Nan said this year they have third generation riders on their team.

“Many of the drill team members have watched this rodeo in the past and it’s their biggest dream I think to be a member of the drill team,” she said. 

Some of the team members have two hours drives to practice, but not Anabelle Erhart. She’s the only member that lives close enough to ride her horse to practice. 

“I love being from New Windsor and it’s just cool to live right behind the rodeo park,” Anabelle said. 

This is Anabelle’s third year on the team. While she loves riding, there’s someone else she’s doing this for. 

“One of my best friends taught me how to ride when I was really little and she wanted to be on the drill team but she didn’t get to. She died before she could,” Anabelle said. “Her family always comes to the rodeo and they always cheer me on. So I like being able to be in the rodeo for them.” 

Although sometimes the practices can run long and the formations get misshapen, the team always comes together by show time.

“They pull it off. Somehow it gets put together and you watch them grow,” Nan said. “They shine. Their friendships grow. Themselves they grow. They bloom.”