Responding to urgent need, Kansas City’s ‘Marching Cobras’ expand membership

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Marching Cobras are expanding. The local drill team wants the community to know they are taking new members, and leaders say it’s an important time to get more kids involved.

For more than 50 years the beat of a drum is at the center of Kansas City’s heart. Don Daughtry, Sr. is the Cobra’s drillmaster, and has been with the team since he was nine years old; nearly four decades.

“The Cobras saved a lot of lives,” Daughtry said. “Over 13,000 people, both men and women, young and old, have been through the Marching Cobras.

Men and women like the team’s operation manager, Crystal Turner, and current Cobra, 18-year-old Michael Hardy.

“It was a positive outlet, because for me, I had a bad temper, and whenever I put on the drum, it made me forget about everything,” Hardy said.

The group hasn’t been recruiting or putting out a call for members in recent years, but due to one of the deadliest years in Kansas City’s history, and a pandemic, they say the need is urgent.

“A lot of people can talk about the problems in our community, but what are we doing to be the active change that we want to see?” Turner said. “Being a Cobra is a plethora of things, but one thing is family. That is one thing that always sticks out to me.”

“We just want to bring our kids in to let them know this is a safe environment. You can come in, be yourself, any talent that you have we grasp to that,” Daughtry said

The drill team has performed for three presidents, and across the United States. They want kids in Kansas City to know there is a way up, and a way out. Kids in the Cobras are expected to stay in school and keep their grades at a C+ level or above to participate.

“You have somebody that is for you,” Turner said. “There is always a different option. It doesn’t matter what you see on a day to day basis. If you work hard you can do anything you want to do, you can be anything you want to be.”

“Some people may be seeing drums moving and marching, but when we come together, we see a family,” Hardy said. Daughtry says the Cobras are following CDC guidelines during practice. They are wearing masks and staying at a distance. He wants parents to know they are being as safe as possible.

If you are interested in signing your child up or joining the Cobras yourself call Drillmaster Daughtry at (816) 914-1186. The team meets every Monday at 7p.m. You will need to call ahead for a location, and practice is closed to the public.

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