How to Start a Drum Major Competition

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To hold a sanctioned Western United States Pipe Band Association drum major contest first contact WUSPBA for sanctioning at:,or go to the WUSPBA's web site sanctioning page for contest sponsor information. Fees and required forms for contest sponsors are posted on the sanctioning page.

Competition Categories

WUSPBA sanctioned competitions offer two categories for drum major competitions : Adult / Open, and Juvenile Under 18 years of age.

A Competition Field

Drum major contests are typically held on a flat and level grass field that is mowed short, think baseball field. The field should be at least 120 ft long by at least 25 ft wide, and there should be no trees overhanging the course. If no grass field is available contests may be held on the pavement provided the dimensions are correct. For the safety of competitors the field must be free of holes, large rocks, and debris. It is recommended the competition not be held adjacent to other events for example: pipe band, athletics, or dancing competitions as this may be distracting to the drum majors. The contest audience members should be kept back a few feet from the competition area, do not want to be accidentally struck by a flourishing mace.


A Pipe Band

Drum Major competitions are performed with a pipe band playing a 6/8 march for the contest. The band chosen to play for the contest should be a grade three or better or a strong grade 4 band, the band will have to play for several heats of drum major competitor's and must be able to play a 6/8 march several times in a row.


WUSPBA provides an officially approved panel of judges whom have been vetted and credential by WUSPBA. WUSPBA sanctioned competitions must use a WUSPBA approved judge. Only one adjudicator is needed for a drum major contest. You will find the panel of WUSPBA judges listed at:
Score sheets are provided by WUSPBA. Judging fees are determined by the games or negotiated with the judge.

How is a drum major competition organized?

Drum major contests are competed in two sections: a dress inspection, and a performance section. Drum major competitions therefore only require two time slots for the entire competition: a dress inspection time, and a competition time. No individual time slots for competitors are needed. The inspection time should be held no sooner than forty five minutes before the competition time slot. The earlier time for inspection allows the judge ample time for dress inspection and will allow the competitors time to practice after the inspection.


Usually only the top three competitors receive awards in both categories. The awards may be trophies or medals, typically trophies are given out, and prize money is awarded to the Adult / Open winners, typical amounts are: first place $100.00, second place $75, and $50 for third place. A games sponsor my award larger amounts of prize money if they choose too.

View an example of a Drum Major Competition
(The competition course need not be as large as the one shown)


Rules used at WUSPBA sanctioned competitions are drawn from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's drum major competition rules.