Last week, I posted an iphone video that I made of a local drill team  that knocked my socks off- the Invincible Regulating Striders (I hate to call them by their initials- IRS, because, well you know). They were about to head to New Orleans for a national competition.
Well, they went- and they won. Here’s the direct quote from my Facebook post:
“WE JUST WON THE IBPOEW WORLD DRILL -A-RAMA IN NEW ORLEANS.”
I’ve got to admit, not only did I not know about the IRS- even though I’d seen them asking for donations on Gettysburg a few times, I also didn’t know what IBPOEW is- and so I did a little research:
The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World (IBPOEW). Currently boasting 500,000 members in over 1,500 lodges worldwide, the IBPOEW is the largest Black fraternal organization in the world. The IBPOEW’s stated purpose is “that the welfare and happiness of its members be promoted and enhanced, that nobleness of soul and goodness of heart be cultivated, that the principles or Charity, Justice, Brotherly/Sisterly Love and Fidelity be inculcated, that its members and their families be assisted and protected, [and] that the spirit of patriotism be enlivened and exalted.”
The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World was granted a copyright as an organization on September 28, 1898, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A Pullman porter, Arthur James Riggs, and Benjamin Franklin Howard, who were both members of another fraternal organization, met in that city, and they discovered that they both had dreams of forming an Elks organization for people of color. Their dreams and plans were realized when the first Lodge, Alpha Lodge No. 1, was organized in Cincinnati, as a result of the efforts of these two men. As the Elks prevailed, the organization struggled against many racist attitudes and legal efforts to deny the existence of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World.
via Our History – Home .
I’m not a historian, but I find it fascinating how many organizations started out of this region around the turn of twentieth century- unions, political parties, fraternal groups, there seems to have been a culture of creating shared value organizations, which may also be why this region has way too many jurisdictions and overlapping non-profits all trying to do the same thing?
Back to the Striders- its great to see a Dayton group that’s put a ton of time and work to come out on top. For that, you deserve to be recognized. These drill teams, cheer teams, color guards abound in our area, yet, we don’t see enough performances making it out in public. Maybe we need to add these groups to Urban Nights, to our 4th of July celebrations, to our parks and rec programming (oh, that’s right- we don’t have a parks and rec program to speak of anymore).
There are a bunch of videos on Youtube of these amazing kids- check them out: IRS on Youtube link 
And you can watch mine again:
Unfortunately, the only link I can give you to this organization is on Facebook: IRS on Facebook 
Like their page and try to get out and see them soon!
Congratulations again to the Invincible Regulating Striders!