MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The history of flag bearing goes back as far as the military itself.

The color guard used them to guide troops and communicate maneuvers on the battle field. And today they are just as precise and disciplined.

The Rosemount High School Color Guard, voted Best of Minnesota, takes the field with the marching band and drum line. All three have militaristic backgrounds.

“Color guard was to guard the American flag, the colors as troops went to battle,” band director Leon Sieve said. “It has evolved more into keeping the beat, maybe swaying the flag side to side. It showed different calls the band needed to do.”

Routines now include choreography and even acrobatics. Instructor Ronley Aviles remembers being in awe when he first saw the color guard as a freshman.

“I thought it looked really cool. They were throwing things in the air and catching them. It was just one of the coolest things I’d seen,” Aviles said.

They spin six-foot flags, two-pound wooden rifles and even metal sabers.

“It’s not natural to throw any of those things in the air and then try to catch it. So we train them how to, first of all, what they need for technique, what they need for hand positions on the equipment, everything that they need to be successful and don’t get hurt,” Sieve said.

A challenge when you are throwing an object 30 miles per hour into the air and stopping it with your hands!

“I’ve hit my head and fingers plenty of times,” Aviles said. “It’s just part of the game.”

Color guard is as athletic as it is artistic.

“Color Guard is a great pageantry art. It’s a very visual component to the marching band,” Sieve said. “For a lot of people it’s the life and pizazz, and they’re the characters of the show.”

Just as it was during military times, the color guard is the visual representation of the whole group. They bring the music to life.

Your other favorite color guards were from Irondale and Eden Prairie high schools.