BOWLING GREEN — Lafayette High School is the 2012 Kentucky Class 5-A state marching band champion. Lafayette topped North Hardin in Saturday night's 5-A finals of the 2012 Kentucky Music Educators Association Kentucky State Marching Band Championships at Western Kentucky University's Houchens L.T. Smith Stadium, with Madison Central taking third and Paul Laurence Dunbar finishing fourth.
Dunbar was denied a third straight state title. It won in 2010 and 2011.
Dunbar and Lafayette are perennial 5-A state championship contenders. Dunbar has won 7 state titles. Saturday's is Lafayette's 17th state championship.
"We had great leadership this year; great students, great parents; a great staff," Lafayette Band Director Chuck Smith said after the results were announced late Saturday night. "We have a great organization at Lafayette, and I'm proud to be part of it."
Beechwood won Class 1-A, followd by Hazard, Murray and Williamstown.
Class2-A went to Glasgow, followed by Danville, Larue County and Hart County.
Bourbon County won Class 3-A, trailed by Adair County, Garrard County and Boyle County.
Madisonville-North Hopkins won Class 4-A, followed by Grant County, Anderson County and John Hardin.
Cool and cloudy weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of spectators, but other factors caused delays.
A tractor-trailer fire near mile marker 54 on Interstate 65 north of Bowling Green shut down the highway for some time, delaying at least two bands in reaching the stadium, officials said.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Jonathan Biven said the shutdown near Horse Cave, which started Saturday morning, was caused by a rig carrying a "hodgepodge" of hazardous cargo, including chlorine. There were no injuries.
The northbound lanes reopened at about 1:30 p.m., and the southbound lane reopened around 4:30 p.m.
A small grease fire in a concession area at the stadium also caused a brief delay, but it was quickly extinguished.
In the stands, Beth Brown of Lexington showed her colors by wearing the band jacket of her daughter Katherine Etherton, a Lafayette senior and a clarinet player.
"Our kids wants this so-o-o bad," Brown said before the finals. "We haven't won it for the last few years."
Linda Fay was decked out in Dunbar colors to honor her daughter Lorraine Fay, an eighth-grader who plays the mellophone.
"We're looking for a three-peat," Linda Fay said. "I'm really hoping."
Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.