If you were anywhere near Kansas City, Missouri, during the weekend of November 17-18, you probably felt the effects of the 2001 USACi (United States Autosound Challenge International) World Finals. Windows rattled and the ground shook as the nation’s biggest Outlaw SPL competitors brought out their rigs to see if the world record could be broken. The SQ (Sound Quality) class was representing, as was the newest addition to the competition, the 5.1 Surround Sound class. This new division of competition gave the mobile theater crowd a chance to utilize their A/V systems to their fullest potential.

There was some concern that the recent events would keep people from making the trek to the World Finals, but rain, snow, sleet, hail… or even the Taliban couldn’t keep these die-hards down as attendance was up for both competitors and spectators. Located at Bartle Hall in the heart of KC, the event drew the big names and heavy hitters in the sound-off arena, all looking to take home the top honors in their respective classes.

While the sound-off aspect of the show was the main draw, there was also a car show, lowrider hop area, plenty of dealer display area, concert and live radio broadcast… not to mention plenty of hot chicks to keep the crowds entertained for the more than 48 hours of the show.

The exhibitor area featured a virtual who’s who of the audio industry, showing their wares to an eager crowd of spectators. While there was nothing new on display (most of the really new stuff was being readied for CES), there was still plenty to see and do at the manufacturers’ booths. The folks at SAS Bazooka had a fully enclosed tent, complete with a stage, DJ booth and, um, a brass pole with, er, “dancers” who “entertained” people fortunate enough to stop by Club Bazooka. In addition to the other “entertainment,” Raven, the lovely Bazooka spokesperson, was on hand to sign posters to the throngs of people making their way through the dry ice fog. Oh yeah, they also had a couple of cars on display utilizing their new triangular subwoofer and several displays showing off their latest products.

Over at the Kicker booth, people were being wowed with demos of the L7 square subwoofer and treated to Alma Gates’ big bad ’88 Ford Bronco SPL machine. In fact, the folks from Guinness Book of World Records came out to pay Alma a visit. Details on why are sketchy, but we’ll keep you posted. One of the event’s main sponsors, Falken Tire, had a huge booth showing off the latest in Euro radial rubber, including their Azenis ST-115 tire that virtually eliminates road noise, thus making a better environment for your sound system to maximize its potential. It sounds pretty cool to us!

Another of the event’s main sponsors, Sirius Satellite Radio, had a multi-story booth featuring a live broadcast from the show. For those of you who haven’t heard, Sirius provides more than 100 channels of crystal clear radio… with no commercials! Now how cool is that? When we stopped by they were interviewing Jen, one of the Circuitgirls.com ladies.

But aside from the scenery, the real reason why people were there was to check out the audio competitions and see the vehicles in action. And there was plenty of action going on. One of the most grueling events from a judging standpoint is Sound Quality. There are so many aspects to this competition that it takes a team of really skilled judges to pull it off. The judging team had it together so well that they even had time left over at the end of the show. In the Novice 0-150 class, Jonah Woods took top honors, Kris Schefe won the prize in the Novice 151-300 division, Otis Merriweather garnered first in Novice 301-600 class and Richard Redman brought home the big trophy in the Novice 601-up class.

To be sure, the competitions weren’t the only entertainment at the Finals. Rap star Coolio performed to the crowd on Saturday night. The place was packed, and the sound problems from last year were fixed, so the show went off without a hitch. Opening up for Coolio was rap group Sound Child.

Another of the competitions that drew a lot of attention was the Multimedia and DTS 5.1 class. With mobile video making such a huge penetration in the market, it’s little wonder that a competition division was formed. For the World Finals, Jimmy Mancias took First Place in the Multimedia class with a top score of 194 while Steve Rogers snagged top honors in the DTS 5.1 class with a score of 166. Congrats to both!

There were so many awards given out at the 2001 USACi World finals that it would take this whole magazine to list them all. But go to our Web site at www.lowridereuromagazine.com for extended coverage and a complete listing of the winners.