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USAC Finals - Kansas City, Missouri, November 23-24, 2002

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.
What's the story?
The loudest. The best sounding. All concentrated in one convention center. Yes, it was time for the USAC (United States Autosound Competition) World Finals in Kansas City, Missouri! Every year, car stereo enthusiasts (and "enthusiasts" puts it lightly — "fanatics" might be more accurate) gather to find out who has the loudest and who has the best-sounding car stereo setups in the country. It's a two-day event that features not only the competition, but plenty of outstanding live entertainment, contests, and activities. It's non-stop entertainment.

Who was in the booth?
At the Team Crutchfield booth, we were lucky enough to have Polk exhibit one of their customized Ford Escapes with us (check out one of these beasts in our Road Test section, here). And just as fortunately, we were very near the main stage, so we had the pleasure of meeting thousands of fans. Two of Polk's models were kind enough to spend time in the booth, greeting fans and having their pictures taken. And we gave away a killer Polk MOMO subwoofer to one lucky fan.

Show highlights
Of course, the show centered around the sound competitions. Basically, there are two major categories, sound quality and sound pressure level. Both of these are broken down into subcategories, based on power and equipment. In the sound quality competitions, entrants sound systems are judged by how good they sound. In the SPL competition, the winner is the competitor whose sound system (which usually consists of nothing but a receiver, subs, and amps) can generate the highest levels of sound pressure. The lengths to which competitors go to win the competitions are astounding — and that's what makes it all so much fun. To see a list of the winners in each category (plus year-end awards that were given out on Sunday), more pictures, and updates, check the USAC website.

The competitions weren't the only things keeping people's attention. At one end of the convention center was the Installer Challenge, which pitted the nation's top installers against the clock — and each other.

Variously throughout the weekend, there were events such as the Golf Cart Wheelie Races, a Karaoke Contest, and, to the huge delight of the crowd, ASA Pro Demo (filmed for network television broadcast in early 2003) by the Aggressive Skaters Association, which featured bicycle, in-line skate, and skateboard tricks.

Onstage, there were plenty of giveaways, which always attract a crowd, and musical entertainment. Headlining this year's stable of musical acts — Vanilla Ice. Yes, that Vanilla Ice. Needless to say, the crowd went nuts for him, and a great time was had by all.

To put it mildly, there's nothing like a USAC event, and there's really nothing like the USAC World Finals. If you ever get the chance, you really owe it to yourself to check one out; the amazement factor is absolutely worth it. We're grateful that Team Crutchfield got to be a part of it all. Be sure to check out our Event Calendar — it'll tell you when a car show (or races) is coming to your neighborhood. And if you happen to see our booth at one of them, drop by and say hello!

To see our gallery of more photos from the show, click here.

Team Crutchfield had a great view of the stage from the booth.

Fans flocked to the Falken Tires booth to get a good view of their lineup of killer demo cars.

Now we're talking sheer power. A competitor's van, loaded with Kicker amps.

Things heat up at the Installer Challenge.

Warren Hawkins of Team Crutchfield stops for a picture with Vanilla Ice.

Polk's models pose in front of the Polk Ford Escape.