This weekend (October 3rd and 4th) marked the 22nd annual USACi World Finals event in Tulsa, OK. Held at the Tulsa Convention Center, this year’s event was a unified World Finals, combining the USACi (United Sates Autosound Competition International) finals with dB Dragracing finals. Featuring a combined total of 100 competitors (including those registered in multiple events), the competition side of things was smaller than that of previous years. With the receeding economy, traveling to a world finals event becomes increasingly more difficult. It was no surprise that many of the competitors were regional, with the majority of them coming from surrounding states like Texas, Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas, and several from Oklahoma. There were of course a few coming from further away, such as Chicago.
Walking into the convention center, I was shocked and disappointed. Where just three years ago, it was standing room only, this weekend, you were hard pressed to find anybody there that was not a competitor or somehow associated with the event. The spectator level was damn near zero. Even the manufacturers didn’t bother to show up. DB Drive was the major sponsor of the event and their presence was felt by the giant semi-trailer that was next to the stage. Car Toys, one of the biggest car audio shops in Oklahoma (where Gary Biggs, 7-time world champion, got his start) had the next biggest booth, and they footed the bill, not the manufacturers they sell. There were no giveaways, no T-shirts, no swag at all. Not that that is important to me, but handing out free stuff gets people in the doors, and the place was empty. It was very disappointing. I do not expect much in the future from USACi or dB Dragracing. Though the word on the street is that this year’s event was bigger than last year’s, held in Dallas, TX. I spent the day at the event trying to get photo shoots lined up for future feature stories, but that only took about an hour because nobody showed up for the car show. And to think that the Convention Center cost $13,000 for two days.