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 I used to love SQ.... What a shame/

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PostSubject: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:06 pm

After the problems this year with SQ and SQ judges, the huge (unacknowledged and un appreciated) effort put out only to be punched in the gut and called names for the effort, I am seriously thinking next year USACI SQ will undergo a major change or go away for good. If we keep it I am thinking 1989 rules, 5 classes, SPL heavy, and a link to IASCA and MECA on the USACI site for anyone who does not like it. Tired of losing competitors and people I have called "friends" for over 25 years every time some judge at some show I am not involved in does something to offend some other guy I have never met who just happens to know some big wig at some SQ company who decides to set out and destroy USACI for it. (Whew, what a mouth full).

I have also been told USACI SQ is nothing without Tim Goudy. Fact is Tim is a great guy. He was competing in USACI SQ a LONG TIME before he became a judge. He used to put USACI first for many years and was at the heart of our finals operation. Tim was an invaluable member of my team and I wish with all my heart he still was. He himself has said after listening to the bitching and complaining that I should kill SQ rather than put up with the crap.

Tim moved to NWA several years ago lives right down the road. I see him less now than when he lived 15 hours away. He has several hobbies that take up most of his time. Unlike years past USACI has slowly moved down the list. I cant blame him. Hard work, lots of travel, no real appreciation for what he does, and no compensation to speak of. If
I was him it would not be a high priority for me either. I have the utmost respect for Tim and can never repay him for all he has done to help USACI and me. I am glad he hung around as long as he did. Our head judge this year did not even make it to his first finals! LOL That is why I cannot have a situation where everyone runs for cover and begins declaring the death of USACI the first time Tim cannot make finals or a head judge gets angry and decides to stop supporting your organization. Can’t blame him either. For years he tried as best he could to support USACI and fought the hard fight. He just had one too many years of pressure from other organizations and SQ manufacturers and with the excuses USACI and our judges gave him with our recent misfires and mistakes he did what was best for him. That is what most people do, what is best for them. It is only human. Cannot down anyone for it. USACI is not Tims job, Telecom and teaching riding courses is his job. John Sketo's job is not promoting events or promoting USACI, his job is running his transportation service. USACI however is my job. USACI is what I do to feed and clothe my children, and sometimes even pay a few bills. I do this job despite each day facing some new threat to the organization or some new weekend warrior who thinks I’m a millionaire and want what he imagines I have. Complaints, bitching and whining, and negativity threaten my job and my means of supporting my family every day. Too many competitors take too much joy in actively working to hurt myself and others like me for the fun of it. They get a little ticked off and it’s all out war! The loyalty and the “hey, lets take part in this and take some pride in it” attitude is long gone for the most part. This has to be the only job on the planet that is so easily made to be a horrible experience by people who claim to support it.

USACI cannot rely on people who do not make their living doing USACI. When we do we get judges who have other priorities, judges who hear rumors and feel they have to distance themselves instead of fixing the issues that started the rumors. We get show promoters who cancel shows or switch sanction at the drop of a hat because it does not hurt them, it hurts USACI, and if they have no interest in USACI then, who cares…. Right?
They can do this because at the end of the day they go to sleep knowing it is not their problem, it is Ralph’s problem, it Ralph’s fault, and Ralph will be the one unemployed if it goes south. They just don’t really care and it shows up a lot on the SQ side of things.

That is why SQ must change. It must be fun and easy to run and easy to judge. It must be enticing to new guys and quit frankly uninviting to those who would turn their back or could care less.

I know this is a long rant. I expect to get slammed for it because as I have said, when the lights go out each night the only one who has to suffer the consequences is me and the competitors who really work hard to support USACI. Those who talk bad, start rumors, and slam people on the forums go back to their lives when they log off. They have no investment.
So what do you think? Kill SQ? Change SQ? Try against the odds to find people who really love SQ and will make sacrifices to help it grow? Not the ones who say it and expect me to do it, but those like Tim Goudy, Todd Crowder, and others who for years have worked endlessly to make it grow and make it better. Do those guys exist any more? You guys are the ones who will have to live with my decisions so please, by all means, give me your thoughts. Positive or negative just as long as they are constructive.

Ralph

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PostSubject: Re: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:24 am

I would venture to say that you still like sq...the art of it. But maybe not all of the political bs that comes with it. I would say keep it.
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PostSubject: Re: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:36 am

Ralph I have been a supporter of USACI since 1995 when we didnt have the division between SQ and SPL it was just a stereo competition. I have only missed one finals since then and that was Omaha and I only missed that because my wife had just given birth to my daughter. I have a heavy heart going into this weekend that I am unable to attend finals this year and it has nothing to do with politics or me being upset it is a simple fact that I ran out of time to get my car ready to compete. People that know me understand I have a lot of stuff on my plate which is all 12volt related and the little bit of extra time I have I spend with my family. I would love for the old rules to be back in place(the first audio contest I ever attended as a spectator was a USAC show in 1989) it was love of music that got me to attend shows as a spectator, and I can credit two individuals for driving me to start building cars to attend shows and that is Todd Crowder and Kevin(MF)Reed. We need you not to give up on what was the core of this organization when I attended that first show in 1989 and was shocked to hear Flashdance playing in SPL. I think we(SQ) would benefit from this.
Sorry for the long winded probably babbling post but I dont want this to go away and neither does alot of other guys.
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PostSubject: Re: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:42 am

I honestly do not know where to start. In the beginning, of organized sound off competition, I always thought that the main idea or concept of the whole thing in having an event was to PROMOTE your own local retailer (store or shop). By promoting I mean having an event on a Sat or Sun to draw those with any kind of upgraded sound system to your store, have a sale on gear, and SELL product and if you were good enough then push your own "installs" over everyone else's and why a "NEW" customer should come spend their money with you. Like any other competition, a few will always stand above the rest as being recognized as the best in their field. Be it auto racing or any kind of sports. It is human nature for one to want to excel and be the best in whatever they may choose to do in life.

We all do this because we all love MUSIC. Period plain & simple. Most of the general public has no idea of what it takes or what it even costs to build an automobile with top notch audio reproduction. Most may think it is cool but also think it is stupid to spend the kind of $$$ that we all do on our systems. I, personally, got hooked on competing early on because I loved music and saw some really cool installs in all sorts of vehicles and decided I wanted to try and do that myself. I have always had creative ideas on how to try and build things but could not afford to pay someone to do it for me. Forunately for me, I had a very smart cool father who helped me get started in his spare time and early on we both learned things together. It was a slow progression that took several years to get recognition on a National level. I basically started a small Retail store from nothing because I loved it that much. Getting to do something you love for a living is almost unbeatable. Well, that's what I thought early on anyway. Competing was still my main priority and because of it for a long time I ran my business more like a hobby instead of a business while trying to focus on Sound Off shows all over the Southeast part of the country. We developed a crew and a strong following eventually. I could travel to almost any event back then and most of the time pick up a NEW customer at a show. Most of those customer's I got back then are now still good FRIENDS of mine now. Again, the connection of the love of music units most people.

Most of you know that I have competed for over 20 years. My first regular event was in 1988 and my first Finals was IASCA in 1990 in Arizona. I began competing in USACi in 1990 and my first Finals was in 1992 in Jackson, MS. USACi has always been more of a "grass roots" organization and although it has had it UPs and DOWNs throughout the last 20 years I have tried my hardest to remain loyal to it. I also support other organizations as well but USACi has always been where my heart has stayed. I have been a part of several efforts to try and save or revive SQ through the years but apparently with very little success.

Many of the problems that USACi SQ is challenged with stems from several different things. One of the major ones is simply the economy and most people CANNOT AFFORD to compete any more due to, if nothing else, just the travel costs alone. Yes, then the JUDGES become a large issue and it has been this way for many of the most recent years. This is not entirely on you Ralph but you have played a part in it. I remember back in the mid- 90's when we still had power classes, novice, consumer, pro, & expert classes and there used to be a pair of guys for EACH CLASS. Now you may only see 1 or 2 judges total to try and handle the whole event. Now you don't have to tell me about how much better the manufacturer support was back then because I was there and I know. Finals remained in Kansas City for 10 years and had big time support for most of them. A huge Retail sponsor, prob 30+ manufacturer booths, & plenty of competitor team support by those manufacturers. Now early on this was pre-Internet days too. Back then, you had 200+ cars in SQ and at least the same or more in SPL. Media was mainly limited to Car Audio magazines and big events like Finals. There used to be PRIZE MONEY back then also and NO REASON FOR NOT HAVE BEEN EITHER. Plenty of money was there to "reinvest" in the business- which used to be the COMPETITORS themselves. Bad choices along the way have hurt the whole thing for everyone. Everything is about the money. Everything- plain and simple. I know. I have ran my own business for 23 years now. It has become harder and harder every year to "stay afloat" especially in this economy. But not only that, the Internet has killed almost every small business with anything to do with electronics. Blame all of this on the Manufacturers themselves. Again, about the money. They all build MUSIC reproduction devices but yet you see more and more support for things OUTSIDE of music "Sound Off" events. They advertise on all sorts of race cars & motocross but very little support for the Audio Industry as a whole. There are a few that do however still support us but many of those have chosen to support only OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. Ask yourself why. Too many bridges have been burned, disorganization, complaints from their competitors, and a general lack of advertising $$$ for something that they don't see any return on. Again, I wonder why so many of these companies GIVE FREE PRODUCT or at least a deep discount to, which in-turn DO NOT EVEN COMPETE or continue to bad mouth the industry as a whole and do not even support local promoters or events at all. It takes us all to HELP make it better. I do not have all the answers but you are faced with a very important decision on the survival of SQ in USACi.

All of those nice folks that have volunteered their time and own money to help organize and judge any show in years past should be commended. Thank you for all that you have done. No one should ever be jeopardized for either not judging or declining the job regardless of the circumstances. I personally would do anything that I could to keep SQ alive in ANY organization but simple can not afford to do much. I am stuck in a small town with a very small Retail shop that has been holding on for dear life for the last several years now. Believe me I know when you say that this is what feeds and clothes your family. It has been and continues to be a day to day struggle for me and I am seriously wondering what am I to do next in the future to survive. I have made a lot of sacrifices to try and keep doing what I love to do but it is almost a lost cause at this point. This is a not a joke and coming straight from my heart with no BS.

As far as SQ, saving or scrapping it, this is a very important decision. Restructuring or changing classes DOES NOT solve anything. It starts with the organizational part of it first. Ralph, you are going to have to judge yourself OR train 2 or 3 close people to do it properly. No exceptions. I will help as much as I can but do not expect me or anyone else to do it all ourselves. I have enough other problems on my own. I know MOST of it is all about the money but I or anyone else that CAN volunteer, you should EXPECT to at least cover our FUEL EXPENSES to get us to the event at a minimum. I don't know anyone who can just afford to cover their own way to the show helping USACi out and not receive anything in return. It would make more sense to train the actual people from USACi that our going and doing the shows to help keep your costs down. Granted SQ turnout is crap at most any show you go to anymore but with a little effort and STILL SENDING QUALIFIED FOLKS to any event that COULD JUDGE IF only 1 SQ guy shows up then at least this would be more organized and show competitors that an EFFORT IS BEING MADE. If no SQ cars then that QUALIFIED PERSON could do or help do the SPL. Stop having 4 or 5 shows every damn weekend, especially within 300 miles or so of each other. I know some of this is not intentional but it still continues to happen. If you insist on not taking the advice and doing them anyway, then at least ONLY HAVE SQ at ONE OF THE PREFERRED LOCATIONS WITH at least ONE QUALIFIED JUDGE THERE. The small group of "hard core" competitors out there that can still afford this mainly don't support USACI any more because LACK OF QUALIFIED personnel and/or usual unorganization. You know all of this is true. You do NOT have enough people to have several shows on the same date all over the country, unless it is just SPL and I understand that is where most of the $$$ is at. All (4) Organizations understand that. We all (SQ folks) understand that. No secret. So the decision has to be made- is SQ "worth" enough or "important" enough to keep around? Remember all this started because of the love of MUSIC. Although, some of the SPL classes require a competitor to play actual "music", some do not. I am not knocking it any way but from a business aspect, I'm sure all Organizations will concede that SPL is where they make their money. SQ has always and will always require MORE attention, planning, work, and usually BS to make it work. It's about the priority of it. If you want to try and save it I will do what I can along with a few other close friends I can probably count on I'm sure but it is NOT our business. It's your business. It's USACi's business. If you decide to scrap the whole SQ program I will understand that also with no hard feelings. YOU and USACI do NEED to support ALL OTHER ORGANIZATIONS regardless of any personal issues. The greater plan, in the SQ interest anyway, would be for ALL (3) ORGANIZATIONS that offer SQ, somehow another all realize the problems that this industry faces and ALL come together and either JOIN ALL AS ONE with a common goal or at least to try to SUPPORT each other for the greater good. Accept ANY event status/points awards and let them be transferred across the board between each other. Not any of the three (USACI, IASCA, or MECA) has a monopoly on Sound Quality or the love of music so why make it so personal and not look at the bigger picture and TRY AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND ALL OF US WHO HAVE SUPPORTED YOU FOR YEARS. A greater common goal may be the last thing that will save SQ and draw in NEW COMPETITORS. Make shows more affordable for the small retailer (less expensive "sanctioning" fees, etc). Charge $100 for a SP event, $150 for a DP, and $200 for a TP. Plan these events way in advance. Do not hold 5 shows in one weekend unless they are in different Regions and you will have to number of Qualified Personnel to conduct a well organized event. Train people in SQ and rebuild burnt bridges from the past. It will be a sacrifice on everyone's part but we the competitors can not be expected to do it all ourselves.

I unforunately will NOT be at Indy this year as I'm sure you already know. This is due to several reasons but financially is probably the biggest. I simply cannot afford to close my shop and come to an event where I have so many questions in my mind. This is the first time in many years that I have not been able to go and support either USACI or IASCA as much as I would have liked to. Good luck to everyone who attends and I hope that ALL THREE ORGS will survive in the future. Props to Wayne Harris for starting this whole "Joint" Finals.
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PostSubject: Re: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:15 pm

When I actually took a break from my 22 year career to manage a stereo shop. Greg would have shows at the shop and it was good promotion. Young guys hanging out buying product on parents dime(when the housing market was booming).

Not many customers cared abot SQ. Hell I had a hard enough time encouraging some to mount their damn amps.(Boomers of coarse Laughing ) Ahh but those guys that would take my advice, instead of trying to crap a complete system for 500 bucks. Take that 500 put down on a layaway and be patient will build you a system you will enjoy.( Plus didnt want my customers angry because 200.00 flip out flashed an error code).

We never had more than one are two vehicles even intersted in SQ, me and someone else.
Man the guys loved Greg and his wife. They were always working hard and were kind to everyone. Greg promoted those Friday/ Saturday night well.(Speaking in past tense, I have been away from the scene for a good 4/5 years.)

Reason I have been away from the show scene is not due to politics, quite frankly had no idea of some of the things that were going on. Still not exactly sure what happened at Scrapin the Coast? However, I have noticed some competitors are missing from 2002 to present.

I met Mrs. Wonderful, my wife, and had my first two children beginning at age 40. So finances(purchasing a large enough home to house my family) as well as everyday needs and soon to get my youngest out of diapers, is the main reason I dont attend/ compete. Working close to 80 hr work week at times, when I am not teaching my oldest son to run his dad's old TE routes and how to secure the football, I am teaching him how to catch and release bass properly.

I would have to say time is probably the biggest reason. I love music like everyone else. From my very first Yamaha amps in 1984, to my living large or so I thought, Carver MC 4060, Punch 45 (Damn fuses) and MTX Terminator 12 with my Coustic XM3, I have always enjoyed audio systems.

I didnt buy another system until 2002 or 01 or 00 scratch I attribute several things for gaining my intrest in USACI.

First and foremost I happened to pic up a copy of Car Audio Magazine. I believe it was an SQ Altima that had an /////Alpine cda 9835, Rockford Symmetry, JL Tweets and Rainbow mids in the A-pillar. An MRVF340 and a MRVF550 with one JL W6 13. (Please dont quote me on system to exacts, I lost that magazine and many 1986 editions of Car Stereo Review, during the hurricane of 05). The guys name was John Sketoe. I remember him speaking of competing. I had the same amps, MRVF340 X 2 and some Type R's with the very deep mid bass,(Deep as hard as hell to install and still have a funtioning driver/passenger window) Couple of RF 10'S and an RF Amp.

After reading the article I become very interestedin competing. I attended, I believe it to be the very first Scrapin the Coast. This is where I met Rick Sellars. Rick and one other guy from Texas running Tru Amps were the only guys competing. Honestly, Rick was one of the kindest and most encouraging people when it come to joining USACI. Rick sat in my vehicle(guy he never met) and give me some real sound advice. Give me some great advice on install how to walk the judge through install etc....

The following months I started getting advice from John and many others. Became friends with Matt Sibley, Pat Day, Andy Jones, Ben Vollmer and many others and began attending shows. Met and become friends with local promoter Greg. So USACI to me become this one big family of folks that gather for a hobby they all love. Enjoyed a many of good time at a number of events.

Again I have been out of the loop for 4/5 years and I dont see many of the same faces. Not sure exactly what all is happened, but I hope things return to happier times real soon. I have met several people in USACI Org. I consider good friends.

P.S. Almost forgot Jeff Smith, thanks for tuning my system and sorry I didnt write down my settings, and Bret (that's 1 T) Arceneaux. Bret is good people!!
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PostSubject: Re: I used to love SQ.... What a shame/   Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:46 am

Can't speak for everyone, but for me, I prob. run the oldest equipment in usac sq. I like to compete and will continue as long as it is around. He'll, this year, I had to replace my headunit, and symmetry due to both crapping out last week. The sound is not near where it was. Also, car just got new intake manifold, hoses and belts. Just getting it together in time to make a 900 mile drive and found a leaking power steering pump which will have to wait till I get back.
Either way, car is not up to par but I'm going anyway.
Ralph-as long as SQ is around, i'll plan on being there. If the format changes, so be it, I'll adapt. Give me something to work on with my son when he get a bit older.
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