Apparently, the powers that be decided that they wanted to make the Car Audio Finals in Huntsville, Alabama this year. Kind of sucks, but it is what it is. Why Alabama? I just don't understand that. Is there anything to really do in Huntsville? Are there hotels?
|Hey look! That's me in the white Team Gates Shirt!!!|
I remember the drive going up to Montgomery... There wasn't much... as a mater of fact there was nothing but cotton fields and just a lot more of NOTHING. Want to know why the University of Alabama has a good college football team? BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO DO THERE EXCEPT PLAY FOOTBALL!
So, the finals for this year, is at a place called the Von Braun Center. Which I guess is like the central area for like the local fairs or something. I decided to MapQuest it and Google Earth it to get a better idea of whats around. After mapping it kind of looks pretty neat. A lot of local things to do. I see an art museum, and apparently there is a Space Camp there. That's pretty cool, I guess... But, we're not there to have fun... OH NO.... We're there to PARTY!!!!
This is the end of the year bash for us car audio nuts. That means it is one of the two times we ALL get together and drink some beer, have some fun, and play practical jokes with one another. What I like most about this time of year. It is one of the few times I get to see some of my mentors, jokers and closest friends. People like Markey Dietrich, Paul Pirro and Shazad Rahaman. Why these three? Well, One is my mentor, one is a great friend and one is a jokester!
The one thing I will miss most this year is Alma Gates. She was like a 2nd Mother to me when we were out at shows all over the country. She always kept us in check, she always made sure we were in the lanes when we needed to be, and she could sure out drink us! One of my greatest memories of Alma was at CES in 2002. Kicker (I competed for the KCG / TEAM KICKER back then), had thrown another WELL KNOWN ABOUT dealer party. Till this day, I usually get the name wrong, but I think it was called The Beach. It was right across from the Las Vegas Convention Center, so we could leave the North Hall, walk about 2 blocks and get right to partying!
|Patrick, Alma, Me and Julie @ SBN 2001|
(Kicker Competition Group)
Alma Gates taught me a few things over the years:
1) Never be late to a meeting, or your competition time
2) Make your competitors fear you in the lanes, but love you under the tents.
3) Always respect each other, and your team mates
and my favorite
4) NEVER TURN DOWN A PIECE OF CHEESECAKE!!!!
|Nicole (MA AUDIO) and I @ CES 2002|
One of my biggest wishes as a competitor was to one day make Alma Gates proud. Both in and out of the lanes. As a competitor and a leader, that was always my drive. Even till this day, it has been the drive that has always pushed me forward. I strive now, not only for her, but for all competitors in both SQ and SPL. I try everyday, the best I can, to push our sport forward, and hope that one day, I can influence AT LEAST ONE competitor the same way Alma influenced me.