More than 280 drummers gathered in 27 locations on September 14 to participate in the first Roland Top Drummer Contest. Each drummer got five minutes to show his or her stuff on the Roland TD-20SX kit. They could utiliize any of the kit functions and sequences but could not trigger external audio devices. According to Roland's Drew Armentrout, there were outstanding contestants at nearly every venue.
Twenty-seven winners were chosen to go on to the semifinals, to be held October 5th in six Sam Ash Music locations around the country. Here's the finalists for each city. Los Angeles: Billy Ie (Bellevue, WA), Dennis Dove (Portland, OR), Rob Murrieta (San Rafael, CA), Chad Patrick (Tustin, CA), Charles Williams (Hollywood, CA), Greg Mitchell (Las Vegas, NV). Finalists for Denver: Casey Glass (Denver, CO), Travis Lambert (Albuquerque, NA), Go-Go Ray (Kansas City, MO). Finalists for Atlanta: Antonio Williams (Tampa, FL), Louis Vassallo (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Jason Hees (Nashville, TN), Andrew Faletti (Atlanta, GA), Gigi Drums (Birmingham, AL), Terrence Houston (New Orleans, LA). Finalists for Chicago: Fred Weinstein (Lombard, IL), Mike Twice (Columbus, OH), Nick Backos (Detroit, MI), JP Bouvet (Minneapolis, MN). Finalists for New York: Patrick Perfetto (Portland, ME), Steve Smith (Wheaton, MD), Didi Negron (King Of Prussia, PA), Shariq Tucker (New York, NY), Brannon Nelson (Long Island, NY). Finalists for San Antonio: Chad Litersky (Irving, TX), Robin Lopez (San Antonio, TX), Marvan Alexander (Houston, TX).