After a long hard day of work, Airmen need to take time for themselves. Some have hobbies like biking, hiking or volunteering. For Staff Sgt. Steve Ogden, 923rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, his hobby is entering his Ford F-150 in sound system competitions.
Ogdenâ€™s interest in competition sound systems began at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, Fla., 11 years ago. He had met Pat Horton, a former record holder. Horton sparked Ogdenâ€™s interest, but it wasnâ€™t until he moved to D-M that he entered, and won, his first competition earlier this year.
â€œWhen I got here, I met Jeremy Boyd, who runs an audio store in Tucson,â€ Ogden said. â€œHe told me to check out a competition and I ended up placing first in my division. From then it just took off.â€
The competition flood gates were opened and the trophies were pouring in. Ogden has competed locally, in Phoenix, Lake Havasu and others areas around Arizona.
In the world of sound-system competitions, there are a few organizations from which one can compete. For Ogden, he competes with the Mobile Electronics Competition Association. There are a number of different event to compete in under the MECA organization.
â€œI compete now in the sound quality league, or as we call it, the concert car showdown,â€ Ogden said. â€œThis means that sitting in my car should make you feel like youâ€™re in a concert hall. Where most carsâ€™ sound comes from the speakers in the doors, a sound quality vehicle will have the sound project off the windshield and come toward you. The dashboard should almost be like the stage.â€
Ogden explains thereâ€™s a sound pressure league, where they take a microphone and place it at the headrest to measure the amount of decibels itâ€™s putting out. Another portion is called â€˜park and pound. This is where they take the microphone but place it six feet away from the vehicle. The competitor then has 30 seconds to see how loud they can get their system to be.
In the sport of boxing, it wouldnâ€™t be fair to pit a welterweight fighter against a heavyweight. The welterweight probably wouldnâ€™t stand a chance. For sound system competitions, itâ€™s the same principle.
â€œWe try to make the competitions as even as possible across the playing field. We donâ€™t want someone whoâ€™s putting out 20,000 watts of power going against someone who only has 1,000 watts. We keep them in classes with each other so they have a fair chance of winning. Itâ€™s what keeps it competitive and fun.â€
Accompanying Ogden in all his competitions is his 5-year-old son, Greyson, who also competes in MECA Kids with his Power Wheels truck. Under the division, only commercially available electric toys can be used with one, eight-inch subwoofer with a 20-amp fuse. Greyson competes in the sound pressure league. As the saying goes, â€œlike father, like son.â€ His Power Wheel pumps out 124-decibels of sound. His fatherâ€™s truck puts out 128. For a reference, a loud rock concert is around 115 decibels.
â€œEvery show Iâ€™ve ever been to, my sonâ€™s been with me,â€ Ogden said. â€œAt the first competition I went to, he looked at me and said â€˜daddy, this is cool.â€™ I asked him if he wanted a sound system in his Power Wheel. I thought he was going to say no, but he was really excited about it. He loves going to the shows and people know who he is. It helps teach him competition and fair play.â€
Ogden is passionate about his hobby and enjoys being able to be with his son and around other people who share the passion with him.
â€œI like to compete because I get to spend time with my son and because of the camaraderie I get from other people who enjoy the hobby,â€ Ogden said. â€œWeâ€™re just a bunch of guys who like to talk about our cars and our sound systems. We all share an interest.â€