By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The state of the economy and this area's dwindling interest in professional wrestling has forced entertainment promoter Corey Ward to look for new ways of offering fun.
So he's turned to two longtime stand-bys -- cars and music -- for a Sound Off Competition.
The first battle of car stereo systems is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Oct. 6.
"We're looking at different areas of entertainment," said Ward, owner of Ward Core Promotions in Austintown, specializing in sports entertainment. Ward is promoting the event. "There are kids spending thousands of dollars on these systems."
The competition is sponsored by Audio Extreme, Speed People and WAKZ-FM Kiss 95.9 and will be in the Clear Channel Radio parking lot on South Avenue just south of U.S. Route 224 in Boardman.
Those who are not interested in jamming -- and maybe even some who are -- may want to reach for their earplugs.
About 300 people have registered for the contest that determines who has the loudest car stereo system. Owners compete in one of three categories -- consumer, pro or extreme. Extreme competitors have systems with at least 12-inch woofers.
While the event comes on the heels of the township passing a new noise regulation, Ward said it will not violate any laws.
"We follow the strict ordinance," he said. "And this is going on during the day, so I wouldn't foresee any problems."
The Clear Channel lot, he said, is in a commercial area, and most residential areas are not nearby.
Darren Crivelli, Boardman's assistant zoning inspector, said the township's new zoning policy went into effect in June. Police officers enforce the policy by responding to noise after receiving complaints from residents.
It prohibits loud noise from car stereos between10 p.m. and 7 a.m. In case of a special event, noise may be permitted until midnight.
Ward said the competition is during the day, and Sound Off noise will become quiet well within the boundaries of the ordinance.
Cars will start arriving for the competition at 10 a.m. Public gates open at 11 a.m., and the competition begins at noon. An awards ceremony is at 6 p.m.
Ward said his main area is in promoting professional wrestling and tough man contests, but he has seen interest in them spiral downward. Consequently, he is holding fewer such events.
Also a public relations director at a local restaurant, Ward said he's seen the popularity of car shows, cars and loud music remain.
"They drive up and down 224 on Friday nights," he said. "There's just an overabundance."