"World's Fastest Drummer" is a highly charged, interactive phenomenon and has been a feature at NAMM for the past five years. The contest consisted of two categories, Battle of the Hands and Battle of the Feet. The Preliminary Heats were held January 18 through January 20. The top ten Fastest Hands and top ten Fastest Feet then competed in a "Finals Battle" of both categories commonly referred to as WFD world finals on Sunday, January 21.
"We are now in our eighth year of WFD and we have seen some amazing talent along the way, but this even took it all to a different level," said Craig Alan, WFD co-founder. "It was without a doubt the best WFD event we have ever witnessed."
Spectators were treated to one of the most exciting WFD events to date as contestants set six new world records! Mike "Machine" Mallais's amazing foot speed enabled him to break three bass-drum records! "Machine" even slammed out a fiery 1,034 bass-drum strokes in 60 seconds, completely annihilating Tim "Silver Feet" Waterson's six-year old 1,030 singles record! "Machine" now holds the following WFD world records: one-minute single stroke record of 1,034, five-minute single stroke endurance record of 4,595 and the 15-minute endurance record of 13,309.
The girls also threw down hard to set three new WFD world records! At barely 14 years old, Caitlin "Lead Foot" Kalatus set two new WFD world records. Caitlin became the youngest person to ever hold a WFD world record when she beat out a blistering 799 singles on the bass drum and taking the WFD world record "Battle of the Feet" (female division). Not to be outdone, Miss WFD and Mystery Hangup drummer, Lux, showed some serious speed when she took the WFD world record for the "Battle of the Hands" (female division) with a exhilarating 901 singles in 60!
WFD champions Mike Mangini, Tim Yeung and Matt Smith gave three days of demonstrations plus tips on building your technique and preparing for WFD while doing interviews and signing autographs for the ever appreciative WFD grassroots fan base. The entire four days of WFD world finals were covered by Thomas "DogBreath" Brumley for DrummerWorld.com.
Although California was under a cold weather advisory from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state heated up as Blythe Schulte kicked off the show with a beautiful rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner", followed by a scorching 15-minute set by WFD musical director Johnny "Three Bomb" Rabb and Ten Finger Orchestra. Then the battle began with the top 20 fastest drummers going head to head, foot to foot. The winner of "The Battle of the Hands" was Jeff "Sneak Attack" Guthery with 1,054 strokes per minute. Second place went to Italy's Merlini Riccardo (1,037) while third place went to Ikaika Pekelo (948). The Battle of the Feet title went to Canada's Mike "Machine" Mallais with 978 strokes. Second place was Scott DeMartini (900) and third place went to Tyson Jupin (850).
"This year's WFD world finals were just awesome. Congrats to Jeff 'Sneak Attack' Guthery on his win. He's trained hard this past year and totally deserved it. I have to say it only took one minute for everyone in Orange County, CA. and the rest of the world for that matter, to know that Mike 'Machine' Mallais was in the USA. 'Machine' is the real deal," stated Boo McAfee, co-founder of WFD.
Over $12,000.00 in grand prizes awarded to the winners included two Pearl drum sets, two sets of Meinl cymbals, fifty Remo heads, a year's supply of Pro-Mark sticks (with the winner’s name), Axis double pedal, two Drumometers, educational gifts from Alfred Publishing, and much more.
For more information about WFD events, click here.