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Recollection of Neil Ross:

January 1982 - The original challenge

For my 18th birthday my family took me to BeniHana of Tokyo at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. I had been playing bass-guitar for about a year by then and had aquired a guitar as well. My brother Pete had bought a guitar too and had been playing it for less than a year, as I recall.

Despite the fact that the drinking age was 19 then, we ended up imbibing quite a bit of saki that evening. I can't recall exactly how it came up but at some point Pete stated that he figured he could write a better song than me! Well, that was a challenge that could not go unanswered, so a wager was laid down then and there to resolve our difference-of-opinion.

We agreed that, one year later, we would each present an original recorded song to a group of mutually selected judges and that the defeated man would have to buy a trophy for the winner and take him out for a night on the town.

One year later, as agreed, we held the judging. John Hanson, John Cooper and Dan Tyndall were our first judges; Hanson and Cooper being the best musicians we knew and Dan Tyndall being a respected friend of the family and a successful small-businessman to boot. They listened to our songs and declared my entry 'Nothing for Tears' the winner over Pete's 'Don't Get (a Chance to Say)'.

Creation of 'The Guitar Cup' Trophy

So, Pete diligently set about finding a suitable trophy for me. His good friend Ted Judge was a talented artist so Pete commissioned him to create one. What he gave us was a masterpiece. The coveted 'Guitar Cup'.

Molded from wire, resistors, capacitors and the like (Ted's mother figured he'd gutted one of her radios), it is an archetypical guitarist surrounded by swirling cables (no doubt animated by the guitarist's musical prowess). Drip-painted in multiple colours, it is arguably the finest music-related trophy in the world and is one-of-a-kind.

The Cup

Guitar Cup's ongoing history

Of course, our friends were suitably impressed and wanted to know if we would repeat this competition. We agreed and one year later we did it again, this time with 5 entries. The competition grew and we ran the Cup annually for 7 straight years. Interest finally began to wain. It was also an exhausting endeavour putting on the contest then. We finally decided to retire the Cup and all went about our lives.

In early 1993, we realized that the 10th anniversary of the Cup was sneaking past us so we decided to dust it off and see if we couldn't do it one more time. We did, then repeated the process in 1998 for the 15th anniversary. John Keffer won it that year and held on to it for 10 years!! No challenges came. Finally, he decided to put it at risk once again, just in time for the 25th anniversary in 2008 (or as we call it now, the 2007-2008 season). The band 'Cooler' won it that year and the Guitar Cup was transported to Quebec, leaving it's provence of origin for the first time. There it dwelled for 5 years.

Which brings us to present day. The 2012-2013 season. The 30th Anniversary of the coveted 'Guitar Cup'. A formal challenge was issued by 'Cooler' and I, Neil Ross, have walked away with the cup making me the only 3 time champion in the history of the Guitar Cup. But stay tuned. There's still more history to come...

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Artwork by Neil Ross and John Keffer
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