El Paso, Texas is FULL of Rush fans; and no I'm not just talking about Dubba G & myself. There are many people who love the music that the Canadian trio has given us throughout the years. However this guy might be one of the luckiest Rush fans out there; he entered a Rush contest for Modern Drummer magazine in the 90s & WON a bunch of Neil Peart's gear.

Who was the El Paso drummer who won the Modern Drummer Magazine?

In an achieved upload of the June 1997 issue of Modern Drummer is where you'll find the information for a Rush "A Work in Progress" contest that was held in November & December of 1996 & January of that year.

One look on page 156 & you'll find that over 90,000 people entered & two drummers from Texas won 2nd & 3rd place. David Conaway of Deer Park, Texas got 3rd place & won a Neil Peart cymbal set up & a video of Neil's "A Work of the Progress" VHS. However... the 2nd place winner was Manny Castaneda of El Paso, Texas.

Modern Drummer Magazine via screenshot
Modern Drummer Magazine via screenshot

Manny is a music educator who lives in town &, according to him, he STILL has everything that he won from that contest. Manny also went into detail on HOW he was able to win in that contest:

"In order to enter the contest, as it was the 90's, you had to call a 1-900 number...I was a senior at Eastwood at the time, had been playing drums/percussion for a few years in school band, had been in a couple of original and cover bands, and through that had discovered Rush and Neil the Summer in between 7th and 8th grade. From there on it was an obsession, and being the huge Neil fan I was, I called incessantly for the duration of the contest from Oct. thru New Years Eve 1996....

Fast forward about 2 or 3 weeks later and one day my mom was very upset when she picked me up from school and said I had rung up a huge phone bill, I think it was around $75 in charges that month, and said that I needed to pay for charges. Then the very next day on a Friday afternoon she picked me up once again after school and said that I had gotten a call in the middle of the day from Modern Drummer...Then she proceeded to say "something about A Zildjians, a contest, Neil, and to call them Monday." Then it hit me and was a bit dumbfounded to say the least! When I got home I ran inside to check the caller ID... and sure enough there was a call from the Modern Drummer office at around 1 in the afternoon."

After that, Manny received a total of 12 Zildjian cymbals, the same ones that Neil used in the mid 90s:

  • 16” Rock Crashes x2
  • 18” Medium Crash
  • 20” Medium Crash
  • 18” China Boy Low
  • 20” China Boy Low
  • 8” Splash x2
  • 10” Splash
  • 13” New Beat Hi Hats
  • 14” New Beat Hi Hats
  • 22” Ping Ride

And yes... Manny still has those cymbals today. He continues to use them to tour & record with various bands from El Paso & around the country.

Manny Castaneda
Manny Castaneda

And as a bonus, he received a signed copy of Neil's VHS tape.

Manny Castaneda
Manny Castaneda

As a fellow drummer & Rush fan, that's certainly an amazing story to hear! And I'm so totally not jealous that he has a SIGNED COPY of Neil's VHS...

Huge thank you to Manny for sharing his story & continuing to show the love for Rush too.

600 ESPN El Paso logo
Get our free mobile app

Best Progressive Rock + Metal Album of Each Year Since 1983

Scroll through the Best Progressive Rock + Metal Album of Each Year Since 1983

Gallery Credit: Jordan Blum

El Paso Strong: The Texas Bucket List Loves these Local Spots

Since 2013, The Texas Bucket List has visited many incredible destination spots throughout the Lone Star State. And over a dozen of them have been right here in the El Paso. Here are some of the El Paso locations they've visited throughout the show.

Gallery Credit: Daniel Paulus

56 Rock + Metal Bands Who Changed Their Name Before Getting Famous

A name is everything.

Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita

More From 600 ESPN El Paso