Guitar Center, the instrument retailing chain, on August 1 will kick off its 20th annual drum-off, a contest to find the best drummer in the U.S, Billboard.biz has learned.

Non-music related sponsors include brands such as Converse, Monster Energy and Levis. Last year the only non-music related brand was Levis, which has been a sponsor for five years.

"A lot of people play while wearing Converse because you can feel the pedal through the shoe," said Dustin Hinz, manager of event marketing and promotion, of the Westlake Village, California-based Guitar Center. "And what musician doesn't power down a Monster Energy before a show?"

Local judges at each of Guitar Center's 214 stores will winnow down thousands of participants over the coming months before the winner is chosen at a drum-off that will take place in January in Los Angeles. The exact date and venue are still being finalized.

The grand prize includes $25,000 cash, being featured in an upcoming advertising campaign for Guitar Center as well as merchandise from the seventeen sponsors.

Over the past 20 years winners have gone on to notably drumming gigs including Cora Coleman, the 2002 winner, who has played with Prince.

Hinz, who after being with Guitar Center for 10 years has seen nearly every permutation of drumming showmanship, offers this advice to potential entrants: "We're looking for someone original with a tremendous amount of talent doing something as unique as possible," he said. "There is nothing more unexciting than watching a perfect drummer who is like a robot during his performance."