The twang of steel guitars and the thump of cowboy boots filled the air as couples competed Wednesday in the regional finals of a country-Western dancing competition at a Santa Monica nightclub.
Marina del Rey residents Armando Arbaca and Christine Iannone scored highest of all local couples but were edged from first place by Ronnie DeBennadetta and Carrie Dawn Hoover of Las Vegas.
The winners received $1,500 and will compete for the $10,000 prize in the national finals of the Marlboro Dance Showdown, to be held Dec. 7 in Arlington, Tex. Iannone and Arbaca got $1,000.
The competition at the Denim & Diamonds nightclub included the traditional two-step, the country-Western swing and a line dance called the "tush-push." Competitors were judged on precision, accuracy of dance step, showmanship and sportsmanship.