The Final Four in the inaugural Bands Battle 4 the Badges event took the stage Saturday afternoon to see who would reign supreme.
The John Galbraith Trio took home the prize.
The band's performance was surprising, said Nathan "Shags" McLeod, host of the Morning Shag on KCMQ Classic Rock.
Shag said it isn't often a band blows him back in his seat.
"I've heard that they were good for years," he said. "JG3 really got me."
Shag was one of two celebrity judges for the competition at the Jefferson City venue The Bridge. The other judge, Baub Eis (pronounced "Bob Ice"), of 93.5 KMYK, said the band had all-around talent.
"I like heavy bands," Eis said. "But, I like singers."
Audience members were the third judges in the competition. They voted by making donations for SafetyNet — basically a dollar a vote.
Money raised went to the a nonprofit organization, which generates resources to support families of fallen law enforcement offices.
Wes Wingate, owner of The Bridge, said he wasn't aware of the organization, but when he learned about the work, he thought it would be a perfect opportunity to promote the nonprofit's mission and show how the venue works to be the best community partner it can. It doesn't hurt to promote local talent as well, he added.
It also was a chance to highlight how Jefferson City is investing in the east side of its downtown area, Wingate said.
"They're expanding the 'downtown' sense further," he said. "Walk out and look at the Capitol — it's awesome."
People know officers, firefighters and other first-responders fall in the line of duty, Wingate said. But, they don't often focus on the families they leave behind.
He hopes the event to benefit SafetyNet will hopefully change some people's outlook.
"This was a play on March Madness," Wingate said. "It made sense."
Twelve bands competed for the title. The madness started on the first Saturday in March, when the first four bands took the stage. The winner of the competition — and winners during each of three following weekends met up in the championship round Saturday.
Those bands, in addition to the trio, were Dark Below, a hard rock band; Chemical Mass, late night rock; and the Travis Feutz Band, country.
Brad Toebben plays bass for Chemical Mass, which is mostly made up of Jefferson City-area players. Toebben said the band has been together about three years and has played about every venue available in Central Missouri.
As he waited for the judges' decision, Toebben said he felt pretty good about the band's chances. He added he felt like the band was playing on "house money."
"We didn't expect to win in the first round. But, here we are," he said. "We'll see how this one turns out."
John Galbraith described his music as "power pop."
"(Our sound) depends on the song — it's everything from Beatles to Pixies," he said.
The competition was fierce, Eis said.
"JG3 had a good show," he said. "They're solid. Their material is good."
The range in styles for the bands was also surprising, Shag said.
"I was impressed," he said. "It shows how Mid-Missouri is so talented when it comes to musicians."