Nowadays, life on the reservation isn't so bad...not for the Jackson Rancheria band of the Miwuk Indians, who have profited from the infusion of taxes and other revenues brought in by casino gambling. Nick "Chicken" Wilson, who lives on the rancheria, located in the heart of gold country in Jackson, California, decided to put some of that money into building a baller Escalade EXT. And since he wanted nothing but the best, he tapped Steve Meade to head up the project. Sixteen months and $170,000 later, we got what you see right here. On the face of it, this Escalade looks OK. It has big wheels and not much in the way of graphics. Run-of-the-mill bling, right? Wrong!

We'll start outside and work our way in. Yeah, this Escalade's exterior does not lean heavily on cosmetic mods. It rolls on 26-inch Lexani VP2 wheels wrapped in low-profile 305/30R26 Kumho ECSTA STX tires stopped by six-piston Baer brakes and 15-inch rotors. (Whiplash in Sacramento, California, did the dirty work there.) FBI in Rancho Cordova, California, made a one-of-a-kind roll pan that incorporates a fiberglass battery rack cover (fabricated by Steve Meade) that hides four military-grade Odyssey PC 2150s tucked underneath the vehicle. Red Star Auto Body in Sacramento painted that roll pan and the rest of the body a classy pearl white. Steve Weeks designed the billet grille.

Peek inside and white and black colors dominate, but the textures stand out in particular. The dash is dyed black and lined with white fuzzy suede. The seats, front and back, sport white suede and rough black gator hides. And those are real reptile skins, good and legal, that reportedly came with government tags. Black wool carpeting covers the floor, as do custom Cadillac floor mats, and white suede lines the ceiling. Gator-hide sleeves protect the seatbelts from mediocrity. More gators wrap the steering wheel, which also holds a remote control for the head unit. Steve Meade designed all of this, while Vince Delgado at Seat Works in Sacramento installed all the leather and carpet.

Heading up the audio and video entertainment suite is a Pioneer AVH-P7500DVD radio/CD/DVD source unit with a 7-inch monitor in the dash. Just below it is an AudioControl 4.1 crossover that routes the highs, mids, and lows to where they need to go. Below that, on the center console, is a Pioneer AVIC-80DVD navigation unit. And beneath that, inside the center console storage space, are four Zapco XD-VFD power output displays, four remote gain controls, and a Zapco SLBU bass control knob. An XM satellite radio module broadens the A/V system's entertainment options. Rockford Fosgate Fanatic Q three-way and two-way component speakers emanate the sounds from the Caddy's 'glassed, sueded, and gatored front and rear doors, respectively.

A pair of 7-inch headrest monitors mesmerizes second-row passengers, presuming that they aren't distracted by that bevy of gear tucked underneath and behind their seats. Flipping up the seats reveals the six crossovers from Rockford Fosgate flanking the 100Wx2 Zapco Competition-Series C2K-4.0x amplifier powering the speakers. These components are housed in a 'glassed rack that is wrapped with suede and gator like the rest of the interior.

You might remember that there is a midgate on the Escalade EXT (not that it's good for accommodating anything but audio excess in the nest Caddy-style). Flipping down the seatbacks on the second row reveals the two boxy Zapco C2K-4KW 300x4 amplifiers bolted at the midgate like two burly bouncers guarding the entrance to the proverbial rabbit hole. Look further into the inside of the huge enclosure that occupies the entire cargo bed, but not for too long or you might walk away blind, deaf, and maybe crazy. Four RE MT 15-inch subs float in a cubical cavern of plexiglass, MDF, and fiberglass that is sueded and gatored on the outside but mirrored and lit inside to create a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds. A total of 220 LEDs can create and cycle almost every color imaginable, an effect that is demonstrated by the glowing Escalade logo on the back of the box.

Wiring all this together is mostly Stinger power accessories - more than 300 feet of 1/0-gauge power cable, 8- and 12-gauge wire for the subwoofers and speakers, fuses, RCAs, interconnects, and terminals. We already mentioned the four batteries behind the roll pan. In addition to those is an Optima Yellow Top in the engine compartment. Two Irragi 270-amp alternators are mounted in custom brackets under the hood. The power cables are connected to 200-amp breakers at the batteries and 300-amp fuses at the Optima and alternators. An AutoPage remote start and security system protects the vehicle and adds a bit of convenience to it, and a little ingenuity allowed the Escalade to retain OnStar's concierge service. A rearview camera that peeks through the rear glass makes it easier to back up this audio/video battleship.

Steve Meade designed and installed the audio and video system, with a little help from Bobby Gately (who pitched in with the plexiglass work) and LED Light Effects in Sacramento (which fabricated the lighting effects). Quality was key to this install. All the connections were soldered, not crimped.

Under the hood screams a polished MagnaCharger Radix intercooled supercharger and a Superchips programmer, both installed by Darryl's Fabrication in Sacramento. Steve Meade put in the K&N cold-air intake and an Airaid throttle-body spacer. A Flowmaster exhaust expels the noxious fumes. All this, plus 6.0L of V-8 displacement, adds up to 500 hp of power. You could say that Chicken struck gold with this project. We sure think so.