This just in: Kansas DOESN’T suck

For a small Kansas town, Lawrence sure knows how to party hard! Throw rabid fans, live music, and 16 feisty air guitarists in a venue filled with cheap beer, and any outsider will quickly learn that the Midwest can be anything but sleepy.

The night kicked off a little different than usual when Lawsuit Models, a band out of Denver pumped up the crowd with—wait for it—REAL instruments. Then our air hostest with the air mostest, 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin (Eric Melin) really got the night rolling by showing off some epic moves and proving why he’s considered one of the world’s greatest.

Joining him on-stage was CindAIRella (Beth Melin), the current Kansas City champion and ranked second in the nation. With elegance and awesomeness, she’d showed longtime air fans and newbies alike how it’s done in the big leagues.

Then it was time for the real competition. Though everyone brought a ridiculous amount of energy to the stage, some of the standouts included—

Harvey Wahlbanger (Ryan Wahl): 
 

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ll the way from Iowa, this long-time competitor wowed the crowd with one of his best performances yet. With unparalleled airness and impeccable technical skills, Harvey was an easy second round favorite.
 

Rockward Silence (Conor Taft)

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The two-time Lawrence champion was ready to make it three. Rocking it to everyone’s favorite Canadian pop-punkers Simple Plan (sorry Sum 41), Rockward Silence had more energy than a 15-year-old hopped up on Red Bull at Warped Tour.
 

Pork Sword (Cameron Hawk)

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Back to compete in his hometown for the first time in years, this questionably, yet awesomely-clad ham treated the crowd with one of the quirky, fun and insanely technically proficient routines he’s lauded for. And good news for the easily queasy—no blood! Could this be a more mature Pork Sword?
 

William ShakespAIR (Will Averill)

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To shred, or not to shred? That was not even a question. With garb Hamlet would be proud of and skills far past the 16thCentury, Billy was an easy crowd favorite.

Velocirapture (Cassie Highlander): After taking a year off the USAG circuit, Velocirapture came back with roar. As the glittery Mardi Gras/Jurassic Park lovechild we never knew we needed, this clever girl just barely missed the second round.

Surly Scurlock (Clifton Scurlock): If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Mean Melin should be feeling fantastic. Using the song Melin himself wrote and eventually won Worlds with, Surly Scurlock attempted to re-create the routine, in an ultra-frenetic fashion. He even sported a shirt that looked oddly familiar to our host’s iconic attire.

In the end, it all came down to 6 incredible competitors in the final round: Rockward Silence, Harvey Wahlbanger, Pork Sword, William ShakepAIR. 65 Roses (Steven Fuller), and Rott Killgram (Spencer McElhaney). Their second round was a brutal edit of Stayin’ Alive that would make any BeeGees fan weep. All finalists took the challenge with pride and slayed. 

In the end, there can only be one winner. Scores were tight with only one-tenth of a point separating the final scores, but results were decisive. For the third consecutive year, Rockward Silence will be representing Lawrence, Kansas. He’s also the first official Wild Card guaranteed a spot at the Wild Card Semi Finals in Brooklyn, New York.

Kriston Rucker