Rookie of the Year Brings Des Moines Title Back Home

POSSIBLE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, C.C. FINALLY BRINGS THE TITLE BACK TO DES MOINES! WOW! After three years of the Des Moines Championship being won by a Kansas Citian, the title of Des Moines Best Air Guitarist finally goes to a local! What an unbelievable night!

None of it would have been possible without our extremely generous sponsors 5 Point Studios and 515 Brewing Company! Thank you, guys! Also, our competition was also set up to raise some money for Girls Rock! Des Moines, who help young girls build self-esteem through writing and performing music!!!

Carl's Place was packed. It was hot. It was sweaty. It was Rock & Roll! Fans came out in droves this year to see for themselves what Air Guitar was all about, and from what I have heard from them, they get it now! It was hilarious, it was chaotic, it was beautiful. And at least 3 people almost died (I think, but I'm not as good at math as some people).

Our competitors included five local Des Moines competitors, seven competitors who made the epic journey from Kansas City, and Lost Heartbreaker. Four were rookies (AMAZING!), and two former Des Moines Champions came back to reclaim their titles.

We had 3 great judges who were all first-time judges and were probably my second favorite judging trio of all time (See also: 2012 US AIR GUITAR Minneapolis Championship. Seriously, check it out. The judging was amazing). They included Rae Fehring (Girls Rock! Des Moines), Chad Taylor (Music Writer at Cityview), and Tina Finn (possibly the greatest human being on planet Earth for putting up with my shenanigans for all these years). While Rae and Chad brought actual real-world musical / Rock & Roll knowledge, Tina brought the Air Guitar chops. She's been watching competitions since 2006 and has seen some of the top talent in the world perform.

Iron Dragon, 2014 Des Moines Champion, started off the night in the dreaded ONE SPOT. I loved what he did, but the judges & crowd weren't quite feeling it yet (or didn't know what to expect), so his scores were less than desirable. Unfortunately, that is par for the course when you start the show.

Harvey Wahlbanger came out ready to rip 'em. and like Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred, Rip 'em he did. His scores were astronomical for going second hitting a 17.6 which was good enough to get into the second round!

The Tick (a rookie) came out in a blue spandex bodysuit with jorts covering his nether-regions. His rendition of Wolfmother's "Joker & The Thief" fell flat with the judges, unfortunately, but I hope he paid attention to the critiques he was given and comes back stronger next year!

LattAirDay Saint rode his air bike up to the stage and rocked the hell out of his track. He went wild and so did the audience! He was good for a 17.4 score & was round 2 bound!

CindAirella destroyed her track in an amazing way. Her high kicks were nearly deadly as during one part of her song she nearly took out Glory Wholesome! I think that was one her best routines I have seen. She received a 17.4, but I feel like the judges left some points on the table, but she still scored well enough to get into round 2!

Glory Wholesome shredded a new track, but following CindAirella was no easy task, and her scores reflected that. The judges, and pretty much everyone, were enthralled by her leggings. There are a few Air Guitarists out there that rock the tight pants (OK, many Air Guitarists do), but no one can wear a Trapper Keeper better than Glory Wholesome.

Stack Attack won the Perfect Attendance award and is in the running the Air Guitar Iowa Hall of Fame for being at all 4 of our shows so far! Also, she rocked some sweet USA shades and her trademark Eagle T Shirt, played to the crowd on the side of the stage as well as the front & really took care of business! The judges thought she didn't STACK up to the competition, but I saw Stack Attack's best performance to date, and if she continues on this trajectory, she'll win a championship well before Lost Heartbreaker!

Misfit of Punk (another rookie) came out with a really well thought out routine. His Lucha Libre mask left many people terrified and the judges were into it. They did point out a few places where his energy didn't match the energy of the song, and that cost him a spot in round 2.

Jeffy El Jefe (rookie alert!) brought The Darkness and was hell-bent on destruction! Unfortunately his hair chose not to stay on his head and (rookie mistake) he dropped his guitar to put his hair back on. The judges docked him for that, but otherwise it was a solid first-time performance! *********NOTE TO ANYONE TRYING AIR GUITAR FOR THE FIRST TIME: Wardrobe malfunctions will happen. Pretend it didn't & just keep rocking!

C. C. (Our fourth rookie) came out with Rex Kwon Do pants, Dee Snider hair, and a roadie who helped him set up a mic stand (Good idea? Bad idea?). He threw every Air Guitar move into the mix while singing the back-up vocals into the mic. It was a throw-back performance for the ages bringing to mind the first couple of Air Guitar contests I entered where the glam rock was shimmering and the Air was wild & crazy! The judges and the crowd felt his energy & rewarded him with a PERFECT SCORE in his first performance!!!

Thunderball, 2015 Des Moines Champion, might be one of the most technically proficient Air Guitarists currently competing in the US, but he doesn't let his technicality bog down his performance as his sweet crazy-leg action brought back memories of some dude named Airistotle. He Thunderball can bring it with just about any song, and his only downfall was that he had to follow a perfect score, which is a lot to live up to both in the eyes of the judges as well as the fans. Thunderball got hosed a bit because of the order (anyone who doesn't score perfectly gets hosed by the order), but he still rocked a 17.6 for a solid spot in Round 2!

Lost Heartbreaker has been competing for a long time, but he has yet to win a championship. Well, he LOST another HEARTBREAKER last night (BOOM!). He rocked the Tom Petty and went into full Tasmanian Devil mode which took the energy level up to crazy levels, but he did not score well enough to get into round 2.

Freddy Fingers was our final contestant of the night. He used the full stage and surroundings like a champ and his strut & lean against the wall while playing had me dying, esecially when he 1-upped himself & started drinking someone's drink with their own straw! The judges loved his set & rewarded him with a 17.4 & a spot in round 2!

Round 2's compulsory track was "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead, and the contestants had definitely heard it before. That makes it sound easy, but when 5 (or in this case 6 due to a tie) all have to play the same song it forces them to up the ante with each performance to separate the Air Wheat from the Air Chaff. Freddy Fingers went first in the second round (3-way tie with LattAirDay Saint & CindAirella), climbed onto an unsteady table, and nearly killed himself. He ended up not dying, so everything was fine. No need to call an attorney, Freddy. CindAirella brought more dance moves & high kicks and nailed the track, but the judges wanted more now that Freddy had broken the 4th wall. LattAirDay Saint shed his bike helmet (Safety third, I always say), and THEN climbed up onto the previously mentioned unsteady table, climbed the half wall & ended up on top of a table shredding in the face of a kindly audience member. The judges loved his jam and rewarded him, which found him in third place at the end of the night!

Harvey Wahlbanger lost to Thunderball in a deadly game of Rock, Paper, Scissors so he went next. After his patented judge pandering/payoffs, Harvey went ThunderStroock & ripped his shirt off. I don't know if that helped him or hurt him in the end, but he ended up finishing fourth. Thunderball brought the Air Bass for a few seconds then almost perfectly shredded the rest. Thunderball is good you guys, really good.

Finally rookie sensation C.C. went & he nearly broke the place. He climbed and jumped on everything, made out with some lady in the audience & ended with a backwards chair sit roll off that was, as Lost Heartbreaker described, "that move your drunk uncle does at every wedding." He rocked 3 more 6's from the judges finishing with a perfect 36 points in his first Air Guitar competition! He & Thunderball will join me, Flying Finn, in representing Des Moines at the Kansas City Semifinal on July 9th! These guys are so good - I better double my practicing!

Over all the night was amazing. People jumped, climbed, necked, spit stuff, threw stuff, and completely shredded all expectations! Oh, and as far as raising money for Girls Rock! Des Moines? We ended up raising $414 for them! If you forgot to donate or want to donate more, the link below is their direct donation page!

A HUGE THANK YOU GOES OUT TO: 5 Point Studios & 515 Brewing Company for their sponsorship, Carl's Place for letting us be as ridiculous as we are, Nathan (our Sound Guy), Rae, Chad & Tina for being amazing judges, our competitors, and finally to everyone in attendance! You guys made this show amazing!