Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008 | 1:12 p.m.
Stealing the Olympics' thunder is this bulletin from another international competition: Last Friday, San Francisco native Craig Billmeier won the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland, defeating two-time champion, Ochi (Dainoji) Yosuke of Japan.
Earlier this month Billmeier (whose nom de air is "Hot Lixx Hulahan’") defeated 24 challengers from across the country, each vying for the opportunity to represent the United States. Harrah's Carnaval Court in Las Vegas was the site of one of the preliminary heats for the national championship on June 27, when Henderson's own Angela Corvello competed under the air name of Shama Lama "Airly Legal Ding Dong. Corvello, a first-time air guitarist, finished fifth out of a field of 15.
At the World Championships in Ouu, Finland, Billmeier shredded against 20 more challengers from all around the globe, including two-time defending World Champion Ochi (Dainoji) Yosuke of Japan, as well as representatives from Russia, Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. Coming in behind Billmeier were Andel ”John Sniffler” Soree (Netherlands) and Cole ”Johnny Utah” Manson (Canada). For his prize Hott Lixx was presented with the real thing -- a Finnish handmade Flying Finn electric guitar.
"I honestly didn’t think I had a chance,"Billmeier said afterwards. "Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do good, to do everyone proud, to at least look decent on YouTube." Check out video of Billmeier/Hulahan's performances here.
The American's win is "certainly in keeping with the true heart of air guitar, which is World Peace," said US Air Guitar co-founder Kriston Rucker, via text message. "I think it speaks to the old Air Guitar Ideology, which states that if one is holding an air guitar, one cannot, at the same time, be holding a gun."