For an event without any instruments, last night's US Air Guitar Championships were surprisingly rocking. Fifteen regional qualifiers gathered at the Bowery Ballroom for the chance to represent the United States at the World Air Guitar Championships in Finland on September 8th.

The competition proved stiff as last year's US Champion didn't even make this year's finals. In the finals, the competitors played to Metallica's "Enter Sandman," a song that didn't prove to be as easy as it seemed. In the end, it those with insane stage antics proved to score higher with the judges as Hot Lixx Hulahan (aka Craig Billmeier) from San Francisco won the competition by climbing onto the balcony and performed on the balcony's railing. The results were contested by the judges, who thought that William Ocean (aka Andrew Litz) from New York should have also won or at least been awarded an "air off". In the end though, Hot Lixx was given the crown of the 2006 US Air Guitar Champion.

After the drama of the finals, all the competitors and people in the crowd were invited onto the stage to play their guitars to "Rockin' In The Free World" because the air championships is to promote world peace:

According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end and all the bad things would disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar. This is why the whole universe is invited to play the Air Guitar at the end of the competition."

World peace by air guitar. How can you not love it?

Photos by Tien Mao