It turns out that all those hours you spent in front of the mirror miming to Thunderstruck may be useful after all.

For the first time, the Air Guitar Canada Championships are coming to Hamilton, in search of the best local imaginary guitar god to move on to the national championships in Toronto.

The event, which is happening at This Ain't Hollywood on July 5, is a celebration of a love for music and performance art, says organizer Tim Evans, who also goes by the stage name Glen Airy Glen Rocks.

"It's one minute of pure adrenaline to play out your ultimate fantasy," Evans said.

The event has a "pretty stringent judging system" that's passed down from the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland, he says — and that's where Canada's national winner moves on to compete for global supremacy.

Performers get one minute to perform, and it has to be without any real instrument, though they can use real stage accoutrements, like intricate costumes and pyrotechnics (yes, really).

No backup dancers or performers are allowed, though performers are able to enlist roadies to help them set up their imaginary gear.

Contestants are judged by a panel that measures them on stage persona, "technique," and "airness," which Evans describes as that certain "je ne sais quoi" of a great air guitar performance.

Judges include Dean Baxter from Hollerado, Tyler Bersche from The Medicine Hat and more.

air guitar

Leona "RiRi Rockstar" Placide performs during the Toronto regional Air Guitar Championship. (Henry VanderSpek Photography)

Past national champs that have moved on to the world championships include a pro dancer who incorporated flips into his routine, a Pete Townshend-wannabe who smashed his "guitar" onstage, and last year's Canadian champ, who went by "Canadian Tuxedo." It was as patriotic as it sounds.

Evans promises a great show for spectators — tickets are $10, with proceeds going to Right to Play Canada, which helps kids get involved with sports.

"Watching this is just hilarious. People who go, their faces hurt by the end of it," he said. "Performers have to be shameless and understand what its purpose is.

"How committed to the joke are people? It comes down to honesty."

The Air Guitar Hamilton Championship is happening on July 5 at This Ain't Hollywood on James Street North at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.

adam.carter@cbc.ca