Jason "Thrust" McNeely, Canada's air guitar champion, heads to world championships

An Ottawa man was crowned Canada's best at performing the air guitar and now Jason McNeely will thrust his way to the world championships.

McNeely says he signed up as a joke, now he heads to Oulu, Finland to win the world title

An Ottawa man is mocking tall as Canada's air guitar champion, thrusting his way to Finland for the world championships.

Jason McNeely, 30, says he signed up for the local competition in May at House of Targ as a joke with work colleagues.

"Everybody likes to air guitar, dance in their car," he told Robyn Bresnahan, host of Ottawa Morning.

The event also raised money for charity, which pushed McNeely to compete, he said.

When he arrived, McNeely soon discovered he was under-dressed for the competition. He wore shorts and a shirt, while the others were decked out in costumes. That didn't deter him, though.

"I just ran around a lot, jumped around a lot," was how McNeely described his Ottawa performances.

He performed to two songs, including his pick: "Through the Fire and Flames," by DragonForce.

All of a sudden, the bartender and local brewery representative found himself in the nationals this week in Toronto where he was crowned the champion.

When asked how he practises, McNeely said, "I can air-guitar the hell out of a shampoo bottle."

His tricks have included smashing a guitar on the stage and a beer can on his head, which has taught him something about air guitar most people might not realize.

"It's definitely a dangerous competition if you get right into it," he said, adding he has been injured each time he has performed.

McNeely will compete at the 20th Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland from Aug. 26 to 28.


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