I've never heard of this either, and I can't believe it even exists, but it does. Yes, there really is a competition for those with a talent for playing the air guitar. Apparently it's taken very seriously too, because the winner goes on to Oulu, Finland to compete against other champions from other parts of the world.

The U.S. Air Guitar Championships have recently announced the locations and dates for the 2011 regional competitions. Check out the schedule here. They are hitting a bunch of U.S. cities so if you think you have what it takes to move your hands around in the air a bit then start planning!

Here are all the rules you must follow in order to compete:

Official rules of competition

US Air Guitar obeys the rules set forth by the Air Guitar World Championships:

- Each performance is played to 1 minute (60 sec.) of a song

- The 60 seconds can start anywhere in the song

- The instrument must be invisible & be a guitar, i.e. air drums not allowed

- Air roadies are allowed, but must leave the stage before the performance

- Back-up bands (air or real) are not allowed

US Air Guitar contests each consist of two rounds:

- Round 1 (freestyle): each competitor performs to a song of their choice

- Round 2 (compulsory): top competitors from round 1 perform surprise song

Judging criteria

In each city, the jury is a panel of independent judges. The results of the jury cannot be protested.

All performances are scored on a scale from 4.0 to 6.0 – 6.0 being the highest possible. Scores are given to one decimal point (e.g. 5.4, not 5.48). A single score is given to each air guitarist based on their overall performance in that round.

The score reflects the quality of the performance based on three key criteria:

1. Technical merit

You don’t have to know what notes you’re playing, but the more your invisible fretwork corresponds to the music that’s playing, the better the performance.

2. Stage presence

Anyone can do it in the privacy of their bedroom. Few have what it takes to rock a crowd of hundreds or even thousands - all without an instrument.

3 “Airness”

The last criteria is the most difficult to define yet often the most decisive of all. Airness is defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.

Please note: the scores from BOTH ROUNDS are added to determine the contestants’ final scores. This combined score determines the winner. Confusion over this detail was the cause of a controversy in the 2006 Finals that tore at the very fabric of competitive air guitar.

As for prizes, each regional winner receives a cash voucher that will go toward their trip to the U.S. finals. Each

contestant will compete against the other regional winners. From there, whomever wins the U.S. championship then goes on to Finland (with free airfare and two nights lodging) to compete against the world's best air guitarists. Whomever wins that is declared the greatest air guitarist in the world.

Tickets for all locations go on sale Friday, April 8, and the competitions begin May 12 and last until July 15. To enter the competition, go here.

This is so ridiculous it's hard for me to even believe. I can't fathom that there is such a competition as this, but sadly enough, there is. If you're into this though and think you've got the skills, then pack up your gear...oh, wait, well invisibly pack up your gear, get your tickets and come on down!

Go Rock Yourself- or in this case go rock with yourself!