Flying fingers, without the frets
Wakefield man Todd "Road Toad" Ryan may be destined for greatness in the music world - without an instrument.
Mr Ryan won the inaugural Nelson heat of the New Zealand Air Guitar Championships at the Shark Club on Saturday night, with a spirited rendition of the Van Halen hit Hot for Teacher.
Shark Club bartender Bridie Hogan, who co-judged the competition, said his rock'n'roll attitude put him ahead of a dozen other entrants.
"I was mainly looking for people with a good rock'n'roll vibe - somebody who could use the stage and get excited," she said.
"[Mr Ryan] looked awesome - that's why he won. He was going for it. He was rocking out like he didn't [care] about what anyone else thought."
Ms Hogan said she spoke with Mr Ryan after the competition, and was glad that he won.
"He was so excited. I think he said he plays a bit of bass - that probably gave him an advantage."
Ms Hogan said only one person had signed up for the contest by 9pm, but the bar was "quite packed" by 11pm, and "there were even older ladies signing up".
"[One older woman] got on stage. It was wicked. She must have been in her 50s, or a bit older."
Mr Ryan won a prize pack worth $1000, including flights to Auckland and accommodation, to compete in the national championships later this year.
"After the nationals, there is the world championship."
Ms Hogan said the audience was very supportive of the air guitarists, which was great to see.
"They do look a bit funny up there with no guitar, but there was heaps of clapping and cheering."
The Nelson Mail