Five Tips Flair Bartenders Follow When Continuously Competing

With summer upon us, it’s an extremely busy time of year for flair competitions all over the world. Here’s a small list for June & July:

Belushi’s Flair Challenge – Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 21)
Underground Flair League, Heat 3 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 22)
Skyy Flair Challenge, Local Spanish Competition – Madrid, Spain (June 23-24)
Bar 09 – London, UK (June 23-24)
Roadhouse World Flair, World Open 3 – London, UK (June 28)
Big Kahuna – Las Vegas, NV (June 28, Finals July 26)
Independent Flair League, 2nd Round – Warsaw, Poland (July 1)
Que Pasa Flair Challenge 3 – (July 2)
Roadhouse World Flair, Asian Open – Tokyo, Japan (July 5)
5th Croatia Flair Open – Croatia (July 6-7)
Skyy Flair Global Challenge – Sri Lanka (July 12)
Onnela Flair Masters – Helsinki, Finland (July 15)
Legacy of Flair Bartending – Reno, NV (July 20-21)
Arizona Flair II – Scottsdale, AZ (July 21-22)
South African Bartender Championships, Qualifying Round – Durban, South Africa (July 23-24)
Roadhouse World Flair, World Open 4 – London, UK (July 26)
Flying Things & Head to Head – Las Vegas, NV (July 27)
Flair Vegas Finals – Las Vegas, NV (July 28)

With all of the competition and prize money opportunities, flair bartenders can find themselves on a plane multiple times a month. Therefore, we thought it was appropriate to address a common question among our readers: “How do they compete so often and not burn out from the travel and stress of competing?” Below are five tips some flair bartenders use to keep routines fresh and maintain their general well-being during times like this.

  • Get enough sleep. This is the first thing that will kill a bartender’s sharpness and their ability to think on their feet while competing. It’s also the most challenging obstacle to overcome because most bartenders are traveling to a comp straight off of a busy work night.
  • Minimize alcohol. It’s easy for a competitor to go out every night with the other competitors and party. But, if a bartender is there to win, they will usually try to limit the drinking and partying, at least until they’re done competing.
  • Eat healthy food. Common sense, we know, but sometimes it’s hard to eat on the road based on cost and time allotted in the itenerary. Planning ahead helps competitors find restaurants that offer a good variety of fresh food.
  • Drink plenty of water – Bartenders know that staying hydrated will help with fatigue, sore muscles and overall mental clarity.
  • Practice for one comp at a time. Rules differ by competition, so bartenders find that it’s important to focus on one competition at a time. And, what’s in their mind is the most current rules needed to avoid confusion. Some flair bartenders will use the same basic routine, but add in (or take out) certain moves to make it appear fresh to the judges and audience.

We also asked a few busy competitors to give us a few more ideas of what they do during this time of year. Nick Olliney, Josh Briggs, Tom Dyer and Behnam Gerami were nice enough to take time out of their schedule to give us their insights. Thanks, guys!

Nick Olliney

Nick Olliney

Nick OllineyProfessional Competitor
“I’m just coming back from my fourth competition in the last five weeks, stretching from Indiana, Windsor Ontario, New York, and Sarasota, Florida so I guess the main thing that keeps me going week after week is the thrill of being in front of large crowds and the people enjoying my show. Right before my last comp (Florida), I left work after doing inventory at 5:00am, arrived at the airport for a 6:00am flight and three hours later I was in Florida. With just a few hours of sleep in the last two days, I was exhausted. But, once the first bottle was flipped and the crowd went nuts, the lack of sleep went away… that’s what keeps me going while continuously on the road.

I’d also say that what keeps me going from work to airports to comps back to work pretty much with very little sleep in between is the fact that every time I travel, I’m going to be around great friends.”

Josh Briggs

Josh Briggs

Josh BriggsAdvanced Competitor
“Staying fresh isn’t easy. Between working full time as a flair bartender, managing my bartending company, and practice doesn’t leave time for much else. Fortunately I have supportive family, friends, and co-workers who enjoy watching me succeed in the sport. To stay fresh I enjoy a good “yard day.” By getting together with other local flair bartenders and seeing their new tricks, I am able to try some dream moves and flip in a relaxed environment. Competition can be very intense so going to the park on a cool Sunday afternoon for practice is a great reminder of how fortunate I am that my career allows me to make great money, meet great people that share my passion, and keeps me far away from a desk.

I have convinced myself that the lifestyle I lead is too fun to worry about rest. I often tell myself “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Honestly, though, pure adrenaline is what gets me through my 4-6 minutes on stage when I have just come off of a 40-hour work week, 20 hours of practice, and a 3-hour drive to the airport to fly to the next comp from Omaha. This is not to mention taking care of my wife and 16 month-old daughter. Wow! I’ve never really thought about it like this but I think I need more sleep!”

Tom Dyer

Tom Dyer

Tom DyerProfessional Competitor
“What keeps me motivated is simply that I love every second of what I’m doing. Who else gets to go to 7 or 8 different countries in a month and get paid for it all? Not all those countries are comps though…some of the travel is for work, promotion and trade shows.

To keep my flair fresh takes practice, practice practice! For my next trip I am using pretty much the same routine. But with future comps, I will change the routine slightly according to the rules, new moves and my music. I usually also figure out small connection moves the more I perform my routine.”

Behnam Gerami

Behnam Gerami

Behnam GeramiProfessional Competitor

“What I do to stay fresh is to get away from it for awhile. When you practice the same thing over and over, you tend to do what you practice. So I try to take a week off and put some new objects in my hands and try to create.

Music always inspired me as well. I’ll buy a new CD and try to flair to it as a dancer would dance to it. This not only helps me de-stress, but helps me create new ideas.”


One Response

  1. […] keep track of ALL things flair. For now, see any of these websites or visit one of our recent posts here or here to learn about some of the larger […]

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