Legends XII: The Super Bowl of U.S. Flair Competitions

One of the best things you can do to support the flair bartending scene as a fan is to attend a flair bartending competition. This week we hopped a jet plane to Las Vegas to attend the largest U.S. flair bartending competition called Legends of Bartending. This year was its 12th year and has been described as the Super Bowl of flair bartending competitions. Therefore, we knew we’d be witnessing some of the best flair bartenders in the world competing for a $10,000 first place prize and bragging rights.

Sunday Night: Competitor Registration
The first night at a competition of this type is the beginning of it all. The Sunday night meet and greet is where all competitors (both advanced and professional levels) gather to see each other and finalize their registrations in the competition. Registration is simply the time when competitors sign their liability forms, give the organizers their music and pick up their swag bag (which normally contains a commemorative bottle, tin and bottle opener, a few t-shirts, and any other sponsor gifts).

The evening is normally open to only competitors and their guests. Sponsors are invited and there’s usually a free, open bar for all attendees. At Legends, this is also the time when the FBA announces its year-end awards from the prior year. The FBA’s 2009 awards are voted upon by the membership at large several months before Legends happens. You can see the 2009 winners by visiting the FBA’s Awards page.

LAX Nightclub - LuxorCompetitive Atmosphere
If you’ve never been to a professional flair competition, it’s a lot like a normal sporting event…only it’s held in a bar. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans attend. This year Legends XII took place in LAX nightclub inside the Luxor hotel & casino.

After the first night of meet and greet, it’s a full day of qualifying events. Competitors at Legends are expected to pass a Pour Round, a Speed Round and an Exhibition Flair Round. Because Legends is one of the only competitions that requires all three rounds, it is considered one of the most difficult and challenging competitions in existence today.

Spill-Stop Pour Off

Eric Parker competes with Behnam Gerami for the Spill-Stop Pour Off

Pour Round – In this round bartenders pour ten drinks as fast and as accurately as they can. Bartenders are given eight glasses and two tins. Bartenders then pour liquors only (actually they use water in all competitions) into the empty glasses. No ice or mixers are used. Bartenders must pour the proper bottles into the proper glasses with the proper amounts that follow the provided recipes. This round is worth 200 points out of their total qualifying score.

Speed Round – The speed round requires the competitor to make six drinks and open one beer as accurately and quickly as possible. The six drinks are derived from the Master Drink List which is drawn randomly by the competitor. One of the judges then announces those drinks to the competitor and officially calls “Go” to start the clock. Point deductions can happen for spills, missed or wrong ingredients, under-pours and drops or breaks. This round is worth 300 points toward their overall qualifying score.

Eric Parker in his Exhibition Round finals night.

Exhibition Flair Round – Each bartender in all divisions has four minutes to make two drinks. The first drink is made using Working Flair while the second drink showcases Exhibition Flair. Unlike the Speed Round, the competitors know the two drinks they will be making before the competition begins. This allows them to create a full routine (with music). Bartenders are judged on things like Difficulty, Flow of Routine, Creative Flair and Overall Performance. The most valuable of all three rounds, Exhibition Flair is worth 450 points toward the competitor’s overall score.

Tuesday is solely dedicated to finalist rounds. The Advanced Division this year announced five qualifiers: Santiago Gomez, Mike Mills, Ezequiel Abergo, Richard Ramirez and Kevin McCormack. The Pro Division accepted nine qualifiers: Dario Doimo, Danilo Oribe, Gianluigi Bosco, Steven Jarmuz, Behnam Gerami, Riccardo Mastromatteo, Eric Parker, Miyuki Kamimura and Nick Olliney.

These gentlemen (and lady) then competed in another day’s worth of flair to see who would win the ultimate title of Legends XII Champion and $10,000 in prize money. An additional round called Working Flair is added on finals day. This round is worth 300 points and consists of a competitor making 4-5 drinks in three minutes while being judged.

Another unique thing about Legends is the Tandem event. This is where two flair bartenders come together with a routine and are judged similarly to the other rounds. Below is the video of Colin Griffiths and Vladymyr Buryanov of “Team Bar Flies,” who took this year’s Tandem Championship title.

Commentating with Christian Delpech For Thousands of Worldwide Fans

Christian Delpech & Kacy Seitz Commentating for FlairLive TV

Christian & Kacy Commentating on FlairLive TV

The last part of finals day is considered the “big show.” This is where all finalists compete in the Exhibition Flair Round (worth 475 points) on the main stage. Generation Flair was asked to co-host FlairLive TV’s coverage of the main event with Christian Delpech, a well-known legend in this sport. Since this was our se

cond experience with FlairLive TV (first being at Quest 2009), Kacy gladly accepted the challenge once again.

As each competitor took the stage, Christian and Kacy were commentating for fans all over the world (3,500 computers logged on from over 25 different countries)! For the first time, FlairLive TV offered viewers various sponsor commercials and product plugs during the broadcast. The energy was high and the results were anxiously anticipated as each judge reviewed the overall list of finalists to determine who would be crowned Legends XII Champion.

Legends XII Results: 2010 Finalists
Flair bartending competitions like Legends not only offer the prestige and bragging rights of each flair bartender who earns his/her trophy, they also offer some amazing prize money! Below are the final results and their cash prizes won for this event.

1st: Danilo Oribe (Uruguay) – $10,000
2nd: Gianluigi Bosco (Italy) – $2,500
3rd: Dario Doimo (Italy) – $2,000
4th: Miyuki Kamimura (Japan) – $2,000
5th: Nick Olliney (USA) – $1,500
6th: Steve Jarmuz (USA) – $1,500
7th: Eric Parker (USA) – $1,500
8th: Riccardo Mastramatteo (Italy) – $1,500
9th: Behnam Gerami (USA) – $1,000

Attend Your First Competition
If you’re interested in attending a flair competition, check the Flair Bartenders’ Association or the World Flair Association to find a professional competition near you. We’ll be writing a detailed list of upcoming spring/summer competitions next week, so be sure to subscribe to GenF alerts (enter your email address in the Subscription box at the top of this page). Even if you’ve never been to a flair competition before, but you’re curious, give it a try! Everyone is welcome and it’s an opportunity for you to watch the sport as its meant to be seen: LIVE!

DVD Review #2: Quest for the Best 2008

Our DVD review series continues by taking a more detailed look into the competitive flair scene. This month’s review is extremely appropriate on timing because we just returned from our trip to this year’s “Quest for the Best” flair bartending competition (Nov. 15-18). It’s the oldest, and also one of the last major competitions in the United States this year.

Although the main subject of this review is looking at last year’s Quest, we have many great memories from this year’s competition. Among them was the opportunity for Kacy to join Christian Delpech and Paul Nguyen as a co-host on FlairLive TV’s live coverage of the 2009 event. Not only was she able to interview all pro competitors right after they came off the finals stage, the unique opportunity allowed Generation Flair to achieve our mission of advocating flair bartending to even more fans. At the end of the night, while having breakfast with Oscar and Christian, we learned the event was viewed in 21 different countries and on over 1,600 unique computers. Oscar estimated that between 3-15 people were watching from each computer as its likely this was an event that was shared.

About Quest
Quest is the oldest flair bartending competition, beginning in 1991 at Pleasure Island in the Manquins Dance Palace. Although the format has gone through several changes over the years, it originally began as a contest to find the best bartender in Disney. Later, it expanded significantly to the rest of the world and quickly became a premier event. To this day, it is still one of the most complete tests of a flair bartender’s skill set. The event gives competitors the opportunity to compete in a speed round, an exhibition flair round, and a specialty round. You can learn more about what each one of these rounds entails by reading “Anatomy of a Flair Competition.”

What’s Special About The 2008 Quest DVD Set
Normally competition DVDs come in singles, but the 2008 Quest DVD set offers Amateur Qualifiers, Advanced Qualifiers, Pro Qualifiers and Pro Finalist disks. You’ll also find some funny shorts with Ben Rose and “McLovin” on the Special Features disk.
One of our favorites is the Team 437 Promo which gives a behind-the-scenes look into how this group gets down to business preparing for speed rounds. Dan Seitz is on record with a 0:53 unadjusted speed round time. The FlairBar.com Show, also hosted by Ben, is jam packed with fun and mayhem. Watch as he takes you on in-depth interviews with the judges and relives some of the many stories remembered, such as AC/DC, chocolate milk, pitchers of Mojitos, Shrek & Donkey and KY Jelly arm wrestling with Chris Cardone!

All fun aside, let’s also not overlook the four disks of insane flair bartending moves. Some of our favorites include Dario Doimo’s behind the back catch to a pour and Rodrigo Delpech’s 19 elbow bumps. You won’t be disappointed by Quest 2008 and the rest of the fantastic finalists:

Pro Finalists (In Order of Placing):
1. Danilo Oribe
2. Rodrigo Delpech
3. Eiji Narita
4. Dario Doimo
5. Rodrigo Cao
6. Oscar Perez
7. Behnam Gerami
8. Giovanni Doimo
9. Sean Story

Give the Gift of Quest

Filmed on location at The Groove Nightclub on City Walk in Orlando Florida and offering over $25,000 in cash and prizes, the Quest World Championships were an event not to be missed. However, if you weren’t able to make it this year, the 2008 DVD set is a great gift idea for the flair bartending fan in your family. Buy it from BarProducts.com, a major sponsor of the event each year.

World Flair Bartending Competitions: 2009 Fall Preview

With our launch of the first worldwide, comprehensive flair competition calendar, we thought it would be appropriate to outline what’s coming up in the flair bartending world this fall.

Upcoming Competitions
The biggest flair competitions to watch this fall are described below. For a full event list, be sure to visit our Master Flair Bartending Event Calendar.

roadhouse113x85Roadhouse – One of the World’s longest running flair competitions. Qualifying rounds happen on a monthly basis with the UK Final this month (Sunday, August 30). The Roadhouse Grand Final is by far the most exciting and held in London. Watch as over 200 flair bartenders from around the world come together to battle it out for £10,000.00 in prize money.

Quest_Logo_2006Quest – It all takes place at the Groove Nightclub in Orlando’s City Walk, November 11-15. Quest is the original international flair bartending competition in the U.S. The combination of almost 100 flair bartenders from around the world, incredibly fast speed rounds, wicked flair and priceless specialty rounds makes this flair competition a must-see event!

Danilo Oribe, professional flair bartender from Uruguay and Kahunaville flair bartender in Las Vegas said, “Two of the best competitions at the end of the year are Quest and Roadhouse. Quest is a classic, the first world comp, a lot of fun and is professionally done! Roadhouse is a classic as well, featuring 100% flair and more than 200 competitors throughout the year, culminating in a fantastic final in November!”

skyyGFClogoSKYY Global Flair Challenge – SKYY Vodka has been searching for the world’s hottest flair bartender using a unique competition format. The SKYY Challenge competition enters its third year, and has become one of the most sought-after titles for flair bartenders across the globe. The most talented bartenders from five continents and 14 countries will battle it out to see who will win the prestigious title, and a top prize of €6,000 in Shanghai, October 23-24.

ifl_logo_redIndependent Flair League (IFL) Final – One of the best spots on the prestigious WFA Grand Slam Tour, the IFL Final features three qualifying competitions in Krakow, Jastarnia, and Poznań. Find out which finalist will take the championship title in Warsaw, Poland this November.

pourwars photoPour Wars Bartender Challenge – at Hennessey’s Tavern in Pacific Beach, CA, is designed for working flair bartenders. It encourages working flair as an effective, positive form of entertainment while also including the valuable skills of accuracy and mixology. Three competitive rounds culminate in the December 8 final.

Who to Watch
With so many flair bartenders competing for top prize money this fall, we wanted to highlight those to watch, and those who might be on the verge of breaking through to the next level this year.

U.S. Competitions
The Flair Bartending Association has a “Pro” and “Advanced” tour with the largest competition at the end of the year being Quest. We talked with Mike McLean, professional flair judge and marketing director of Flairco.

“On the FBA Pro Tour, all of the big names should be in attendance at Quest, including Rodrigo Delpech, Dario Doimo, Danilo Oribe, Rodrigo Cao, Behnam Gerami, Paul Trzcianko and possibly Levi Donaldson,” predicted McLean. “The qualifying round at Quest is always incredibly close and the finals are amazing!”

Eric ParkerHe also mentioned the FBA Advanced Tour would be the place to watch a few up-and-comers. “There are a bunch of bartenders trying to chase down the points leader Eric Parker,” he said. “Some of the bartenders to watch include Damiano Carrara, Vahe Manoukian, Justin Crowe, Gustavo Hernandez, Dan Seitz and Josh Briggs.”

Colin Griffiths, Kahunaville flair bartender and flair promoter in Las Vegas added to the Advanced Tour predictions. “Eric Parker with his “silky smooth and clean” moves is definitely a contender to watch,” he said. “Parker will need to develop some signature moves to be a real contender on the pro scene, however.”

International Competitions
These include Roadhouse, SKYY Flair Global Challenge Final and the IFA Final.

Tomek MalekMarek Posluzny“The Double Hand Flair Ambassadors from Poland, a.k.a Tomek Malek and Marek Posluzny (shown left) have created some serious heat in Europe this summer with a couple of big wins,” Tug van den Bergh, professional judge and founding member of the World Flair Association, said. “They’re both uber technical and their moves make the crowd go ape!!”

“Let’s not also forget Marco Canova and Gianluigi Bosco, both doing some really cool stuff at the moment and probably the most consistent competitors on the scene,” van den Bergh said.

Then there are the usual suspects. He described competitors like Danilo Oribe from Uruguay, who always seems to be “on.” His fellow countryman, Juan Pablo Santiago, burst onto the European scene a couple of weeks ago and is most definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Griffiths, also added, “I’m running several comps the first week of November. So hopefully the who’s who will include some of the international flair giants like Tom Dyer, Sebastian Oquic, Tomek Malek, Marek Posluzny, Rafael Arce and, obviously, Rodrigo Delpech.”

Flair Bartending Websites to Visit
No matter which competitor you’re rooting for, there are several organizations and websites (beyond Generation Flair) that exist to promote flair bartending. Be sure to check the below sites every week to learn more about this fantastically exciting sport!

Delerium TV
FlairLive TV
FlarBar Magazine
Flair Bartending Associaion (FBA)
World Flair Association (WFA)
Hellenic Barmen Association (HBA)
Independent Flair League (IFL)
Chinese Flair Bartending
International Bartending Association (IBA)

Flair Bartending DVD Review: “Area 51”

area51If you’re not able to attend a competition, another way you can support flair bartending  is by watching flair DVDs. As part of our mission to educate the masses, we’ll be doing a monthly review of some of the best flair bartending DVDs available.

Most flair bartending DVDs are instructional or competition related. For our first monthly DVD review, we’re featuring a savory production that anyone will enjoy. “Area 51” not only showcases flair bartending at its finest, it gives a real look into the lives of six well-known flair bartenders in Las Vegas: Vache Manoukian, Dario Doimo, Tom Alley, Justin Keane, Behnam Gerami and Vladymyr Buryanov.

Area 51 DVD Trailer / Running time: 103 minutes

A Little Background
The Area 51 team began at the Legends 8 competition as Behnam, Vache, Tom and Justin. Since then, the group has grown to include Vladymyr and Dario who both moved to Las Vegas for (what else?!) flair.

Steve Rad, director, is most well known in the flair world for his work with Christian Delpech’s Working Flair Training Series. However, Rad’s company Infiltration Pictures has a little more history behind it. A graduate of Chapman University, with a BFA in Film/TV (emphasis in writing and directing), Rad won the “Marion Knott” award for Creative Direction in 2002. From twisted thrillers like “Exit Interview,” to mafia-based action films like “Loaded,” his raw and uncensored writing style has brought him to the forefront of screenwriters. Rad is currently working on the feature film “Guys,” that is scheduled to release sometime in 2010, a raw and untold story of how “guys really are.”

Rad’s passion for film definitely comes through in “Area 51” by giving these flair bartenders their much deserved spotlight. We can only imagine how entertaining it must have been to spend this amount of time shooting the best flair bartenders in Las Vegas.

Highlights
Overall, the DVD is organized into chapters by bartender. Each has his own segment of “at work,” “at home,” and “in the garage.” We won’t go into a ton of detail with this review and spoil all the secrets…instead, we’ll give you some highlights:

  • Vache showing off his $1,000 Valentino wallet and Barley the dog’s flair trick
  • Dario, the loveable Italian, only says one word on the entire DVD: “Ciao!” However, his flair speaks for itself.
  • Tom Alley’s personal putting green and his Madden cover story. His advice: “Don’t be on the cover!”
  • Justin Keane shows off his wine collection, “non-plasma” TV and the 15 other “ballerific” items in his house
  • Behnam’s commissioned artwork was neat, but we really loved the 12 name drops. He even sneaks in Kobe Bryant due to his fanaticism for the Lakers.
  • The vast array of trophies Vladymyr and Terri share is quite amazing. We’re disappointed Terri didn’t make the DVD, but Vlad certainly held his own in the garage.

Special Features
Select the “Pure Flair” option to play a looped video of only flair moves, rotating seamlessly from bartender to bartender. This might be especially useful for bars and/or featuring in the background at your next party!

What DVD is complete unless it has a bloopers reel? “Area 51” doesn’t disappoint. Our favorite “Gag Reel” moment was during Tom Alley’s Cribs feature when an unmentionable video was playing on his “really big plasma” TV. We also liked Vladymyr’s first explanation of his kitchen….probably just a language barrier, being pure Ukranian and all. 🙂

Finally, the original teaser and trailer are also options on the Special Features menu…just in case you missed them before purchasing this unique montage.

How to Get It
To purchase the “Area 51” DVD, visit www.barproducts.com. They’re a huge supporter of flair bartending, so tell them we said “hi.” And, after watching, we encourage you to come back and post your feedback in the comments section.

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.”

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