Zero Gravity Competitor Interviews – Omaha’s 2010 Flair Competition

We met with Josh Briggs of Bar Entertainment Specialists, Chris Bridges and a few others at the recent Zero Gravity flair bartending competition in Omaha, Nebraska this month.

Below are the video interviews from that trip. We loved what each flair bartender had to say about flair bartending as a sport and its potential for growth.

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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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