Chicago air guitar champion Shreddy Boop prepared to shred competition at national championship

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The U.S. Air Guitar Championships are coming up this weekend in Nashville, Tenn, and Chicago's regional champion has been honing her craft and her on-stage persona - Shreddy Boop - for the past 11 years.

"Air guitar gives me a chance to go out and do something that might be scary. And to show other people that they can do it too," said Athena 'Shreddy Boop' Kopsidas, Chicago's regional champion.

Although Kopsidas is actually a D.C. resident, U.S. Air Guitar rules allow competitors to participate in any regional competition. She was out of the country during the D.C. regional, so she was forced to shred in the Midwest.

"Everyone puts into it what their strengths are," Kopsidas said. "Some people are really physically amazing, and others are like you know comically great. And some are just super witty and, you know, have fantastic timing."

While the Shreddy persona is purely an air guitar champion, Kopsidas is a first-grade teacher at a Washington D.C. public school.

After attending an air guitar competition 12 years ago, she decided to begin planning and coordinating her performance. A signature part of her outfit is a traditional young Greek boy's folk dancing vest, which has been passed down through generations in her family.

"Initially I wanted a character that was kinda sweet, but also you know really rockin. So I came up with Shreddy Boop," Kopsidas said.

Despite tough competition from local favorites, Kopsidas melted faces and came away with the win.

With her regional win in hand, Shreddy Boop is preparing for the national championships in Nashville this Saturday, August 3.

The competition can be streamed live on Periscope through U.S. Air Guitar's Twitter account. And the winner will represent the U.S. in the world competition, held annually in Oulu, Finland, later this month.

For everyone planning to tune in, Kopsidas issued a warning.

"Your face might get melted off," Kopsidas said. "So be ready, I don't know, with a bib or a bucket. I'm not really sure what, but be prepared."
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