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US mimics take 2 top spots in air guitar contest

Olavi Uusivirta from Finland performs before the 2012 Air Guitar World Championshps in Oulu, Finland on Friday Aug. 24, 2012. (AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Martti Kainulainen) FINLAND OUTOlavi Uusivirta from Finland performs before the 2012 Air Guitar World Championshps in Oulu, Finland on Friday Aug. 24, 2012. (AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Martti Kainulainen) FINLAND OUT

HELSINKI (AP) — Shaggy bearded "Nordic Thunder" has outmimed his American compatriot "Airistotle" at playing the air guitar to become this year's world champion in northern Finland.

Justin Howard from Chicago narrowly beat Matt Burns of New York late Friday in the final of the international contest that has been held in the northern Finnish city of Oulu since 1996.

Dutchman Theun de Jong finished third in the field of 18 finalists that included competitors from Japan, Britain, Russia, Czech Republic and neighboring Estonia.

The 17th Air Guitar World Championship is one of several zany annual events in Finland, which include an international cellphone throwing contest, wife carrying and swamp football.

USA' s Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard performs at the 2012 Air Guitar World Championshps in Oulu, Finland on Friday Aug. 24, 2012. (AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Martti Kainulainen FINLAND OUTUSA' s Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard performs at the 2012 Air Guitar World Championshps in Oulu, Finland on Friday Aug. 24, 2012. (AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Martti Kainulainen FINLAND OUT

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