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Boot Camp Competition Training Program


The Flairco Boot Camp is a unique training program designed to teach Amateur and Advanced competitive flair bartenders how to prepare and train.  Using the knowledge and experience of instructors Dean Serneels from Flairco and Levi Donaldson from Flairshowcase.com, the successful boot camp applicants learn how to breakdown the scoring system, understand the rules, practice their techniques and choreograph an entertaining routine.

Dean Serneels

Levi Donaldson

Legends & Quest Boot Camp

Building on the phenomenal success of our original Quest Boot Camp, we are proud to announce that we will be adding the Legends Boot Camp to our program list.  The annual Legends of Bartending competition will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada and is the most technical bartending competition in the world.

Dean and Levi are looking for up and coming Advanced and Professional flair bartenders interested in learning how to compete with the best of the best.  The dates will be determined based on availability and schedules of the participants.  Spaces are limited, so if you are interested in applying for the Legends Boot Camp, please email us at bootcamp@flairco.com.

Quest Boot Camp Report

Congratulations to all of the Quest Boot Camp graduates.  What a great team.  Everyone stuck together, supported each other, learned from everyone and grew together.  An incredible experience for everyone, from the advance missions to three days of intense training, to hanging out in Karl’s bar the first night in Orlando, to flying home exhausted just five days later.  Three of the Amateur division Boot Camp grads first learned to flair in our June Arts & Sciences program.  All of the bartenders involved, both graduates and instructors alike, have their own memories and success stories from this event.

Below is a summary of the 2007 Quest Boot Camp.

1.  Corporal Mike “Spills” Mills

Quest 2007 Finish - 8th place Advanced Division
Bartending for two years
Flair Bartending for two years

Where do you work?
Jethro's Bar & Grill
Altoona, Pennsylvania

What mistakes did you make at this competition?
- One word. SPILLS!!!!!
- Not enough preparation.
- I didn't have any good original moves.
- Did I mention the spills thing?
- I'll leave the rest to Dean... and Levi...

What did you learn from each mistake?
Well the thing I need to improve on the most obviously is my lack of clean cuts.  If I can correct this problem, I'll have an easier time making the finals next year and any other comps along the way.  I also learned how hard it really is to gain those precious originality points.  This winter, I'll be picking my brain trying to come up with stuff never attempted or conceived to progress my skills as a competitor.

Favourite Memory from Quest 2007?
The whole trip seems like a big blur, but the thing that I'll never be able to forget is the camaraderie of my fellow boot camp bros.  Watching everybody progress in the last two months to perform on the Quest stage has given me new perspective on our treasured sport.  It's not about being the best year in year out.  It's about progression and taking ourselves to the next level.

2.  Corporal Shane “Papa” Roach
Quest 2007 Finish- 16th place Advanced Division

Bartending for twelve years
Flair Bartending for two years

Where do you work?
Quench Bar - Casino Niagara
Niagara Falls, Ontario

How did you get into flair?
I heard there was a flair bartender in the area and I wanted to watch him work. It turns out the guy was Dean Serneels. Since then we have trained for two Quests and Blue Blazer 2005 together. Looking forward to training for more.

What mistakes did you make at this competition?

- Dropped my opener in speed round
- Should have practiced more
- Didn't realize the level of competition one step up
- Dug my 'set' ice scoop in speed round then had to reset so it cost me time
- Dropped my full tin with my behind the head catch (100%)-not anymore.

What did you learn from each mistake?
Each mistake was caused by lack of focus at the time. It seems like I lacked focus on the things that I don’t have trouble on normally.

Favourite Memory from Quest 2007?
Remembering to pick up my opener at the end of my speed round and watching Dale getting his eyebrows waxed.

Favourite non Boot Camp competitor?
Micah Dew - top Canadian and 1st place Advanced Division

3.  Private Joey “Tuft” Stepp
Quest 2007 Finish – 2nd place Amateur Division
Bartending for five years
Flair Bartending for five years

Where do you work?
Huntington, WV: Ready to relocate anytime, after this semester. Open to offers.

What mistakes did you make at this competition?
- Got drunk with "that guy at Quest".  But that’s not the mistake.  Not knowing who to say I’m sorry to the next day is the real mistake.
- Let Dale get the best of me in a fight in our room for fun. Why did I think I could take him while eating a sandwich?
- Starting talking to Dean about a tandem magic flair shows, now my brain won't stop thinking about it.
- Not showing up on time and getting to go to Karl’s bar
- Not planning on staying Thursday to hang with everyone

Favourite Memory from Quest 2007?
When we were all on the back stage, I was away from the pack.  But I saw a hot girl standing beside Dale, and thinking to myself, come on Dale, you have been made over, make a move.  Then with everything going on, I see Dale bouncing his head to the beat of the music then move in to say “hey” to a girl.  She smiled and he smiled, and I was the most excited I have been for someone in a while.  I love that kid.

Favourite thing you learned?
That a group of strangers, that are only going to be together for around seven to ten days, can become so close and pull so hard for each other.  This isn't like a sports team, because those people stay together for years.  Boot Camp was four days, and Quest was another four days.  Now I have lifelong friendships in every one of those guys... and Dean. Wow.

One thing you learned about yourself that you may like to change?
Not learned but I have known that I am out of shape, and seeing Dean on a video of Blue Blazer really gave me the motivation that I need to get my butt in shape. And now with the job offers that I have received I know that if I’m going to be in a city like Las Vegas or somewhere else I need to look like Karl in his "designer underwear".  Okay, maybe not that good.

4.  Private Karl “Karlmel” Anderson
Quest 2007 Finish – 8th place Amateur Division (5th place in Flair Round)
Bartending for one year
Flair Bartending for four months (Graduate of Flairco Arts & Sciences Program)

Where do you work?
Savoy Orlando
Orlando, Florida

How did you get started in Flair?
Started learning flair at Flairco's Arts and Sciences Program this past June as I wanted to get more out of bartending.

What mistakes did you make at this competition and what did you learn from them?
- I did not practice the speed rounds enough. I learned that I need to practice them even more and begin practicing sooner.
- I did not warm up before I went on for my flair. I learned I need to show up and focus on myself and warming up whenever I have the chance. I though I would have the time in between speed and flair. Next time I will assume nothing.
- I did not stay in the hotel with everyone else. I learned that I need to do that next time.
- I should not have worked the Saturday before. I would have like to have been more fresh for Sunday-- both to practice and to hang with the gang.
- I should have trusted myself just a little bit more and made my flair routine just a little more challenging.

What was your favourite thing learned at Quest?
There is so much I want to learn and I can already do more than I ever thought I could. I am more confident behind the bar at work.

Favorite other competitor?
Shane Roach. I like his style. (Tom Alley is a close second -- he's so HOT!!)

5.  Private "Baggins" - Troy Dowhaniuk

Quest 2007 Finish - 13th place in Amateur Division

Bartending for six months
Flair Bartending for four months (Graduate of Flairco Arts & Sciences Program)

What mistakes did you make at this competition?
- I had a brain fart when I was doing my speed round.
- I learned that its going to take MORE practice to be number one!
- I learned that everyone has a different way of preparing for the stage.
- I had a drunken bar spoon sword fight with Dean. I learned that Dean fights dirty,

Favourite Memory from Quest 2007?
My favorite memory is when I actually walked up on stage, with my bar in front of me, and looked out and saw everyone looking at me.  I remember thinking "wow it’s actually happening, all my preparation comes down to this".  I don’t remember my entire round. Then after, hearing the applause, and knowing that I EARNED it.  That’s my favorite memory, my first five minutes of fame.

What was your favourite thing learned at Quest?
There is bartending, flair bartending, and competitive flair bartending.  The world of competitive flair bartending is amazing.  EVERYONE in the world that wasn’t there, missed out.  There was no other place I would rather have been.  I learned that the stage is awesome! You can’t get that feeling anywhere else.  I learned that I have a long road ahead of me in my bartending career, and I’m looking forward to every minute of it.

6.  Private “P Slip” Dale Kerpan
Quest 2007 Finish – 27th place Amateur Division

Bartending for one and a half six months
Flair Bartending for four months (Graduate of Flairco Arts & Sciences Program)

How did you get started with flair?
I was always interested in learning how to become a flair bartender.  I enjoy being both the host and entertainer - flair bartending allows me to accomplish both.  I was talking with my mom about how I wanted to buy Dean’s DVDs and teach myself some basic flair.  I saw on the site that he was teaching a class in Niagara Falls in a week.  I told my mom that I would love to go to a course of his someday and she replied with “Why not go to this one?”  Surprisingly enough the though of actually attending his class the next week hadn’t really occurred to me since I was busy working two jobs at the time, but two hours later I had gotten all of my five shifts covered and was ready to go to Niagara Falls and have the best time of my life.

What mistakes did you make at this competition?
- Not putting a straw in my Finest Call Special. Make your routine a bit less than the time limit so if you mess up your routine on stage you still have a bit of extra time to finish your drinks.
- Calling Dean “Grandfather Flair” instead of “Godfather Flair” like I had originally intended.
- Forgetting to concentrate on my pours and cuts while I was flairing.
- Grabbing Levi’s ass.
- Being all nerves and just wanting my flair show to be over.

Favourite non Boot Camp competitor?
Chris Burke from New York.  He shows up to every comp and comes in last place but he doesn’t mind, he is just happy to be a part of the flair community.

Favourite thing you learned from Quest?
My favorite thing I learned was how to properly prepare and practice for a competition and exactly what to expect. Now that I know what to expect, I will be a lot less nervous, be able to have a lot more fun, and do a lot better in the next competition.
I also liked learning to channel my nervousness into excitement. That was extremely helpful for my overall performance.

One thing about yourself that did change because of the experience?
A whole new attitude and confidence level not just in flair but in life. I know it sounds cheesy as hell but after “Karl Eye for the Flair Guy” and all the life lessons Dean had to offer I returned to Toronto and people kept saying that I looked good and that there was something different about me.