Jose Cuervo and Air Guitar: A Match Made in Heaven?

For those about to virtually rock, Jose Cuervo salutes you.

Jose Cuervo tequila has announced it will be title sponsor of what will be called the 2008 Jose Cuervo Black US Air Guitar Championships.

The sponsorship includes 21 regional competitions, in which instrument-free participants will be scored by a panel of judges who will rank those who wield their imaginary instruments like the real thing. Cuervo has been charged with growing the competition’s participation.

“US Air Guitar is thrilled to be working with Jose Cuervo, and they’re already helping us take the event to more cities, more fans and more performers, but with even fewer guitars,” said Kriston Rucker, co-commissioner of US Air Guitar, in a statement. “Like us, they see beauty in the madness of competitive air guitar and will bring a whole new level of attention to the event and its star performers.”

Contestants are first judged on the performance of a song of their choosing and the top competitors are then corralled to face off on a surprise track performance. Winners from each of the 21 cities on the tour will be sent to San Francisco for the finals competition in early August.

“Jose Cuervo Black is a product that breaks the mold in the tequila category,” said Toby Whitmoyer, brand director of Jose Cuervo, which is distributed and marketed by Diageo, New York, in a statement. “In the same sense, air guitarists transcend the boundaries of typical musicians and are able to create an art form unique and exciting to each competitor.”

The push comes as air guitar has emerged as a wildly successful pastime, in part because of the Guitar Hero videogames by Red Octane, which simulate playing with a guitar-shaped peripheral. In January, Red Octane launched a sequel called Guitar Hero Air Rocker.