One Hound Dog Has His Day

Elvis impersonator from Illinois takes home a King’s ransom

Las Vegas sees its fair share of Elvis impersonators in rhinestone jumpsuits. But Springfield, Illinois, was filled to capacity with blue suede shoes on Saturday night.

The Hilton Springfield hosted the 13th annual Midwest Tribute to the King Competition, attracting competitors from Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

"I started this event as a way to particularly satisfy my own ego," creator Fred Puglia told the State Journal-Register. "I went to the national competition in Memphis, and I thought it was so poorly run that I wanted to do one to pay homage to Elvis and to these wonderful competitors, these wonderful young men who do Elvis Presley."

And while seeing all those snarled lips and mutton chops brings a smirk to many audiences' faces, these King celebrators take their task very seriously.

Contestant Fred Kruse from Florissant, Missouri, said getting the right costume is only part of the challenge.

"You've got to get your costume ready, work on his moves, and get the voice down, and if you can put all that together and even come close, then you can really pull it off."

Bill Cherry, of Collinsville, Illinois, was crowned the King of the impersonators and took home $3200.

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