2004 Winner: John Stubbings
I was in Key West in March of 1997 helping a good friend celebrate his 60th birthday. We were at Hog’s Breath during Spring Break week and had consumed way too much malt beverage when we ran into a guy with a white beard. I had grown a beard while on vacation in Spain the previous summer, and it turned out to be white, so I complimented the guy on his beard. He thanked me and said I should enter the Ernest Hemingway Look Alike contest. That was Jack Waterbury, the 1987 winner.
So I went home to North Carolina, did some research, and entered the contest for the first time that July. Like so many guys, the first year was a big flop. But I learned the ropes and made many new friends year after year. It’s very much like a college fraternity, where the judges are the fraternity. There are 125-150 guys trying to get into that fraternity each year, but instead of taking 30-40 guys, they only take one each year. It’s kind of an exclusive fraternity!
Here is my advice for wannabees: You can’t want it so badly that it shows. I was more relaxed in 2004 than ever before. My attitude was, if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. This was the first time I had this approach, and it worked!
When your name is called, you get this strange sensation, and a big sigh of relief comes over you. I don’t know if there is anything that can duplicate the feeling.