Thoughts from the Publisher | July 21

I’ve often been told that I need to “get a life.”

Most of my hours away from work are spent either attending local meetings or nonprofit events, running errands, loving up on my mom or sleeping.

Last week I not only got a life, I spent Thursday evening through Monday living it.

After work on Thursday, I got on a plane to Las Vegas, by myself, to spend several days enjoying what I call an Elvis extravaganza.

As the website elvisfestival.com describes, the program included three daytime performances of 24 Elvis tribute artists (ETAs) competing for a $5,000 prize as well as three evening headline shows that the promoter promised would take us on a three-night journey through Elvis’s music career from the ‘50s to late ‘70s. The headline shows culminated Sunday night with a tribute to Elvis’s legendary return to live performances at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas.

Those shows starred four Images of the King World Champions, including Ryan Pelton, Ben Portsmouth, Dwight Icenhower and Ted Torres along with two amazing ETA entertainers, Dean Z and Cody Ray Slaughter. All of those shows were backed up by the Change of Habit tribute band.

During the daytime competitions, those entered showed off their vocal skills, costumes (including some pretty darn fabulous jumpsuits), charisma, physical movements and basic resemblances to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. By the time the winner was announced (Tim Hendry from Ontario, Canada), we audience members were worn out; after all we had been All Shook Up for three days and three nights. One of my favorite ETA competitors, Jacob Roman, a young man from Glendale, California, did win as the fan favorite. His tribute to the beginning of Elvis’s career is absolutely spot-on.

Photo by Rosa Montano
Eight of the 24 ETA competitors gather for a group picture. Winner, Tim Hendry, is second from right.

Besides the daytime competitions and the evening headline shows, many of us also got together for spontaneous after-hour entertainment in the very intimate Roxy’s Lounge. Those performing did so casually without costumes and makeup and included some of the competing ETAs as well as many of the headliners who wowed us every evening.

Once I arrived, I didn’t leave the premises until I headed for home Monday afternoon. I am still recovering. Several days of running back and forth between the showroom, Roxy’s Lounge, my hotel room and the various bars and restaurants definitely took its toll on me. Oh, I also visited the vendor room where we met a few of Elvis’s friends, and Cynthia Pepper– one of Elvis’s co-stars in the movie Kissin’ Cousins. She is such a lovely gal.

Now that I am home, I am already planning for my 2018 Elvis Extravaganza. I plan to lose 50 pounds and get in better physical shape. I will need the stamina.

I give a big thank-you to my pals Carmen and Kevin Wick for inspiring me to join them on this voyage, and big hugs and kisses to Shari and Cliff Ham for allowing me to buddy up with them as a third wheel. Last, but not least, I thank my hubby Steve for understanding my love for Elvis, and for encouraging me to get a life. This experience is second only to my days of seeing the real King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the one and only Elvis Presley, in concert. My memories of those 40-plus concerts will forever be precious to me. I am one lucky gal.

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