Happy March everyone! This month I wanted to share with you my personal review of an Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Now as many of you know, contests sometimes have a bad name.....but this one was totally different. Read on to find out what made the CSRA Elvis Tribute Artist Contest different from others...
The weekend started out with our 3 hour trip to Augusta, GA. Arik Christopher was competeing, but he was slated to perform on Saturday. We went Friday night to check out the rest of the compeition and have a good time. After finding our hotel we made our way to the VFW post on Gunn Club Road. Once inside, we reaquainted with old friends, and Arik met some other ETAs.
The contest would feature 11 contestants on Friday night, with 6 finalists chosen at the end. The contestants that competed Friday, in proper order were: Danny Dale, Randy Deal, Michael Viljac, Jason Sikes, Rick Lenzi, Paul Daniels, Michael Ratcliff, Russell Schneider, Christopher Goss, Owen Roberts and Damon Hendrix. Each contestant gave it their all and did the best they felt they possibly could. At the end of the night, while tallying the scores we were treated to some other entertainers. A few country singers, and even Danny Haywood the contest organizer himself sang us a few! The totals were in the 6 finalists advancing to Saturday nights finals were: Rick Lenzi, Jason Sikes, Michael Viljac, Russell Schneider, Randy Deal and Christopher Goss. Those six would join the next six on Saturday evening to compete for the title. :)
Before I tell you about Saturday afternoons prelim round, I want to stop and tell you what exactly made this contest so special. The atmosphere in that VFW, both days, was one of friendly competition. There were no walking egos, no evil glares, just a bunch of ETAs talking to each other, laughing with one another, offering each other help and advice, and having a good time. One ETA, Lil' D from Kentucky, was gracious enough to offer Arik Christopher from Atlanta to borrow his Gold Lame' jacket, even the shirt off his back to wear underneath it. This contest showed me the brotherhood that the Elvis Tribute Artist World should have. Contestants taking the time to talk with other contestants and developing new friendships. Seeing all of this made me one happy Elvis and Elvis Tribute Artist fan. :)
Saturday morning there was a luncheon at Famous Dave's BBQ for any contestants or fans that wanted to attend. Due to the bad weather, we missed this event. I'm sure it was a great one though! 1:00 found us arriving at the VFW for Saturday's contestants to draw their numbers. The show then started at 2:00. Saturday afternoon's contestants were: Todd C. Martin, Rick Wade, Arik Christopher, David Lee, Mark Woodward, Jeff Barnes, Matthew Spalding, Lil' D, Danny Sterling, Bobby Wylds, Paul Daniels, Randy Stephens, and Elvis Allyn. Each contestant again gave 100% effort to make it to the final round of competiton. After the scores were tallied, we were informed the 6 finalists moving on to that evenings final round were: Arik Christopher, David Lee, Matthew Spalding, Todd C. Martin, Jeff Barnes and Elvis Allyn. The contestants then joined Friday night's 6 and drew numbers for order of appearance for Saturday night. During the break between the afternoon session and evening session we were given a chance to go get dinner and take care of anything else we needed to, and be back at the VFW for an 8:00 show time.
Saturday evening the VFW was packed once again, with Elvis fans eager to find out who would walk away with the title of 6th Annual CSRA champ. Each contestant Saturday night had won over the scores of the judges to move on to the finals and have one more chance at proving what they were made of. The order of contestants Saturday night was: Russell Schneider, Jeff Barnes, Elvis Allyn, Jason Sikes, Christopher Goss, Michael Viljac, Todd C. Martin, Arik Christopher, Rick Lenzi, Matthew Spalding, Randy Deal and David Lee. After all was said and done, 1st place was awarded to David Lee of Birmingham, AL. Followed by: 2nd- Rick Lenzi, 3rd- Jason Sikes, 4th- Todd C. Martin and 5th- Randy Deal.
The weekend was one of new friends, old friends, and a lot of fun. I want to tip my hat to Danny Haywood for running one of the best events I've ever been to. He really runs a fair game, and we all had a great time! We'll be attending next year, and the rest of you should think about doing so also!