July 23, 2006

Texan wins Hemingway look-alike

By Laura L. Myers

KEY WEST, Florida (Reuters) - A Texas commercial real
estate developer won Florida's annual Ernest Hemingway
look-alike competition, rocking the house at Sloppy Joe's, the
writer's favorite Key West drinking hole, with new lyrics to an
American country crooner's tune.

Chris Storm, 55, president of Sable Realty Inc. in
Amarillo, Texas, credited business acumen, his looks and a
takeoff on the Johnny Cash song "Folsom Prison Blues" with his
win on Saturday.

"If I don't win this contest, we're going home in tears"
and "Time to tell these other boys this deal's already done,"
sang Storm, with bushy silver eyebrows, white hair and a
Hemingway-like beard.

The 26th Hemingway Days Festival, which ended on Sunday
with an arm-wrestling contest in Key West at the tip of the
Florida Keys, celebrated the July 21 birthday of the Nobel
Prize-winner, born 107 years ago.

Surrounded by an exhilarated 37-member family, Storm won
the annual look-alike contest attired in khaki trousers, brown
boots and a hunting vest sporting five large-caliber bullets.
He also addressed the crowd in Swahili.

A fifth-year contestant, Storm said his favorite Hemingway
novel was "The Old Man and The Sea," written in 1952. He
described Hemingway as "a very complicated individual."

Hemingway was known as a hard-drinking womanizer and war
hero who loved outdoor adventure and found virtue in big-game
hunting and bullfighting.

Other look-alike hopefuls included second-time contestant
Vladimir Malikov, 68, a pensioner from Almaty, Kazakhstan, who
said through a translator that he sold his car to travel to Key
West via Amsterdam, New York, Memphis, Tennessee and Miami.

Joining the crowd was Richard Steel Hemingway, 45, a tool
maker from Davison, Michigan, who said his mother told him on
her deathbed he was Ernest's son and was born five days before
the storied U.S. writer committed suicide in 1961.

Recent DNA testing with a Hemingway family member "is a
private matter," Steel Hemingway told Reuters.

In a literary highlight, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story
Competition was won by Beth McMurray, 25, a graduate student
from San Mateo, California, who netted $1,000 for her story,
"Mascot," about a young girl's emotionally adrift parents.

Another Hemingway Festival -- a new one -- is due to be
held in Bimini, Bahamas, in August.