KEY WEST (CBSMiami/Florida Keys News Bureau) – After six tries, Wally Collins of Phoenix, Arizona finally won the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest on Key West.
The 68-year-old white-bearded restaurateur won contest that is the highlight of the annual Hemingway Days celebration.
Collins’ oldest son Matt Collins was also a competitor among the more than 130 entrants.
The annual Hemingway Days festivities salute Ernest Hemingway, the literary giant who lived and wrote in Key West during the 1930s.
“I didn’t have as many wives as he had, and I have a hell of a lot more children and grandchildren, but there are a lot of things that he stood for that I really like,” said Collins following his victory.
Collins said he particularly admires the author’s ideals and spirit.
“Ernest Hemingway was adventurous,” he said. “And in our family, we have a family motto: Life is a pizza. Order the one with everything on it.”
Past winners judged the contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar.
Saturday night’s contestants included Michael Groover of Savannah, Ga., the husband of celebrity chef Paula Deen.
During his Key West years, Ernest Hemingway wrote classics including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Death in the Afternoon” and “To Have and Have Not.”
Hemingway Days events included an offbeat “Running of the Bulls” with look-alikes pushing manmade bulls on Key West streets, literary readings, a marlin tournament and a short story competition directed by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.