Look-Alike Wins Hemingway Contest on 8th Try

Man credits sweater with the win

By Carlos Miller
|  Sunday, Jul 26, 2009  |  Updated 8:21 PM EDT
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Past winners of the "Papa" Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike contest judged this year's contestants at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West.

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Ernest Hemingway is probably the only writer who has just as many fans who have never read his books as who have them.

Renowned for his hunting excursions, bullfighting sessions, globe-trotting jaunts and deep-sea fishing expeditions, the man is a legend aside from the multitude of critically acclaimed novels he wrote during his lifetime.

That is why more than 100 white-bearded men descended upon Key West this week to partake in the annual Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.

A hard-drinking, brash-talking, risk-taking white-bearded writer who left a string of bottles and wive in his wake, it is no wonder so many men want to be like him, even if they can’t tell a verb from a noun.

This time, 55-year-old Texan David Douglas walked away with the honor.

Douglas beat 139 other look-alikes in the contest, one of the highlights of a six-day annual festival honoring the late Nobel prize-winning author who once lived in Key West.

Dressed in a wool fisherman's turtleneck sweater despite 90-degree temperatures, Douglas celebrated Saturday night at Sloppy Joe's Bar, the author's favorite watering hole.

Douglas' attire emulated Hemingway's appearance in a famous 1957 photograph by Yousuf Karsh.

"It's very possible the sweater did it," said a perspiring Douglas of his victory. "It's about 120 (degrees) inside the sweater, but it's worth it."

Douglas won the competition on his eighth attempt after originally entering on a dare.

The mechanical contractor said he shares Hemingway's fondness for fishing and cocktails, but has no literary aspirations.

"I haven't written any books, but I'm good writing checks and text messaging," Douglas said.

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