Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s husband won the 38th annual Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest in Key West over the weekend.
But it took more than a snowy-white beard and a stocky frame to beat out 150 competitors during Saturday night’s final round.
Michael Groover, a harbor pilot from Savannah, said persistence was the key to victory as this year marked his ninth attempt to win the prize.
“Everybody here really has to pay their dues and I did,” Groover said after his win, according to the Florida Keys News Bureau.
The contest is only one event during the annual Hemingway Days celebration, which salutes the American literary giant and avid sportsman who lived and wrote in Key West during the 1930s.
Saturday was the 119th anniversary of Hemingway’s birth.
“I feel a kinship, because I love fishing and hunting,” said Groover, who has written a book himself called My Delicious Life with Paula Deen.
“It didn’t sell like Ernest’s books,” Groover said.
Deen was in Key West with her husband to cheer him on.
“I saw that he was so passionate about it and he wanted to do this,” Deen said.
Hemingway look-alikes from as far away as Australia and Norway competed in the three-night competition.
Finalists included Matthew Collins of Phoenix, who portrayed a dark-haired young Hemingway without the characteristic beard of his later years.
During his Key West years, Hemingway wrote classics including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not.”