The Sideshow

Aspiring ‘Papas’ turn out for Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest

Contestants in 2011's Hemingway look-alike contest take part in a running of the bulls (fla-keys.com)

About 125 bearded men from across the world have descended on Key West, Florida, this week for the annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. The contest is focused on Hemingway's "Papa" phase during the later years of his life when he lived in Key West.

The contest is broken up into two preliminary rounds, held on Thursday and Friday. The winner is chosen on Saturday, July 21, which would have been Hemingway's 113th birthday.

Earlier this week, Richard Costello, 71, of Massachusetts, won a Facebook Hemingway look-alike contest, beating out 10 other finalists. He is also taking part in the main contest this week.

There are several other events being held as part of Key West's Hemingway Days, including a satirical running-of-the-bulls ceremony held on Saturday and an arm-wrestling contest between Papa contestants on Sunday.

Facebook Hemingway contest winner Richard Costello (fla-keys.com)

And if the look-alike contest itself weren't unusual enough, one of its aspiring entrants garnered some local attention for his commitment to participating.

Attorney Frank Louderback requested a day off from a federal murder trial in Tampa so that he could travel to Key West to participate in the contest.

However, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday wasn't about to reschedule the trial, referencing the famed author in his refusal: "Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty … Best of luck to counsel in next year's contest."

However, two men, including Louderback's client, plead guilty to the murder charge, freeing up the lawyer to participate in the contest.

"All is well in the world," a relieved Louderback told the Tampa Bay Times.