tribute artist, Irv Cass, special guest at Elvis Explosion
competition and convention
Source: La Crosse Tribune, by Autumn Grooms)
the plural of 'Elvis' is 'Elvi'.
impersonators were one group Irv Cass knew people
made fun of. But he also knew good tribute artists
make a good living and get to see the world.
- Irv and Australia's Sanja Meegin)
positives outweighed the negatives and for the past 14 years,
he has done Elvis full-time, working nearly every weekend
and traveling around the world. "I said, 'The hell with
it. If they don't like it, tough.' I have heavy shoulders,"
Cass said at the La Crosse Center as a steady stream of
men with perfect jet black hair walked past.
seldom do I have problems. There are jokes in good humor
and good taste, and just a handful get (mean). They're just
jealous," he said with a slight lip curl.
is among more than 30 Elvis impersonators from around the
world who have invaded La Crosse for the Elvis Explosion,
a convention, competition and benefit. For the competition,
a panel of judges will judge who is the best Elvis illusionist,
and the winner will be waived into the world championship
of Elvis impersonators, Images of Elvis, in Memphis, Tenn.
and Rick Saucedo are not competing at Elvis Explosion.
special guests, and Cass will headline today's show. The
La Crosse Elvis Explosion is one of the larger competitions
and is by invitation only, said Ronny Craig, master of ceremonies
auditioned more than 100 Elvi and trimmed them down to the
best Elvi and the most entertaining. Some have the voice,
some have the look. I go for the total package - look, voice,
mannerisms and over all appearance on stage," he said. Of
the entertainers and competitors at the Explosion, Craig
said about half are full-time impersonators and the other
half moonlight as Elvis.
got his start, like many do, entering an Elvis contest,
like the Elvis Explosion, for fun. "It has been a fun fluke,"
he said. Craig said karaoke has played a roll in getting
people into Elvis impersonation.
it takes is for one person to say you sound like Elvis and
before your know it you're coloring your hair black, growing
sideburns and buying jumpsuits," he said. When interested
in making a living, Cass said effort needs to be put into
the look, mannerisms, voice and moves.
have to have the total package." Cass keeps himself separate
from his show and if seen early Saturday, he would be wearing
a baseball cap, covering up his Elvis persona.
matter how good you are, you're not Elvis. There is only
one," Cass said.
I want is for people to come out to the show and afterwards
say that was a great show, or that brought back memories,
or we'll be back. That is all I want to hear," he said.