WESTFIELD – The Reflections of The King Elvis competition and St. Jude’s Research Hospital fund-raiser had an international flavor to it this weekend as several Canadians and one Australian took part in the 14th annual event. The two-day event, held at the Westfield Moose, raised $4,400 for St. Jude’s.
This year’s grand champion is Sylvain Leduc of Quebec, Canada. Leduc took the lead the first evening and padded his lead the in his final Saturday afternoon.
Steve Hunt, of East Pointe, Mich., who finished third last year, was in third after the first round Friday evening, but his closing set propelled him into second place for the event.
Patrick Balleux, of Quebec, Canada, had a powerful performance Friday and was in second place. He finished third in the event.
Finishing fourth this year was Rudy Elvis of Canvas, W. Va. He also won the Fan Favorite Award.
In fifth was Gordie McNeil of Fort Erie, Canada.
Ben King, of Perth, Western Australia, won the Spirit Award after travelling 13,000 miles, 38 hours by airplane, to compete. This was his first competition.
“I am very excited to have been a part of Reflections of the King 2018,” King told WNYNewsNow. “It was a wonderful event and for such a great cause like St Jude’s in Memphis, Tennessee. I am also very proud to be this year’s recipient of the Spirit of the King award.”
There were 14 competitors and several “legend” performers who offered a range of tributes from Dean Martin to Ricky Nelson, Ronnie Milsap and Johnny Cash.
The event was emceed by Sterling Pollaro, who was at one time ranked first in the United States and second in the world as an Elvis Tribute Artist.
Hunt said Reflections is unlike any other competition in which he has participated.
“(It’s) unlike any other competition, you’re not a competitor, you’re family,” he said.
“(It’s) the only Elvis event with the “what if ” category. Great people, fans, organizers and a great cause.” Hunt, who been an ETA for 16 years, has won the Spirit Award at Reflections, the Alex Cashman Awards, placed third last year and second this year.
The “what if” category has ETAs sing a song Elvis never performed, but sing it in Elvis’ style.
Judges said each performer who was in the event last year, did better this year. They also noted that all 14 performers improved their scores Saturday as compared with Friday’s sets.