The 6th Annual Elvis Rocks Mesquite Tribute Artist Competition was held at the CasaBlanca showroom on June 19 and 20, 2015. The competition began on June 19 with sixteen contestants who came from as far away as Ontario, Canada as was the case for the Elvis Tribute Artist Bruce Andrew Stewart who took fourth place overall and was the winner of the 2015 “Marlene Peters Fan Favorite Award”. The award comes from the family of one of the competition’s very loyal attendees who passed away in November 2013.
Many of the tribute artists come from Las Vegas where some of them enjoy the benefits of earning a living paying tribute to the King such as Tyler James, the winner of both the 60’s and 70’s preliminary rounds and the overall 1st place winner of this year’s competition. James took home a trophy and $3000 for the win.
James has been performing since he was 15, about 12 years. When James was 25 he entered the ultimate Elvis Contest and was approached by an entertainment director; seven months later he had his own show on Fremont Street and has enjoyed performing Elvis ever since. James entered the Elvis Rocks Mesquite Competition for the first time last year and took sixth place.
Dave Hoover took home the trophy and $2000 for second place this year. Hoover enjoys a career performing not only Elvis but as Tim McGraw as well. Hoover has been a long time performer with the show Roadhouse which is produced by Mesquite local Gino Venezia. Hoover, a former marine, took nearly 20 years to realize his dream of professionally paying tribute to the stars. He credits Saturday’s success to his ideal of always portraying the King of Rock-n-Roll as he feels Elvis should be portrayed, “from the heart.”
Taking third place was Gassad “James King” Haddad who has been performing Elvis since he was a very young child. Bruce Andrew Stewart, who has been a top 3 contender in many competitions and was the Grand Champion in Niagara Falls, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec, took fourth place.
Joining this year’s event and making it to the semi-finals was Mesquite’s own Claude “Doc Elvis” Nielsen. He has performed in every Elvis Rocks Mesquite event s since it began six years ago. Nielsen was the oldest tribute artist in this competition and having been born only 34 days after Elvis, is actually the same age as the King of Rock-n-Roll would be today.
Hosting this year’s event was Corrie Sachs who enjoys a successful career in T.V., on stage and on the Radio. Sachs was named 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Las Vegas Singer of the Year and was inducted into the Las Vegas Fans Entertainment Hall of Fame. Sachs is also a guest star in the Roadhouse Show where she performs as a Reba McEntire tribute artist. She currently appears weekly as a co-host in the 15 year long running Dennis Bono Radio Show at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Elvis Rocks Mesquite competition has been extremely successful in the past six years at the CasaBlanca and Krissy Ayon, the Entertainment Director for the CasaBlanca, is thrilled by the public response to this annual event. Ayon is so thrilled by the success of the event that she is hard at work doing what is necessary to have this event sanctioned to become an official preliminary event which will allow the winner qualify for a spot in the Ultimate Elvis Contest which is held annually in Graceland, Tenn., the home of Elvis Presley.