Mesquite Gaming is synonymous with the word entertainment in Mesquite. When it comes to bringing in quality stuff, there simply isn’t any competition… unless you’re talking about Elvis Tribute Artists; now there’s a competition that is also synonymous with Mesquite Gaming.
The showroom was sold out for the Ninth Annual Elvis Rocks Mesquite Finals Competition on Saturday, June 23 and Elvis was in the house; everywhere. The pseudo Kings of Rock-n-Roll were ready and waiting to get their rock-n-roll on. Competition was fierce across all three eras, the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. There was a diverse age range among entertainers, including a 73-year-old great grandmother and the world’s oldest Elvis tribute artist, Doc Elvis, a local who, at 83-years-old, just had back surgery the week prior but couldn’t let that stop him from missing the annual performance.
The competition had been narrowed in the days before the finals; the players reduced from 20 to 12. Preliminary rounds brought about the best of the best of all three decades; those winning or placing in the preliminary rounds went on to compete for the $10,000 in the finals.
Dave Hoover, the last contestant in the finals and longtime Elvis Tribute Artist, was the only contestant to receive a standing ovation; the crowd obviously being more than pleased with his rendition of “Glory, Glory Hallelujah.” All the finalists were great and their singing on point, but it’s the moving and shaking that won the crowd and the judges over and secured the win for two contests in the Ninth Annual Elvis Rocks Mesquite Competition.
Rob Ely is a huge Elvis fan and multi-award winning Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) from Northern California. Ely’s mom, dad and grandmother were big fans so it’s no wonder Ely got hooked on Elvis at a very young age. Ely does over 150 shows per year and all that performing has certainly given him the opportunity to perfect his Elvis moves. Ely shook up the crowd and took the title of ERM 2018 Fan Favorite. He also won the best of the 70’s era and took third place in the finals.
With hundreds of years of combined experience between the 12 finalists nobody was more surprised than newbie, 18-year old Caden Gamblin when his name was called as the 2018 ERM Winner and winner of the $3000 grand prize. This young new comer claimed victory over Elvis Tribute Artists who have been performing more years than he’s been alive but Gamblin has been listening to ‘The King’ all his life.
Gamblin would sit and listen to his dad play Elvis records when he was a young boy. When he became a teenager, he found those same records and gave them another listen. The songs were an instant hit with Gamblin; he fell in love with the music. He learned to play the guitar and sing Elvis songs; things grew steadily from there.
Gamblin says his goal in performing is to make everyone happy. “If they’re not happy, neither am I.”
Gamblin had no problem making the fans happy during the competition. His dance moves are very impressive, full of energy and he rocked the stage from one side to the other.
Gamblin’s charisma and energy, not to mention his impersonation of the king, won over the scrutiny of the judges, the appreciation of the audience and the hearts of the girls and Caden “Elvis” Gamblin left the building that night in glory; glory hallelujah!