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From pizza manager to Elvis star

Not all dares have an unhappy ending - just ask Adam Fitzpatrick.

The 29-year-old Penticton native has turned a dare into a promising career as an Elvis tribute artist.

Fitzpatrick was manager at the Penticton Boston Pizza restaurant six years ago when Chris Kelso, another Elvis tribute artist dared him to compete.

"Every time we are on stage or he's in a contest he'll always relate back to that dare six years ago. Before that he was a manager at Boston Pizza in Penticton," says Mike Schell, his manager.

"He wasn't a musician - he did play drums in his church -  and he didn't sing at all. From there it just snowballed."

Fitzpatrick continued to cement his reputation as one of the world's best Elvis performers.

On the heels of winning the Elvis Europe competition two weeks ago - this past weekend, Fitzpatrick won the Las Vegas Elvis Festival.

He was also named the People's Choice winner in Vegas.

Schell, who also performs with him as a member of the Uptown Hornz, says the Vegas experience was surreal since the competition was held at the Las Vegas Hilton where Elvis performed 837 consecutive shows.

"Me performing in the headliner show and then Adam competing; for both of us to be on the stage -- Okanagan boys -- it was pretty surreal," says Schell.

The win in Blackpool qualified Fitzpatrick for the Ultimate Elvis competition during Elvis Week in Memphis, TN, Aug 9 to 17.

"This is his third year. The first time he cracked the top 15. Last year he came second in the world. Maybe third time is a charm," says Schell.

"He says you never know what the judges are looking for. There are so many great Elvis tribute artists out there."

The winner receives $20,000 in cash and a one year contract with Legends in Concert.

Prior to the Memphis competition, Fitzpatrick will compete in the Collingwood Elvis Festival, the largest in the world and will also headline the Manitoba Elvis Festival.

Win or lose, Schell says the experience has not changed Fitzpatrick at all.

"The thing I love about Adam, and being his full time manager, and him doing this full time is he has no ego. He's completely humble. If he wins he wins, if he loses he loses.

When Adam is onstage portraying Elvis he tries to emulate the King but he knows he's still Adam Fitzpatrick. When he comes off the stage and gets into his regular clothes he's Adam. He doesn't talk like Elvis, he doesn't portray him."

Elvis tribute competitions and shows have been popular for more than 40 years.

They were around even when Presley was still alive.

"When Elvis was still alive he actually entered a competition as an Elvis tribute artist and he came in fifth. I kid you not," says Schell.


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