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Cody Ray Slaughter, photo compliments of Texas’ Tribute to Elvis Festival

Do folks in Dallas still love the king? The king as in, “Elvis Presley” that is. Event producers for the first ever Texas’ Tribute to Elvis Festival are hoping that there is still a lot of “love me tenders” between Presley’s memory and his fans.

The Texas Elvis Festival and Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest organizers are bringing the first annual affair to Southfork Ranch from March 4 to 6, 2016 to the place where the television show “Dallas” was filmed, coincidentally a television show that Presley’s wife Priscilla Presley starred in.

“So there is the Elvis connection,” said producer and organizer of the Texas Elvis Festival and president of Tees Events USA, Steve Horn.  “Elvis started out in Texas so Texas is a good place.”  

The contest will also be a preliminary leading up to the final Ultimate Elvis contest to be held in Memphis in August of this year.  But it won’t just be Texans vying for the chance to head to Memphis.  Horn said so far there are Elvis Tributes coming from the USA, Germany, Switzerland, England, Hungary, Ireland, Canada, Brazil and Scotland and there will be fans attending from all over the world too.

“This is our first festival in Texas so hopefully there will be a couple of thousand or more attendees, but this festival will grow,” Horn added.

Of course, the competition will be stiff and the judges have been handpicked all having been friends with Presley and they worked with him too.  Judges include Charles Stone, Elvis’s Tour Producer; Sam Thompson Elvis’ bodyguard and Greg McDonald Elvis’ friend and also the manager of Ricky Nelson and Mary Holladay from The Holliday Sisters - Elvis’ backup singers.

“My situation for becoming a judge in a contest is a bit different from most I think, as I worked with Elvis Presley and know exactly what to look for,” said Stone. “I do enjoy being a judge as seeing the talent of the guys entering the contests, in my mind, is what contributes to keeping Elvis’ legacy alive.”

Stone said when he judges an Ultimate contest there are always certain things he looks for too.  The vocals, sure, but he said he also wants to see a respectable appearance and stage presence. 

The Texas Tribute to Elvis will also feature performances so event goers will be able to not only check out the contest live, but also enjoy additional tribute artists during the three-day event.  There will be conversations about Elvis where special guests are interviewed live on stage to tell their memories and stories and there will even be an after show Elvis Disco with DJ Argo from Elvis radio for three-day ticket holders.

Elvis’ former girlfriend, actress/songwriter Linda Thompson will take part in the “Conversations on Elvis” segment and The Blackwood Quartet will be performing over the weekend as well as the Holladay Sisters.

“Elvis is a worldwide phenomenon and 39 years after his passing he is still an icon and always will be,” said Horn. “His music carry’s on through the generations. The Tribute artists do a fantastic job of keeping Elvis music alive and bringing a taste of Elvis for those who have not been lucky enough to see Elvis perform live.”

Tickets for the Texas’ Tribute to Elvis Festival are $85 for one day and $185 for three-days, not including tax.  For more details visit www.texaselvisfestival.com.

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