By the time they crowned the Ultimate Elvis Champion Sunday night in Collingwood it appeared he wouldn’t have to go to Memphis. The inside of the Eddie Bush Arena was so hot and steamy you thought you might have been in Memphis. But this year’s winner can’t wait to get to Memphis as the Collingwood Champion.
David Muggeridge is the winner of the 2008 Collingwood Elvis festival. And being the overall winner from the weekend he earns a spot in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest in Memphis plus $3,000.00 from the Sirius Satellite Radio - Festival Title Sponsor.
Muggeridge thinks it is an honour considering the quality of Tribute Artists who took stage over the past weekend. “These guys here are the cream of the crop” is what he told the media after his win Sunday night. “I don’t know how the judges could pick a winner; I bet it was very close.” (the winner was determined by most points scored in competition over the weekend.
David Muggeridge was at the Memphis competition last year, but this time he is the Collingwood champion, and he is very proud to take that title with him. Muggeridge told the crowd in the Eddie Bush Arena that Collingwood was the best party anywhere. Muggeridge has competed in other Elvis competitions including wins at the Brantford and Windsor events in the past. He says there is no question that Collingwood is the premiere event.
Just moments after his big win on Sunday the 36 year old from North Carolina was remembering back to the first year he competed in Collingwood. “I was so scared when I took the stage, it was incredible.” Muggeridge made his first appearance in Collingwood in 2003. “My mom has the video; I got off to a terrible start.”
Muggeridge performed “Early Morning Rain” which of course was written by Gordon Lightfoot. “I figured it was a nice touch considering Collingwood and Orillia are just up the road from each other.” He says he had trouble hearing himself and got off to a quiet start on the stage, but was able to recover by the end.
It really didn’t take Muggeridge long to get over his initial jitters, he impressed veteran Tribute Artist Roy Leblanc (the 2008 Gospel Champion) to invite him to his friends of Roy Leblanc show a the 2003 Festival. In 2004 he was a crowd favourite in the parade and advanced to the finals. In 2006 he won his first Collingwood title.
Muggeridge says he really was surprised that he won Sunday night. He said that while they were waiting for the final votes he was congratulating Paul Ross. “I told him way to go man, this one is yours.” Ross actually finished third and Mark Anthony finished second. “It was an incredible feeling; I really believe it had to really close. I wouldn’t want the job of the judges.”
There are two reasons that Muggeridge really likes performing at the Collingwood Festival. The first is the competition itself. “You get to be with the cream of the crop, it’s an honour to share the stage with these guys. And what is even better is the camaraderie. I mean you can’t find a better bunch of guys and that really helps make the weekend.”
The fans are also one of reasons he keeps coming back. “These fans really know their Elvis music, and they bring the best performances out of you.” The full house at the Eddie Bush Arena Sunday was electric. “When you get on the stage and you hear the reaction of the crowd it is something else. It just sent a chill down my spine tonight.”
There really isn’t a lot of time to rest for the Champion as he has to be in Memphis for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest during Elvis week August 9 – 17th. He went last year, and is looking forward to having a second shot at the crown. He says even though he is the Collingwood Champion it doesn’t give him an advantage. “Everyone knows the reputation of the Collingwood Festival, but it still comes down to what you do at that show. They will know I did well at the best Festival, but it won’t give me an edge.”
The judges who oversaw the Collingwood contest have criteria they are looking for, they want an artist whose performance is in the spirit of Elvis. Muggeridge has a look similar to The King, and his vocals are so strong you do have a sense of experiencing Elvis on stage. But that is all the praise Muggeridge will accept.
“Hey, I am a poor copy at best” he told the media when asked about the comments that he looks and sounds like Elvis. “After all he is what he is. I just try to pay tribute to spirit of Elvis with my performance.”
The ovation Sunday night as he was crowned the champion would suggest his fans feel that he doesn’t give himself enough credit. His 2008 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist title in Collingwood would suggest the fans are right.