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It took 10 years for a man to win this contest.

Every July, throngs of ruddy-faced men with beards travel to Key West with one hope in mind: winning the coveted "Papa Hemingway" look-alike contest.

In its 27th year, the competition has become one of the most popular events during the annual Hemingway Days Festival.

This year, Larry Austin of Palm Harbor beat 122 other contestants for the top honor.

Come to find out, a snowball beard and a penchant for cats isn't the only thing this 64-year-old insurance agent shares with Ernest Hemingway.

Is this your first look-alike contest?

Yes. This is the only look-alike contest I've ever been in, but I have been in this one for 10 straight years.

What's the prize?

A bust of Hemingway. Two tickets to go anywhere in the U.S. with Continental Airlines. A $100 gift certificate for Sloppy Joe's Bar and a complimentary stay at the Doubletree Inn in Key West.

Of course we have to ask: What's your favorite Hemingway book?

The one I enjoyed the most was The Old Man and the Sea. It was quick reading, and I also had to do a book report on it.

Why do you think Hemingway continues to be a cultural icon?

Not only was he a great writer, but he was flamboyant in the way he lived. He enjoyed life and just did a lot of things and had a lot of adventures.

Did you do much to prepare for the contest, besides perfect the look?

A little. You have to get up there and talk a little bit. But getting up and talking before a bunch of drunks is a difficult thing to do.

What did you say?

To tell you the truth, I can't really remember.

Dare we say you partied like a Hemingway?

That's right.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.