In this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, past winners of the "Papa" Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike contest judge this year's contestants Thursday, July 23, 2009, at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Fla. The competition is a facet of the island's annual Hemingway Days festival that honors the Nobel prize-winning author who lived and wrote in Key West during the 1930s. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)
Associated Press Release
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- The husband of television food personality Paula Deen is a finalist in an annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest.
Competing for the third time, Michael Groover was chosen with other stocky, white-bearded men Thursday night at Sloppy Joe's Bar, a frequent Hemingway hangout.
Although she was present last year, Deen was not seen at the first of two preliminary rounds of the competition. Groover offered an apology during his speech to the judges, saying she didn't make it, "but wanted to be here to support me." The audience responded with thunderous applause.
Deen has been embroiled in controversy after public disclosure of a deposition in which she admitted under oath to having used the N-word. The Food Network didn't renew Deen's contract and pulled her shows off the air.