Ron Fitzpatrick never expected his son would grow up to make his living shaking his hips on stage in front of hordes of adoring Elvis fans.
“We had no idea he could even sing, we went to the Barley Mill karaoke night and Adam got up and sang and we were like, ‘holy cow where did that come from?’” said Ron. “We were pretty surprised. I always thought he was going to grow up to be a hockey player.”
It was in 2008 that Adam Ftizpatrick was dared by a friend to enter the amateur division of their hometown Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival. At that time no one in his family, or Adam himself, could have predicted that this would become his full-time job.
“The first year we were astounded when he won the amateur division and he followed that up with 32 shows and kept on going,” said his dad, who now acts as Adam’s stage-hand taking care of the music while his son performs.
After winning the right to move on to the biggest contest in the world last year, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition held in Memphis every August, Adam is set on returning. But first he will have to top the 20 other professional tribute artists entered in this weekend’s Penticton festival.
“I learned a lot in the last year and appreciate what I do even more. I feel a lot more confident and more mature in the business,” he said.
Adam already competed for the right to move on to Ultimate Elvis in Oklahoma earlier this year. Despite not getting a nod into the Top 5, he said he wasn’t disappointed and that is a good thing.
“It all depends on what the judges are looking for. I did the best I could in Oklahoma and it was still a really good time,” he said, adding he is already booked into a few other competitions in case Penticton doesn’t pan out. “You can’t let competitions bring you down and have to remember what we do this for and that is the music. It is cool to make it though and an amazing experience.”
A win in the Pala, Calif., competition put him in the line up for last year’s Ultimate Elvis competition but nothing would be sweeter than earning that berth in his hometown. Adam made sure his good luck charm from California will be with him in Penticton.
“My girlfriend Sandi will be sitting front row in the finals, so I have to win,” he said.
Catch Adam perform at the festival or at the Copper Mug on Friday evening.