Monday, 05 March 2007 00:00
Conch Shell Blowing ContestWritten by WGCU Newsroom
A Key West bicycle tour guide tooted Sabre Dance on a conch shell to win the men's division of the annual Conch Shell Blowing in Key West this weekend.
53-year-old Lloyd Mager, who began blowing the conch shell on his tours about 10 years ago, successfully blew the 1942 classical arrangement, crediting his win to his experience as a junior high school saxophone player and intense recent conch shell blowing training.
“I’ve been concentrating and focusing on getting out clearer and concise loud, crisp notes. I played saxophone and trumpet in junior high school in NJ about 45 years ago so it helps to have a little bit of the right ambiture.”
The contest was a highlight of the annual Old Island Days Festival that ends in May and celebrates Key West's cultural heritage.
Blowing the fluted, pink-lined shell has been a Florida Keys tradition since the early 1800s, when seafaring settlers used it as a signaling device. Key West natives are called "Conchs".