Conch Blowing Contest

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - The winner of an annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest in Florida says success involves more than just "the lips and cheek muscles." He says "it comes from the heart and soul."

The Key West resident is claiming top honors after playing his renditions of the classic Hebrew folk song "Hava Nagilah" and Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night."

The bicycle tour operator says he takes his conch on tours, blasting it through the neighborhoods.

Contestants ranged from less than 3 years old to seniors. They were judged on the quality, novelty, duration and loudness of the sounds they produced.

The winning group was an 18-piece "conchestra." Band members blew their shells while dancing to a Jimmy Buffett song.

Conch-shell blowing has been practiced for generations in the Florida Keys, also known as the Conch Republic.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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