The 2021 Bubbas: Eighth Annual Key West People’s Choice Awards are behind us, having culminated in a sold-out evening at the Key West Theater to celebrate our nominees and winners. So much goes into the event, from the script and sketches to the seating and winners, it always seems an impossible task until the last minute. And yet somehow, due to the efforts of our incredible staff, and radio partners at Florida Keys Media, things always come together in the end. 

With that said, our views (particularly Jason Koler’s and mine) are often vastly different from those of the audience. From the stage, we enjoy the faces of each and every attendee in the crowd. We hear the feedback and jovial heckles. We feed on audience participation and laughter. And we love spending an evening with over 300 of our closest friends. 

Now that the smoke has cleared and the winners have been named, and with tons of comments and photos now posted on social media to highlight the night, I thought it would be fun to share some takeaways from the 2021 Bubbas stage this past Saturday, July 24. 

These are the moments that often define why and what this evening has become. I thank everyone who made it out, along with those who supported the event throughout the voting process—and I look forward to the 2022 Bubbas. Most of all, congratulations to all of our nominees and winners in 2021. 

  • Best Photographer: Larry Blackburn was named “Best Photographer” in 2021. Not only did all three nominees (including Iris Moore) pose for a Key West Weekly cover shot a few weeks back, Nick Doll (who has won the award on several occasions) rushed the stage to congratulate Larry and take his photo. For me, that selfless moment embodies  the spirit of the Bubbas. It’s not just about winning. It’s also about the love and support we give to one another in this community — even those we compete against. 
  • The Performers: Each year we throw a few skits and performances into the mix. One of our favorites is the lip-sync battle. I’m blown away that anyone would come up and do this in front of more than 300 people. But when they do, it steals the show. Thank you, Sanaris Peacock, Bill Lay, Scott & Dr. Melanie Youschak, Abe Conn, Juan Llera, Larry Blackburn, Nick Doll and Sushi. 
  • The Winners: There were 85 categories in this year’s Bubbas, with many first-time winners in this, our eighth year of the event. We had over 24,000 ballots cast from six continents. Watching the winners come to the stage was special — especially knowing how diverse and broad the contest has become.  
  • Cheryl Cates: It was the toughest part of the evening, but we had to recognize Cheryl Cates. She is literally the reason the Bubbas exist for so many reasons. We’ll miss her. She’ll never be replaced in this community. But you could feel her love in the room. A standing ovation in her honor will remain my favorite Bubbas moment from this past Saturday, along with any before and any after. 
  • Our Sponsors:  See page 9 of this paper for the full list. Their contributions allow the event to happen—raising more than $100,000 for local nonprofits over the past eight years. This year’s Bubbas proudly supported Wesley House Family Services. Key West is One Human Family. And these are some of the businesses that embody that belief. Please be sure to thank our sponsors the next time you bump into one of them. 
  • George Fernandez: If you don’t know George, you probably don’t live in Key West. George epitomizes kindness and takes pleasure in offering it when no one else is looking. Much of what goes on in Key West is made possible by George and his contributions. Thank you, George — from all of us at the Keys Weekly (and thank you for the incredible wardrobe). 
  • Other Media: I’ve never been prouder than I was to see so many friends from various other media outlets in attendance. From radio, digital and print — it was awesome to have each of you there. It symbolizes that the Bubbas are bigger than any of us. It belongs to the community. Having you there meant the world. You know who you are. 
  • Sushi: Yes, that Sushi. Best in drag and the world-famous Key West icon. She performed from the balcony at the Key West Theater. Other celebs have and might attend in the future, but having Sushi in the house is a milestone I’ll proudly boast about to anyone. 
  • Hoebee: Yes, that Bill Hoebee. After seven years of finishing second in “Best Local Celebrity,” he finally took home the coveted Bubba — even after being tackled on stage. I’m not sure what Wile E. Coyote would do after he caught Road Runner or what the Trix Rabbit would do after he got a bite of his own cereal … but 2021 should be interesting now that Hoebee has claimed his prize. 
  • Key West Theater: Bill, Kelly, Bree, Greg and Jason. Eight years — six events at the Key West Theater. And you guys always come through. Thank you for your generosity and community support. And for making a few goofballs on stage look and sound better than they should. 
  • Dignitaries: The Bubbas are a red-carpet event that goes beyond Key West. Thank you to the following dignitaries for making it out: U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez; Sheriff Rick Ramsay; Monroe County School Board member Mindy Conn and chairman John Dick; Property Appraiser Scott Russell; Tax Collector Sam Steele; County Clerk Kevin Madok; Key West Naval Air Station Commander Capt. Mark Sohaney; FWC Capt. Dave Dipre; Health Department Administrator Bob Eadie; County Commissioners Craig Cates,  David Rice, Mike Forster and Mayor Michelle Coldiron; Mosquito Control Board’s Jill Cranney-Black and KWPD Lt. Dave Black; Key Colony Beach city manager Dave Turner and Monroe County’s Kim Matthews; former Key West city managers Jim Scholl and Greg Veliz; and our homie Jeremy Wilkerson, who will always be a dignitary at the Bubbas.

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Britt Myers traded in a life of monetary success, a chiseled body and intellectual enlightenment for a piece of the pie of the Keys Weekly newspapers. He is also the proud parent of an incredible six-year-old and a sucker for Michael Mann movies and convenience store hot dogs.