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Lincoln lookalikes turn heads while touring central Kentucky

Lincoln lookalikes gathered in the state Capitol rotunda.

FRANKFORT, Ky.-- The Association of Lincoln Presenters has 150 members North American and nearly a third of them recently visited Central Kentucky for their annual conference, each one of them the rail-splittin' image of the 16th president.

Stanley Wernz Of Cincinnati has averaged more than 100 appearances as Abraham Lincoln each year he's been doing it. He said, "It's a joy to see the places he visited and try to experience the things he experienced."

They came by the busload, many of them accompanied by Mary Lincoln lookalikes, and one Jefferson Davis even snuck in. Everyone was civil.

"Lincoln said, 'Let's not be enemies but friends.' He said we both read the same Bible and pray to the same God' so why would there be malice toward me." said the Davis presenter, David Walker of Van Wert, Ohio.

These guys are traffic stoppers. When you look like a shiny penny, honestly, there's no hiding.

"Next to Jesus Christ, he's probably most recognizable man on the earth," said Ron Carley of Detroit.

The cameras come out everywhere these great pretenders go and, of course, every Lincoln knows to look for shooters in the balcony.

During these conferences, almost every moment is spent thinkin' like Lincoln.

Some of these Abe-L bodied men have been doing this for scores of years. Others are quite new at it, but they all got into it because of their looks.

Carley said he took a five-dollar bill to his barber and asked him to cut his hair like that. He was amazed by the result.

Jim Sayre, a long-time presenter from Anderson County, said "I've seen a lot of people who could portray Lincoln. You won't get rich at it but you won't go broke, either."

Some of them speak at schools, church groups or for living history events. Others are mostly posers.

James Mitchell of Hope, Kansas goes to a lot of political ralliers. "I just go and do it. I don't usually get invitations. I just show up." he said.

The Mary Lincolns say she was much-maligned and they want to set the record straight.

Susan V. Miller of Jessamine County said, "She kept him (Lincoln) abreast of current events. She helped him with his manners, They were a true partnership. I don't think he would've been president if not for Mrs. Lincoln."

The group is looking for younger men to wear the beard.

" I'd love to do it another 34 years, but time takes its toll," said Sayre.



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