PHOTO GALLERY: Elvis has never left the building in Las Vegas

In this July 15, 2017 photo, Jim Westover of Arizona City, Ariz., waits backstage before performing at the Images of the King: Las Vegas tribute artist contest in Las Vegas. Tribute artists will buy custom made clothes and jewelry to recreate outfits worn by Elvis. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In this July 15, 2017 photo, Jim Westover of Arizona City, Ariz., waits backstage before performing at the Images of the King: Las Vegas tribute artist contest in Las Vegas. Tribute artists will buy custom made clothes and jewelry to recreate outfits worn by Elvis. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Elvis Presley has been dead for 40 years, but the King’s legacy is alive and well in Las Vegas.

Elvis impersonators remain a staple of Las Vegas kitsch, performing at casino venues, wedding chapels and street stages while decked out in garish jumpsuits, sunglasses and sideburn wigs.

At a recent Elvis convention, performers came from as far as Japan and Australia to compete in a tribute artist contest that paid $15,000 in prize money.

Elvis performer Tyler James recalls going to Graceland for the first time when he was 5 years old – and immediately becoming hooked.

“I told my mom then I wanted my own show in Vegas as Elvis,” he said.

In this Aug. 1, 2017, photo, Eddie Powers, right, performs as Elvis during a wedding for Wil and Sarah Wilson in Las Vegas. Powers works full-time as an Elvis tribute artist performing at weddings and leading Elvis themed tours around Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In this Aug. 1, 2017, photo, Eddie Powers, right, performs as Elvis during a wedding for Wil and Sarah Wilson in Las Vegas. Powers works full-time as an Elvis tribute artist performing at weddings and leading Elvis themed tours around Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

James now has a regular show two nights a week on an outdoor stage in downtown Las Vegas.

Elvis played hundreds of shows here, year after year – with more sell-out crowds in Las Vegas than anywhere else. Sin City and the King became so deeply intertwined that fans across the country have continued to make the pilgrimage even after his untimely death. They travel to Vegas indulge in the many Elvis tribute shows, impersonators and nostalgic memories from his heyday.

Presley rose from poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, to become an international music and movie star in the 1950s and 1960s. His life ended at age 42, when he was found dead Aug. 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Tennessee. By then, his career had slowed and he struggled with obesity and substance abuse.

But to Sin City, he’ll always be the handsome, hip-swinging, lip-curling crooner who gave the town its “Viva Las Vegas” anthem.

In the modern-day entertainment capital, his influence has waned in recent years. But Presley remains a larger-than-life pop culture icon in Las Vegas’ history.

In this July 15, 2017, photo, Elvis tribute artist Ben Portsmouth prepares for a show in Las Vegas. Elvis Presley has been dead for 40 years, but the King’s legacy is alive and well in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In this July 15, 2017, photo, Elvis tribute artist Ben Portsmouth prepares for a show in Las Vegas. Elvis Presley has been dead for 40 years, but the King’s legacy is alive and well in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

To this day, the term “Elvis impersonator” is synonymous with Las Vegas – a term the performers dislike. They prefer to be called “Elvis tribute artists.”

In this July 15, 2017, photo Dan Barrella of Staten Island, N.Y., waits backstage during the Images of the King: Las Vegas tribute artist contest in Las Vegas. Elvis impersonators remain a staple of Las Vegas kitsch, performing in wedding chapels, casino venues and street corners while decked out in garish jumpsuits, sunglasses and sideburn wigs. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 16, 2017, photo, Elvis tribute artists line up before the winners are announced during the Images of the King: Las Vegas tribute artist contest in Las Vegas. The company holds Elvis Presley festivals and contests in several cities around the country every year. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 15, 2017, photo, Elvis tribute artist Ben Portsmouth meets with fans after a show in Las Vegas. Like other musical performers, tribute artists will meet with fans after the show and sell merchandise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 31, 2017, photo, Tyler James performs on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. James performs two times a week on a stage along the pedestrian mall in downtown Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 15, 2017, photo, Cody Slaughter prepares to perform at the Images of the King: Las Vegas festival in Las Vegas. Elvis Presley has been dead for 40 years, but the King’s legacy is alive and well in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 15, 2017, photo Bob Castro, left, and Jim Westover prepare to compete in the Images of the King: Las Vegas tribute artist contest in Las Vegas. Elvis impersonators remain a staple of Las Vegas kitsch, performing in wedding chapels, casino venues and street corners while decked out in garish jumpsuits, sunglasses and sideburn wigs. (AP Photo/John Locher)