In the four decades since its inception, the Conservative Political Action Conference has built up a name for itself by attracting big-name conservative politicians like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. But CPAC also has a weirder side. The conference – dubbed “Las Vegas for young conservatives” by CNN – has everything from outrageous panels to shooting galleries to cosplay.
Most of the costumes found at CPAC are relatively standard for political events. It’s not unusual, for instance, to find a Tea Partier dressed in full-on colonial garb.
A little more outrageous, though, are some costumes straight out of Comic-Con, as a pair of attendees dressed up as stormtroopers from “Star Wars.”
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— Betsy Rothstein (@betsyscribeindc) March 6, 2014
Perhaps the most bizarre sight at CPAC is that of a 14-foot tall Ronald Reagan cosplayer on stilts.
According to the Washington Times, the giant Reagan is played by New York City native Justin Longshore, who’s at CPAC on behalf of his employer, NYC Stilts.
“We’re here to make it not so conservative, if you will,” Longshore told the Washington Times. “I’ll be honest, my first experience yesterday, as Ronald Reagan, everyone freaked out, came out and there was a line, CNN and everyone was there.”
Longshore says he’s been stilt-walking for 10 years now, though this is likely the first time he’s ever dressed up as Ronald Reagan on stilts. He says the secret is learning to overcome your fear of heights.
“You can’t be scared of heights,” Longshore said. “That’s the first thing you learn when you’re on stilts, you’ve either got it or you don’t.”