Thick and Hairy Competition

Facial hair competitions have spread worldwide and across the U.S. Groups are forming and competing with one another to prove who has the best 'stache.

American Cowboy Picture
Bryan Allan Nelson, founder of The Austin Facial Hair Club poses at Rio Rita's Cafe and Cantina in Austin, Feb. 20. Photo by: Scott Squires.

On June 5th, 2010 the first Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships will be held in Bend, Oregon. Competitors from across the U.S. will compete in four categories—best moustache, best partial beard, best full bead, and freestyle. The winner from each category will leave with a prize of $1,000 and a year's worth of bragging rights. Val Kilmer’s rakish moustache from Tombstone would be put to shame here.

Facial hair competitions began in the early 1990s in Germany, since then the, ah, sport has expanded, with competitions often drawing from 15 countries, according to worldbeardchampionships.com. The next World Beard Championship is scheduled to take place in Trondheim, Norway in 2011. Let’s see some cowboys enter!

As one would expect, the judging of arcane facial-hair fashions can be a bit fussy itself. The “best mustache” category at the USA National Beard and Moustache Championships evaluates moustaches only—all other facial hair must be disregarded. Goatees, side burns, van dykes, and musketeers are all included in the “best partial beard” category. In the “best full beard” category the participants are allowed to use styling aids, unlike the other categories—except the “freestyle” category, where anything goes and creative risks are rewarded.

Jack Passion, a two-time World Beard Champion winner in the natural full beard category and author of The Facial Hair Handbook, will be the host of the competition. And beauty pageant-winner CC Barber, Miss Oregon 2009, will be among the judges at the competition.

Beard Team USA (BTUSA) is an online organization for facial hair enthusiasts, it is open to everyone, and does not require any dues or applications. The organization is connected with over 50 local chapters throughout the country, according to the team’s website, beardteamusa.org, and has approximately 300 members.

According to BTUSA, the team “promotes the worldwide appreciation of facial hair, fun and friendship amongst our members and others, and various facial hair events; and opposes discrimination against the bearded, mustached, sideburns, or goateed.”

The winners of the BTUSA National Beard and Mustache Championships will have the opportunity to compete in the biennial World Beard and Mustache Championships, where American David Traver’s woven masterpiece stole the title of best overall winner from in last year’s competition in Anchorage, Alaska.

American Cowboy Picture

The Austin Facial Hair Club hosts Austin's annual Beard and Mustache Competition in which participants fight for the titles of gnarliest beard, sweetest 'stache, and best groomed. Photo by: Scott Squires.

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