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The Second Annual Beard and Mustache Championships will be held tomorrow in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where 200 of the finest mustaches, beards, and “partial” beards will be on display. Although the competition is termed “national”, championship organizers expect “bearders” from Germany, new Zealand, Canada, and elsewhere. Although one would think tht the competitors will be primarily male, event coordinator Phil Olsen told the Huffington Post, “we’re all inclusive. We don’t test for gender,” he added, “I have enough to do already.”
The championship will contain five main categories; mustache, partial beard (goatee, van dyke, mutton chops, etc.), full beard groomed, full beard natural (the most competitive category, and freestyle (your guess is as good as mine). According to the website, there are a number of components by which competitors will be scored.
In all categories, the judges will be instructed to consider the overall condition and health of the facial hair, detail in styling if applicable, uniformity of color, thickness, symmetry, size including but not limited to length, and presentation.
Olsen, who is the head of Beard Team USA, first became interested in the sport of “bearding” when he attending a contest in Sweden. He felt the US was “sorely underrepresented” in the competition and resolved to bring it back to States as a serious preoccupation. By 2003, Olsen was hosting tournaments across the US, even sparking a 7-part documentary on the Independent Film Channel entitled “Whisker Wars”. Olsen says there’s more to “bearding” than just being able to grow one. “It takes a lot of skill to get the beard ready for competition. But, like with anything, people with good genes do have a better chance.” He adds, facetiously, “Some people pick their parents well and can grow a good beard, just like basketball players who are tall have an advantage."
In this way the criteria a beard and mustache competition sounds most similar to the Westminster Dog Show than a “talent” competition, but there is certainly an element of tenacity to competitors. “"I do a lot of grooming," said John Myatt, a professional bearder from Los Angeles. "I eat healthy, and shampoo and condition it daily. I believe if you have a healthy diet, you'll have healthy hair. My facial hair is a little oily, but it's holding up well." Myatt won second place at the World beard Champsionships in Tronheim, Norway for his “Verdi”, a short rounded beard in the “partial beard” category.