On March 1, the eighth annual Beard and ‘Stache Competition was held in the UAA Student Union. The Winterfest event, put on by Student Activities and the South Central Alaska Beard and Mustache Club, featured categories for mustache, partial beard, baby beard, grizzly beard, fake beard and freestyle beard.
“I think with the diverse student body that we have, this event celebrates the different diversities that we have … including facial hair,” Daniel Flores, mechanical engineering major, said.
Flores participated in three of the event categories, placing third in the mustache category, second in partial beard and second in freestyle. Flores first heard about the competition four years ago, the same year he began growing and maintaining his beard.
“I like the camaraderie of all the guys who come together,” Bryan Banfield said. “It’s a good feeling, it’s warm its welcome… there’s no negative judgement; it’s all positive.”
Banfield, a seasoned competitor, had previously competed in the UAA show twice as well as an online beard competition and the Mr. Fur Face competition that takes place at the Miners and Trappers Ball, and annual event part of Fur Rondy festivities. Banfield, who placed first in the grizzly category was not the only Banfield competing in the competition; his daughter, Kai, won the fake beard category.
Adam Bruck, president of the South Central Alaska Beard and Mustache Club served on the judges panel for the competition.
“I took third place two years in a row at this event… [In] 2016, I actually won my category, the grizzly beard and then won overall,” Bruck, who is currently in his fifth season with the competition, said. “After I won that, I was like, alright now I’ll be fair and just judge.”
Bruck was impressed by the showing at the event this year.
“It’s about getting students here to compete in this competition and see what they can do with their facial hair,” Bruck said.
The Beard and ‘Stache competition is an annual event, and part of UAA’s Winterfest festivities.