Bearded and mustached individuals and beard lovers, or pogonophiles, gathered together for an event like none other, the UAA Beard and ‘Stache Competition. The hairiest event known to UAA kicked off its fifth annual event on Wednesday Feb. 25. UAA’s Beard and ‘Stache Competition slated fuzzy faced individuals against equally hairy if not more hairy individuals for tickets to Alaska’s Miners and Trappers Ball. The competitors were judged in a number of categories by a panel of experts on facial hair.
Judges included hair/beard stylist Victoria Beck, members of the Southcentral Alaska Beard and Moustache Club including: President Jon Smiley, vice president Douglas Renfro, as well as advisor Mike Nield and general member David Traver. The judges from South Central Alaska Beard and Moustache Club all hold dubious titles in the competitive beard and ‘stache world. Neal Haglund and Bob Nelson, also members of SABMC, emceed the event.
Both SABMC and Student Union and Commuter Student Services put on the event, as part of UAA’s Winterfest. Student Union and Commuter Student Services manager, Clynce Carrillo, organized the event for his first time this year.
“Oh my gosh I loved it,” said Carillo about the beards.
Participants could compete for the title of best chops, moustache, partial beard, baby beard, ladies/fake, freestyle beard, grizzly beard and overall.
“I thought it was a fun way to get all the guys out,” said Nia Odlum who wants to major in social work and was working for Student Union and Commuter Student Services for the event, “it was interesting, I never thought people actually judged beards.”
Galen Pazar won the moustache category. Pazar told an anecdote of how he once got a fly stuck in his moustache while riding his motorcycle.
The partial beard title was given to Bill Wyatt who started growing his beard after getting shoulder surgery and realizing how painful it was to try and shave. His son told him he should let it grow out till he was healed. Then when Wyatt told his son it would take a year to heal his son said, “Oh my god that’s gonna be so cool.”
Immediately following the announcement of the partial beard winner, the baby beards competed. Kyle Roll, a local tattoo artist, who has a distinctive and cool scar down his face, won the category with his bushy and thick beard.
“It started with No Shave November and I’ve never looked back,” said Roll.
There were some creative contestants for the category, including a competitor who had a foam piece of bread around his face. He called his beard “Beard in-bread.” The emcees told the crowd to “get a slice of this guy.”
Sena Dooley, took home the ladies/fake beard and moustache award. Dooley said she has been growing her beard for 1,000 years. Later in the night when the winners of each category were called back to stage Dooley put on a new fake beard that was shorter in length. Emcee Haglung got the crowd laughing as he asked her if she had shaved.
After the ladies/fake category a new group of contestants competed in the freestyle category. The section is open to all types and styles of facial hair, but Devin Johnson won with his three style variations first the serious, then the turnip and then finally the “eagle” goatee. Johnson talked about how versatile and different he can style his facial hair, he then curled his moustache up and separated his goatee into three sections to emulate an eagle taking flight.
“What’s a rapper’s favorite vegetable? A turnip.” Said Johnson trying to win over the crowd.
The real men of the hour competed for the honorable title of grizzly beard. Competitors of grizzly beard had the longest and thickest beards of them all. However, Eric Willis put all others to shame, with his winning beard.
Each winner of all the categories then competed against each other for the ultimate Beard and ‘Stache title of overall winner. Johnson really impressed the judges with his “eagle” and took home the win, overcoming even the grizzly beard winner.