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Competitive Bearding

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to compete in the 2nd annual Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Competition. It was an interesting experience.

The preparation began a day early when I visited Apollo’s Barber Shop in Valencia for a shave and a hair cut. What a wonderful experience! Mr. Dan even provided me with a hot towel and a shoulder massage. He cut my hair and styled my beard with a straight razor. The job was complimentary and I got a free vest to wear to the competition that read “Apollo’s Barber Shop” on it. Pretty sweet deal.

When I arrived at the Belasco, I knew I was at the right place. There was a line around the block to register for the competition. I have never seen so much facial hair in one place. There were a bunch of really interesting beards and mustaches, but I could tell that a few of the guys near me would be competing against me in the business beard category.

Emylie sponsored my entry in the competition. Just after registration, they took some pictures on the red carpet and brought me down to the green room where grown men sat in front of well-lit mirrors to style their beards with hair dryers and curling irons. (See the photo in the gallery below.)

The “business beard” competition was the second category of the evening. Several of the guys in my group had much larger, fuller beards. As I understood it, the “groomed beard” category was full and some of the contestants spilled into my category.  Business beard was broken into two groupings and I was placed into group B. As I stood there at the end of the line, I took a close look at my competition. All of their beards were pretty damn good. A couple of the guys had business suits, glasses and briefcases. Seriously? These guys brought props?!

As we lined up to take the stage, I got a text message from Emylie advising me to “work the crowd.” I had never modeled or competed in a competition before, so I had no idea what she meant by that. She said that other people were dancing and that scored major points from the audience. Wonderful. If there was anything I didn’t want to do on stage in front of a thousand strangers, it was dance. As I approached the back of the stage, I caught a glimpse of the contestants in front of me. They were dancing in their business suits! One guy even had a routine in which he set down the briefcase, took out a few business cards and passed them out to the crowd.

When it’s finally my turn, I approach the front of the stage. I need a shtick. I don’t have glasses, a business suit or a briefcase. I’m wearing a jeans, a button-up shirt and.. oh yeah.. this vest! I start unbuttoning my vest while shaking my butt. After the last button, I yank it backward like Michael Jackson and let it fall behind me into my hands. Then I twirl it around my head and throw it to the ground. That’s all I could come up with. I turned around and walked over to the judges’ table. As I passed each judge, I made sure to show them the super clean cheek and neck lines of my beard from every angle. Very strange.

The judges picked the three finalists for our category.. They were (in no particular order):

  1. The guy with the business suit, glasses and briefcase
  2. The other guy with the business suit, glasses and briefcase
  3. The guy with the tie, glasses and kilt (and a pretty full beard)

I’m not bitter or anything. I saw some pretty amazing beards that day. And now I know that I’ve got to prepare a costume, routine and giveaways for next year’s competition. I’m looking forward to it.

I want to thank Emylie, Jeaux, Ari, Matt, Daniel and Kristine for coming out to support me. You guys made it a great experience!

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