Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Beard is Back 

If last Saturday night was any indication, facial hair is back in style.

Club Europa was filled to capacity for an over the top display of goatees and full facial beards, as the 2010 NYC Beard and Moustache Competition got underway. Curious onlookers and serious beard enthusiasts spent the evening getting a look at a variety of contestants ranging from hasidic jews and older gentlemen, to bikers and scruffy hipsters.

“The people competing in this take it very seriously,” said Aaron Kelly, a member of the Gotham City Beardsman Alliance, the NYC area chapter of Beard Team USA. “You’ll see some competitors who drove several hours to make it and even flew in from places all around the world.”

The competition was divided into six different categories: full natural beard, freestyle, moustache, goatee, recession beard, and a new fake beard category for women. Contestants were scored by a panel of judges on a scale of one to 10.

The event also had several internationally ranked competitors on display.

“There are beard and moustache competitions throughout the world,” said Kelly. “Our chapter definitely travels around to a few of them throughout the year and you see some regulars at the events.”

One of the regulars is Paul Beisser, who is currently the natural goatee world champion. In four competitions, Beisser has never scored below second place.

“Sometimes the judging can be tricky,” said Beisser. “There was one competition where I shouldn’t have lost, but they were obviously pulling for the local guy to win.”

Many of the people in attendance were amazed at the beards on display.

“They have facial hair down to their chest!” said Park Slope resident Ashley Cargill. “I’m amazed that they can eat without getting a beard full of food.”

The winners of the night were Lindsay Lutz (fake beard), Steve Klein (goatee), Chris Williams (moustache), William Mitchell (freestyle beard), Ty Baker (recession beard), and Jack Passion (full natural beard). Mitchell also won the overall top prize for best in show.

For many of the competitors at the event, the night was a chance to bond with similar beard-minded individuals.

“If I see someone with a beard, I know that they’re a friend of mine,” said Kelly. “I just haven’t met them yet.”


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