Tuesday, November 10, 2015
From the Hasidic community of Borough Park to the hipster haven of Williamsburg, Brooklyn is known for being home to some amazing beards. So it was only natural that the National Beard and Moustache Championships were held at Kings Theatre in Flatbush on Saturday.
Hundreds of people showed up to the event, where nearly every state in the country was represented. A few international competitors joined as well. The championships were split into three different competitions — moustache, partial beard and full beard — and there were 18 different categories in all.
"I live in an area close to Crown Heights, which has a lot of great beards," said Nayland Blake of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, who took third place in "Full Beard, Natural" category. "It's a big, big beard community, so I wanted to make sure [to] represent Brooklyn with the championships being here."
Winners for each of the 18 categories were selected by a panel of judges who voted on overall appearance, style and personality. Originality and creativity were also judged in the freestyle competitions. One winner, Scott Metts, who won the "Full Beard, Styled Moustache" category, was invited back to next year's championship competition with flight and hotel amenities included, although the destination is not yet known.
Brooklyn had a few representatives in the competition, but contestants often travel around the entire country entering similar competitions. Stephen Pofelski came all the way from Utah, where he works as a Wildland Firefighter in Salt Lake City. This was his first competition, and he said it was a good excuse to visit New York City.
"People always ask me how I get my beard like this. I don't style it or use any product; it just comes like this," Pofelski said. "I work for the forest service, so I don't shave for six months at a time. I decided to just let it grow at one point, and now it's been a year-and-a half. It's almost a defense mechanism, because if your beard starts to singe, then you know you're too close to the fire."
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