As is typical of most people in this area, I understate. This was one time when I should not have given into this good characteristic. The TRF Beard and Mustache Competition was held last week at the Pennington County Fair and the response was over the top!
That day, the competitors occupied an intimate nook adjacent to the porta-potties. When I arrived, I thought that if twenty people showed-I’d be happy. Imagine my surprise when, at forty minutes prior to the competition, the space was one-third full! We were supposed to start at one o’ clock but people were still trying to find seats and the organizers were scrambling for more benches. We even had people leaning up against the fence who couldn’t find seats.
The competition was just plain cool. I didn’t know what to expect that day but what happened was so nice. A wildly diverse group of people, joined only by the fact they possess facial hair, found so much in common. The crowd included those who enjoyed the show from a baby carriage up to those who attended so they could see their grandchild compete. The competitors were all pretty outgoing and fun to interview and enjoyed their little piece of spotlight.
Our judges had traveled from six hours away. Dennis, Doug and Christa made this trip for the love of the competition. I would interview each competitor then send them to the judges table. I could then hear them behind me laughing and having fun as they asked each competitor about their beard. It was just that sort of a joyous competition. I mean, at some point, every one of us simultaneously hit some sort of crossroads next to those porta-potties that made us smile. It wasn’t the love of money or fame but rather just the fun of being with other people. It was crazy.
The competition was divided into six divisions; mustache, partial beard, lady whiskers, freestyle, business beard and full beard. The divisions are self-explanatory except for lady whiskers. This division relies more on creativity that anything else. The ladies made beards from felt, pipe cleaners and even their very own locks tied to look like a beard. Contestants were judged on 1.Length 2. Epicness/Mass 3. Density/Thickness 4. Presentation/Outfit and Crowd Response. Some of the competitors even chose clever names and costuming to support the theme of their facial hair. We had only one freestyle beard competitor but he was such showman and such a good interview that he carried the class. Scott Brandon had enough beard that he was able to pull it up over his head, place a hat to hold it in place then thread sunglasses through all that mass so that he looked like Cousin It from the Addams Family-classic stuff.
At the end of the competition, Curt Howe represented the Fair Board and gave us some really nice compliments on how well-planned, how entertaining and how much fun had been the competition. Thanks to those who attended or competed and I have a strong feeling we will see you again at next year’s Pennington County Fair.