Alaska Hosts Battle Of The Beards

Beware the beards! Watch out for whiskers! Make way for moustaches! The World Beard and Moustache Championships are happening Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska. Fantastically furred competitors from all over the world will strut the stage, showing off their facial foliage.

And lest you think growing some fuzz is a simple thing, there are 18 categories being judged this week — from full natural beards to exotic creations like the Fu Manchu, the Alaskan Whaler and the Dali.

Great Hairy Men i i

From left: Gunnar Rosenquist of Sweden, Willi Chevalier of Germany and Franz "Schani" Mitterhauser of Austria. Sheri Manson hide caption

itoggle caption Sheri Manson
Great Hairy Men

From left: Gunnar Rosenquist of Sweden, Willi Chevalier of Germany and Franz "Schani" Mitterhauser of Austria.

Sheri Manson

The German contingent has historically dominated the competition. Elmar Weisser of Brigachtal in southern Germany is the current champion in the full beard freestyle contest. He wowed the judges last time around flaunting a beard sprayed into the shape of London Bridge. But Beard Team USA (yes, there is an official Beard Team USA) took five first place trophies at the last competition, and the team is hoping to do better this time around.

More Hairy Men i i

From left: Jack Passion of the U.S., Burke Kenny of the U.S., and Elmar Weisser of Germany. Courtesy World Beard and Moustache Championships; Zach Ramey hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy World Beard and Moustache Championships; Zach Ramey
More Hairy Men

From left: Jack Passion of the U.S., Burke Kenny of the U.S., and Elmar Weisser of Germany.

Courtesy World Beard and Moustache Championships; Zach Ramey

Americans typically compete in the natural beard categories, says natural full beard titleholder Jack Passion. He's a San Francisco musician whose bushy ginger beard, which he calls "Big Red," reaches past his waist when he sits down. Passion has some strong words for the Germans and their spray-can wielding stylists.

"In the art world, we celebrate the painter, not the canvas-stretcher," he says. "And in this, we're celebrating this guy's beard that somebody else took three hours to do up. When I go to a beard competition, I want to be judged on my beard."

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