On November 7, 2016 the Spokane Beard & Mustache Club put on their 5th Epic Beard Competition in downtown Spokane. The competition was fantastic and full of energy with a huge turnout of people from all over Washington, a very strong (and lively) presence from Portland, and many others from all over the country.
A fierce group of competitors in categories ranging from 3” business beards all the way to 12”+. The competition also had several entertaining categories including build-a-beard, couples, and freestyle.
The judges had their work cut out for them! In the end, each category had astonishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The grand title championship went to Portland's Stewart Van Rys and his incredible mustache. The energy from the competitors and audience was incredible. With everyone’s help, the competition raised over $23,000 for a local animal charity (River's Wish Animal Sanctuary).
As a first time competitor in the first beard event that I’ve attended, I was quite nervous to compete and have my beard judged. Although I lost a tie for 3rd place for the 6-12” category, I gained a lot of knowledge about how to have a great show beard. A few things to consider if you’re considering signing up for a competition:
- Make sure not to over wash your beard the week prior to the competition. This will allow for the natural oils to make your beard look healthy and shiny. Experiment with the correct amount of beard oil to make your beard shine, but not look overly oily.
- Decide which beard style you want to have. Several people poofed out their beards to look wider, whereas others kept their beards styled down. This is personal preference, but it's important to decide how you think your beard looks best.
- Think long and hard about what to wear. Colors/patterns will affect your performance. If you have a thinner beard, avoid patterns or logos, as they will show through your beard. If your beard is majestically thick, rock whatever you want. Remember the color of your shirt can help your beard stand out for the audience and judges. Contrast is key- try a light shirt if you have a dark beard, or a dark shirt if you have a light beard. Lastly, many people were dressed up in costumes or themes, which can be fun. However, be cautious that the costume doesn’t take away focus from your beard.
- Lastly, but most importantly, do not worry about getting up on stage and being judged!! I was quite nervous, but the entire competition, including being judged, was a LOT of fun and it was good times with great people. My advice to anyone considering entering a competition is to go for it – you won’t regret it!
Cory A. Gall, PhD
About our guest beard blogger:
Dr. Cory Gall is a research scientist at Washington State University and at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has degrees from Oakland University, Old Dominion University, and Washington State University. Additionally, Cory was a research fellow at the CDC in the Malaria Entomology branch. His specialization is using ecology and molecular biology to study vector-borne diseases and infectious disease ecology. Specifically, Cory is interested in finding eco-friendly biological control methods to fight tick-borne diseases that cause human and animal diseases. Outside of the laboratory, he enjoys traveling, wildlife photography, roasting coffee, and being an advocate for beards in the professional workplace.