Bearding Man mastermind Jason Stauffer can't remember a specific instance that inspired him to create the unique event. However, he does know that when it comes down to it, the facial hair-themed exposition is all about creating a positive impact with the community, and helping out individuals whose interests and talents stray from the beaten path. In this case, those unique talents come in the form of growing facial hair, which is what makes the Bearding Man Facial Hair Competition such a one-of-a-kind experience. 2014 marked the event's inaugural year, but that didn't stop it from garnering a considerable amount of buzz. This year, Jason expects Bearding Man to continue to build upon its previous success. When asked what makes such a quirky and unconventional event so appealing, he says "The biggest reason people come is the people, and to be a part of something. A facial hair competition is inherently strange, which makes it very approachable, and that really is the heart of Bearding Man; relationships."
Of course, while bearded participants and are the event's backbone, no competition can function properly without some knowledgeable judges. Meaghan Cool, the judging panel's sole female contributor, is eagerly anticipating her first Bearding Man experience, and first time on the judges' side of the table. "I rotate back and forth between women's creative and women's realistic," she says of her experience as a competitor. The dedication and effort Meaghan puts into crafting her beards prove that beard competitions are by no means a "guys only" club. Bearding Man's "fake beard" category opens up the floor to any women who wish to take part in the excitement. Stemming from personal experience, Meaghan offers some advice for first-time competitors, "If Bearding Man is a first comp for someone, I would tell them no worries! I have terrible stage fright, but soon realized the beard community is awesome. I have never met a more accepting group of people!"
Also joining Bearding Man's judging panel is founder of Richmond, Virginia's RVA Beard League, Chad Roberts. With years of competing under his belt, Chad says that a beard competition is "always a remarkable spectacle." In addition to the abundance of creativity and sense of community, Chad also emphasizes the importance of such events' charitable contributions, as beard competitions often benefit communities and local non-profit organizations. "In my grandfather's day, Shriners and Elks Lodges were the social vehicles for community work. I find facial hair clubs to be today's equivalent. We're known for something quirky, but ultimately accomplish great things because of it." In Bearding Man's case, proceeds benefit Bless the Children Home, an orphanage located in Guyana, South America.
We're known for something quirky, but ultimately accomplish great things because of it.
Bearding Man will bring community, music, and a spectacular display of facial hair to The Thought Lot on Saturday, September 5th. Competitor and spectator tickets are available online and at the door for $15. To learn more about the event, judges, performers, vendors, and more, visit Bearding Man's official website or Facebook page.