The Real Bearded Men’s Countdown of...
Are you proud of your beard? Since you first grew it we reckon you’ve shown it off to every friend or relative you have numerous times, but how about showing it off to the general public, not just while getting to work or on vacation, but in a competition? Awards and prizes aren’t the big thing here! It’s the bragging rights and kudos that comes with entering – and possibly winning - a competition that’s the Holy Grail.
There are many beard competitions across the USA - indeed across the world – from small, local gatherings with a core number of participants, to huge events with hundreds of competitors and thousands of spectators. Whatever their size, wherever they’re held, they all have key points in common. They are, of course, looking for the longest, or craziest, and most beautiful beards. They are invariably fun times, meeting brothers-in-beard, comparing styles and products, and making new friends. And most of these competitions have the duel motive of raising funds for a good cause, so while you’re basking in the glory (or not!) you’re also doing your bit to support some worthwhile charity, locally, nationally, or internationally.
Most events also include side stalls and shows, with live music, entertainment, vendors selling beard products etc, food, and usually other activities suitable for the whole family. Contestants, their mates, their families and the general viewing public all get to have a great time in a friendly, safe environment.
Most competitions are ‘event’ contests which concentrate of how your beard or mustache looks; however, some are actually beard-growing contests held over a period of months (documentary evidence required in the form of photos), with a start date from clean shaven to an end date where each entry is examined for length, thickness and style, created in the given time span. ‘Event’ competitions have a range of categories, most divided between natural and styled. Natural is just that – your beard or mustache just as nature intended, without the intervention of waxes and other paraphernalia, and often concentrating on healthy beards at various lengths. The technique of how to trim neatly leaving free flowing but gracious locks is a must. Styled categories encourage the use products and tools, and there will be a range of styles to choose from so it’s best to know your beard styles and shapes early on and how to achieve them beforehand. The craziest may be the freestyle classes which will attract many extraordinary designs, and if there is a fake class, anyone can enter – ladies, kids etc – providing they create something resembling a beard, which can be made of absolutely anything! Let the imagination run wild in either category!
Did you know Real Bearded Men host beard competitions? You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook to find out where they’ll be next, and whether you enter or not, the RBM gang are always pleased to meet all fellow pogonophiles at these events.
Meanwhile here’s our current countdown for the most exciting competitions worldwide...
10. Beards Of Hope Competition, Australia
We’re starting our Top Ten with an online contest, to get you in the mood for sporting your facial creation to the general public and having it judged for all to see, but without the stress of having to appear live! Essentially all about fundraising for the charity Bears Of Hope but you don’t have to be an Aussie, or living in the land of Oz, to take part; however, if you’re talented enough to win, prizes will only be sent inland - but it’s all about the participation, right? Fundamentally this is a beard growing competition rather than a style and creation affair, so it’s great for the first time beard grower, although there is a creative category if you’re starting out with a beard already grown. For ‘Best Beard’ you have three months to grow something awesome, and it works like this: On 1st June you submit a photo by email, either of your clean shaven features, or with just the rudimentary beardy beginnings. Then get photo’d again on or about 31st August, and send in this updated visage by 15th September. For ‘Most Creative’, just email in your beard-enhanced image by 16th September, and here anything goes – be as innovative and ingenious as you dare and manipulate and sculpt until your heart’s content! You may, of course, enter both parts of the competition. Entrants are uploaded onto the Beards Of Hope facebook page and ‘likes’ are accumulated, the most popular deciding the winners.
9. Epic Beard Competition, USA
We say start small to build up your confidence! Located in WA, USA, the Spokane Beard and Mustache organization, with sponsorship from Honest Amish Health and Beauty, hosts the annual Epic Beard Competition as a part competition and part fundraiser, raising money for a great cause. For the 2019 event they are donating to Free Rein Therapeutic Riding, Spokane. With 12 categories, anyone can enter, and although they have an upper limit of 40 entries per class, this is a small event and some categories will only attract 3 people, so it’s worth entering to get your contest skills off to a good start. We think the Spokane Epic Beard Competition could become a bigger, better known event as it’s well organized and attracting more competitors and spectators each year, and this year they have procured two esteemed judges, one of which is a World Beard & Moustache Association Vice President, Beard Team USA® Board Member, former President and Vice President of the NACBMA (North American Competitive Beard and Moustache Alliance) and a regular judge at competitions throughout America. That’s just a few of his credentials and with support like that you can see why we think this little competition will be going places! Competitors pay an entry fee but, being a charity event, there are no actual prizes; the kudos of taking part and maybe winning should be enough to put a smile on your face, and knowing you are doing a good deed by putting your hard earned cash in a deserving pocket.
8th Annual Epic Beard Competition, October 12th, 2019
8. Braw Beard and Moustache Championships, Scotland
The original beard contest of Scotland, the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships is the biggest in this relatively small country but open to everyone from anywhere in the world. Since its beginnings it has become incredibly popular, selling out at every previous event; competitors have traveled in not only from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England, but also from Germany, Austria, Netherlands and USA. Categories include Best Partial Beards (Goatees, Chinstraps etc), Best Full Beards of differing lengths (both natural and styled), Best Freestyle, Best Moustache, Best Ginger Beard (well, they have to really, considering this is Scotland’s default hair color!), and if you’ve failed at all the above, Best Fake Beard where you can be as creative as you can get growing your false beard from any material you like (which doesn’t have to be ‘hairy’!) Every entrant receives a gift bag, and there are prizes for the winners. The best part of this event is that it’s held in a brewery, so what’s not to like!
The next contest will be held on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 at Drygate Brewery, Glasgow.
7. Russian Beard and Mustache Championships, Russia
An annual event, this truly Russian contest has been running since 2013, organized by Borodatyh.net (Russian Beard Club) and judged by Beard Team Russia (a group of bearded and barbel (mustache) teams participating in international competitions). Its main purpose is to select more awesome competitors to join Beard Team Russia to represent the country in further contests around the world. In 2015, for the first time, they represented their country in the biennial World Championship of beards and mustaches in Austria, and in 2017 they competed in the World Championship in Texas, USA, with one team member winning third place in the Imperial Mustache category. Contestants come from all over Russia and every year it gains popularity. One competitor commented to the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper “I grew this beard for seven years. For this kind of beard you need to completely turn away from women.” Among the many categories are the ‘Woodcutter’s Beard’ and the ‘Fake Beard’, the latter in which anyone can enter, not just men but ladies and children too, providing they fashion some sort of beard or mustache for themselves out of anything they wish. Competitions were originally held in April when Russia celebrates Beard Day, commemorating the removal of Beard Tax which had been in existence from 1698 but abolished in 1772. However, the VII Russian beard and mustache championship will be held on October 29, 2019.
6. International South German Beard Championship, Germany
Organized by beard club "Belle Mustache", this popular competition is open to both German contestants and those from abroad, regardless of whether you are a member of a club or just competing on your own. Anyone who sports a beard is encouraged to enter! It is run in accordance with the Association of German Bearded Clubs rules and the 18 different categories mean there is something for everyone. "Belle Mustache" is keen that new participants are welcomed as they aim to attract men to the world of facial hair, and it’s a great opportunity to gain competition experience as it is hosted in a fun atmosphere of shared interest. For 2019 it is the only beard championship to take place in Germany, although "Belle Mustache" organizes amateur beard championships throughout the country (as well as Austria) to discover new talent. They say their motive is to make beards more popular, to offer tips and tricks to manage your facial hair in everyday life, and to run competitions under the motto “From the beard to the master beard!" for a successful basis of beard culture.
5. The British Beard and Moustache Championships, UK
At its inaugural event in 2012, The British Beard and Moustache Championships was an overwhelming success with a total sell out; contestants and spectators arrived in their hundreds! This first event was organized by Handlebar Club and The British Beard Club but is hosted by different beard and moustache clubs each time in its biennial calendar. It is also held in various locations around the UK, making it an attractive occasion for die-hard pogonophiles as well as a local audience. With many contest categories including the incredibly creative, there is also a round for Fake Beards, popular for those beardless contestants including ladies and children. Each event organizer may select a charity to sponsor, raising many thousands of pounds every time.
The 5th British Beard and Moustache Championships 2020 will be hosted by the ibeardclub in association with The Whiskered West Midlands, 20 August, in Rugby, UK.
4. BEARDsterdam, Holland
BEARDsterdam is the largest beard gathering in Europe and if you are willing to travel to a beard event, this is the one worth going to! It’s an open competition with entries from many countries across Europe and worldwide – over 16 countries are already represented for the 2019 event – and each individual is ultimately competing to be awarded Best European Beard. Organized by the Dutch chapter of the Bearded Villains, it raises a substantial amount of funding and awareness for the charity The KiKa Foundation, a research foundation for childhood cancer. Its slogan is ‘Kinderen kankervrij’ – ‘Kids cancer free’. Along with the many different categories in the beard competition, other attractions include live music, tattoo-artists, barbers, beard product merchandise, clothes and more. It provides a really great basis in which to mingle with other beard fans and the event prides itself on the sharing of ‘good vibes’.
BEARDsterdam, Pakhuis West, Amsterdam, 11th May 2019.
3. The Great American Beard and Moustache Championships, USA
Another biennial event held for charity, The Great American Beard and Moustache Championships attracts well over 200 competitors, with more visiting year on year. It’s organized by the North American Competitive Beard and Moustache Alliance (NACBMA), a group of clubs advocating the fashionableness of beards, promoting facial hair competitions, and helping to coordinate and schedule various beard-related events. With over 21 contest categories at this auspicious championship, including classes for mustaches alone such as the Dali, the van Dyke and the Hungarian Handlebar, everyone with some sort of facial growth can find a category for themselves and will be able to enter. In line with this being a charitable event, there are no cash prizes but the pride and esteem associated with winning is kudos enough!
The 2020 Championship: Salt Lake City, Utah, August 2020.
With a different city venue chosen each time, this annual competition attracts hundreds of competitors, all hoping to aspire to be the ‘Best Beard in the USA’, cheered on by an audience of thousands. Although not a competition for the faint hearted, anyone with facial hair can register to compete and membership of a beard club is not a requirement.
Organized and hosted since 2010 by Beard Team USA® (who represent the country in competitions worldwide), there are 18 categories of mustache and beard styles and the grand prize allows the winner to enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to the competition the following year. A percentage of the ticket sales is donated to a charity local to the venue city.
1. The World Beard and Moustache Championships®
Our № 1 in our Top Ten Countdown has to be the World Beard and Mustache Championship, the world’s premier competition, where the winner walks away with the title of having the World’s Best Beard, along with a plaque to prove it to all their disbelieving mates, national and international media exposure, and the entitlement – indeed privilege – to boast of the honor whenever and wherever possible! Beards and mustaches competing at this level are the best of the best, and although anyone can enter (for participants from the United States, membership of Beard Team USA® is preferred), the prestigious facial hair on show only allows for the professional pogonophile who is all but making a career out of his facial hair! This biennial competition is run by the World Beard and Mustache Association (WBMA) and located in a different country each year. It offers 16 categories of mustaches and beards, with both freestyle and specific facial hair styles.
The World Beard and Moustache Championships®, 2019: Hosted by the Snorrenclub, Antwerp, Belgium, 17th, 18th & 19th May.
Could a beard competition be for you? Could your mustache be fit to muster? If so, what are you waiting for? You’ve gone to all that effort to grow and maintain that lovely mane; why not show it off and see if it can win you some extra kudos? If you don’t know of any contests near you, just Google your town or area for beard competitions, and you’re likely to find something that would provide you with an entertaining day out and maybe a chance of an award to be proud of! And don’t forget, Real Bearded Men are proud to present their own contests around the country, and it’d be great to meet you and your beard at one!