Recently I heard an ad on the radio for a Tattoo & Art event at the Santa Maria Fairpark that grabbed my attention because it included a beard competition run by the LA Beard and Mustache Club. I haven’t been able to find my way into another bearding event since I went to the Wiskerino Contest at the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival in 2011 so I was stoked at the prospect of a new competition nearby. This competition at the Central City Tattoo & Arts Festival was going to have 4 categories: full beard, partial beard, mustache, and freestyle. I decided that I would take a crack at freestyle with the help of my housemates.

A couple nights ago Kelly did a quick test on my beard with a curling iron to see how that would go. It wasn’t bad so we came up with a plan and figured we’d learn as we went on Sunday. When Sunday morning came around we set up a beard styling battle station. Flat iron, curling iron, brushes, combs, wax, hair spray, mousse, and other various lady potions that I won’t pretend to even begin to understand as someone who hasn’t had hair on top of his head for over a decade. After chatting out the strategy a bit Kelly got to work straightening and separating my beard into pieces. She said she was always the one in high school that did hair for prom and homecoming but styling a beard was a lot harder.

Section by section we got the general shape together but not everything was going our way. We borrowed some bonus hair products from our other housemate Shannon and messed with those for a while. We probably played with my beard for at least and hour. Somewhere in the middle of all that I did my mustache myself since I’ve done that plenty of times, and eventually we called it done.

Transporting my carefully coiffed face was a challenge because we were in the midst of an enormous windstorm. We had dust clouds blowing out of the farm fields and across the freeway, it was nuts. Luckily the bulk of the festival’s activities were indoors but we still needed to make it to the convention center building. The wind was relentless and I tried to use my jacket as a wind break. That worked out well enough and my beard only needed a little bit of touch up once we got inside.

Kelly and I did a lap of the building to check out all the cool tattoo stuff. I was stoked when I found the LA Beard Club’s booth and they were stoked to see me since they didn’t have a freestyle bearder signed up yet. While putting my name on the list I thought, I like those odds :) After signing up we had some time to kill so we kept poking around by the booths and chatting up strangers. It sounds like Saturday was a lot busier but the place had a fun vibe.

At 2:00 they rounded up the bearded folks and ran through each category to determine a winner. A fantastically full bearded tattoo artist won full beard, another artist won the mustache category with a great handlebar, an alaskan whaler won the partial beard award, and yours truly walked away with the freestyle award! For what it’s worth it was a very lonely division, but if there had been an overall beard category I think I would have had a shot at being top 3.

After the contest Kelly and I hung out a little bit to chat and take some pictures with people from the beard club. I was very happy to walk out with something to validate the existence of the adventure beard. I figure the next time someone recommends I shave it I can remind them that it is an undefeated championship level beard… it’s rather prestigious to have it around, haha. I’m not sure when I’ll end up in another beard competition but I hope to keep the streak alive and go 3 for 3!


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