There is one simple truth about me: I love beards. And my love is pure. I truly adore facial hair in all shapes, lengths, and sizes. Mutton chops, goatees, soul patches, the handlebar, the fu manchu, sideburns, stubble . . . even peach fuzz has a warm, hairy place in my heart. But I must admit, I'm a sucker for the classic full beard. It's the perfect Cleveland accessory: a scarf for your face. And as it turns out, I'm not the only one around these parts that appreciates whiskers.
Beards of the Old Northwest and Northeast Ohio Facial Hair Club
There are two extraordinary clubs in the Cleveland area that celebrate the bearded figure: The Beards of the Old Northwest, "a place for Bearded dudes to talk about stuff, and be awesome in beardedness" and the Northeast Ohio Facial Hair Club, "a group committed to promoting facial hair of all kinds". This past April 6 these two burly clubs joined forces to host their first annual Buckshot Beard Bonanza centered around beardliness respect and a fundraising effort for the Kidney Foundation. And where did such an event take place, you ask? At Whiskers Pub in Brookpark, naturally.
Respect the Beard
Categories for the competition included:
Partial Beard Natural
Partial Beard Styled
Braided / Dreaded Facial Hair
Full Beard (less than 12”)
Full Beard (more than 12”)
Full Beard Freestyle
Tiny Tim (less than 3")
Ladies’ Most Realistic Facial Hair
Ladies’ Most Creative Facial Hair
Men with strong, manly names like Neil, Vinnie, Chuck and Rocky all took turns stepping on stage to showcase their bristles to a seasoned, beardly panel of three (all appropriately adorned in judges robes). The Buckshot Beard Bonanza was a crowded, jovial, face-hair fest. There is just nothing like grabbing a beer and watching a parade of gloriously bearded gents compete for an upper lip symbol of manhood.
Beyond the local crowd, other whisker clubs at Buckshot included: Wooster Whisker Club, Bellefontaine Body Bearders, Steel City Beard & Mustache Club, Bluebeards Original, Grand Rapids Order of Whiskers, and Derby City Whisker Club.
Keep it Classy and Don't Be a Stranger
Also in attendance were a handful of vendors including CanYouHandlebar.com: a classy company that specializes in beard/mustache oils and waxes. Doug (a dapper, bearded fellow who fittingly sported a handlebar) worked the booth and showcased some fine products. Be sure to check out CanYouHandlebar.com to get yourself a handful of high quality, handcrafted beard-care grooming essentials.
After attending this event it became very clear that there is a large, local community of facial hair aficionados in Cleveland. If you're too impatient to wait an entire year for the next annual Buckshot Beard Bonanza, check out Beards of the Old Northwest and Northeast Ohio Facial Hair Club's Facebook pages and find out when their next meetings are.
- Charley Burns