Wanted: whiskered wonders
Men, put away your razors and break out the moustache wax and hair spray.
The inaugural High Sierra Beard and Moustache Championships are coming to Truckee July 4, and judging by some of the whiskers seen around town recently, the competition should be hairy.
Inspiration for the event came from local residents Toot Joslin and Dennis Cook, both members of the Truckee Railroad Regulators 601 historical reenactment group, and Phil Olsen, who brought the 2003 World Beard and Moustache Championships to Carson City.
According to Joslin, who competed in the Carson City event at a friend’s urging, his first taste of international competition got him hooked, and he has been growing his sideburns and moustache ” arranged in his signature “free range cowboy” style ” ever since.
Joslin’s chops were big and bold enough to win him the title of State Champion in the Idaho Beard and Moustache Championships this April, and after returning from that competition, he began talking with Cook and Olsen about organizing a local competition here in Truckee.
The three decided that the Truckee’s annual Fourth of July parade would be the perfect venue for their contest and they hope to have all able-bodied contestants make the two-mile walk from the high school to Commercial Row where the judging will take place.
They want to set the competition at the end of the parade downtown, “Because having people there ” cheering, hooting and hollering and getting disruptive right there on the sidewalk ” is half the fun,” Joslin said.
While there are more than 17 official beard and moustache categories in international competitions, contestants in the High Sierra Championships will compete in the full beard, sideburns (shaved chin), cowboy moustache, full moustache, fu manchu and chin or chops categories.
Of course it wouldn’t be as much fun if women and kids couldn’t compete, so there are categories for female impostors and kids with face paint or paste-ons as well.
“We definitely want families involved in this,” Joslin said. “We want to set it up so all the kids who participate get a coupon for ice cream in the parlor and that kind of stuff.”
Prizes for the category winners will include cash and mystery prizes donated by the Railroad Regulators, and of course, the title of High Sierra Champion.
“Bragging rights is real big,” Joslin said. “If you can walk around saying ‘I’m the High Sierra Champion’ that’s big.”
Both Cook and Joslin hope to attract competitors from all over the region.
“In the foothills and the high sierra, and especially the eastern side, there are a lot of people with whiskers. And all different shapes, sizes and configurations,” Cook said. “A lot of the miners in Downieville and out that way … I don’t think most of those guys can afford a razor.”
The organizers hope that the local competition will generate more enthusiasm for facial hair and will bring out the competitive spirit of the whiskered men of the Sierra.
“The Europeans, they take this pretty seriously … There’s always that my-dog’s-bigger-than-your-dog attitude,” Cook added. “Americans are fierce competitors, and they will bring on the whiskers.”