Bearded & Tschorn: Dockers brand signs on as sponsor for Bend's upcoming battle of the bearded
The haj of the hirsute is in full swing, with an impressive slate of fur-bearing faces descending on Bend, Ore., for the 2010 National Beard and Moustache Championships. And one of them will go home with a year's supply of Dockers.
The Levi Strauss-owned brand, which has recently been in a full-court press to accent all things manly with its "Wear the Pants" campaign (including a high-profile Super Bowl ad campaign), has signed on as a sponsor, which means the winner of the Best in Show: Dockers King of Whiskers award will receive a year's supply of Dockers (up to a $600 value, though that's barely three pair of the label's new premium-priced pants), with winners in the other categories each taking home a $100 Dockers gift certificate.
The brand apparently approached the event organizers about the sponsorship. "For us, it sounded like an exciting event," said Dockers spokesperson Shaun Lewis. "We like what it represents; it's all about being masculine, and what could be more masculine and manly than a beard and mustache competition?"
As of June 4, according to Beard Team USA's Phil Olsen,160 facial hair competitors have registered to compete in four categories, though he expects the final number vying for $5,000 in prizes and bragging rights in four categories (and a fifth awarded at the judges' discretion) will be closer to 200 after Saturday morning's late registration.
Joining previously announced master of ceremonies Jack Passion will be a panel of judges that includes the reigning Miss Oregon (C.C. Barber), fishing boat captain Harry Lewis (from Season 5 of the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" series), Burke Kenny, 2007 world champion in the full beard, styled category, and Sarwan Singh, who holds a Guinness World Record for the world's longest beard.
According to organizers, the event will try to set a world record of its own on Saturday, having asked the Guinness folks to certify its group photo-op as the world's largest gathering of bearded individuals.
Stay tuned -- I'll be filing dispatches via Twitter and blogging about the bearded from Bend throughout the competition.-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: Freestyle beard competitors Hans Gassner (left) and B.J. Averell (right) at the 2009 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Anchorage. Credit: Michael Dinneen / For The Times