Bearded & Tschorn: National beard battle begins with Germany's Willi 'hair pretzel' Chevalier
The first-ever U.S. National Beard and Moustache Championship got underway at noon on Saturday in Bend, Ore., with a news conference that found judges and VIPs fielding questions on everything from the categories judges were most looking forward to ("I'm going to have to go with freestyle," said Miss Oregon 2009, C.C. Barber) to the connection between bass playing and beard-bearing ("The bass guitar and the beard both act like a kind of anchor," answered judge, former beard champion and bass player Burke Kenny).
But the highlight -- at least for those who move in the circles of competitive facial hair -- was the appearance of Germany's Willi Chevalier, a legend in the sport of bearding and multiple-time international champion, in his trademark black-and-white checkerboard jacket and white six-prong "hair pretzel" beard.
Chevalier, who was absent from last year's world championships in Anchorage (allegedly because of an accident that cost him part of his prize-winning beard), is an odds-on favorite to win (even though it's a national championship, there is no restriction on participation by international competitors), and he told the crowd -- through a translator -- that it took him nearly three hours to shape his tonsorial tendrils.
The preliminary round of judging is almost complete at the Les Schwab Amphitheater here, with finalists returning to the stage for a second round of judging at 7 p.m.
-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Bend, Ore.More Bearded & Tschorn on All The Rage
Photo: Willi Chevalier, a legend in the world of competitive facial hair, left, appears with Jack Passion, two-time world champion, at a Saturday news conference that kicked off the first-ever national beard and mustache competition in Bend, Ore. Credit: Adam Tschorn.