Sunday, February 18, 2007

For God's Sake, Throw Away Your Razors

That thing is pointy, fellas.

Representing your country in international competition is an achievement by itself. But, when you represent your country in an international competition of moustache and beard growing, you are doing considerably better. May the best facial hair win.

As soon as we found out that the World Moustache and Beard Championships was an actual event and not some figment of our imagination, we had to learn more. So, we decided the best person to contact was Phil Olsen, the founder and self-appointed captain of Beard Team USA. He graciously agreed to share with us his extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of facial hair competitions. Here is what we managed to learn from the questions we asked Phil:

How did you get started in the world of competitive facial hair?

I stumbled into the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Sweden in 1999 and immediately realized the USA was under-represented. In 2003, I hosted the first-ever WBMC in America, which took place in Carson City, Nevada. Since then, interest in the WBMC has grown here in the states.

What are Beard Team USA's chances in this year's world championships?

It is too early to say as there are still six months to go. It is clear that staying the course will not lead to victory. We need an all-out surge of patriotic Americans willing to support their country by growing beards and moustaches. A non-binding resolution is not enough.

What is your personal favorite style of facial hair? Ours has always been the "friendly mutton chops", which is basically a long pair of sideburns connected by a moustache.

I like a long, symmetrical, round, solid, full beard like the one I have.

It is a widely-known fact that the Civil War era was a golden age for the world of facial hair, with such pioneers as Ambrose Burnside and Jeb Stuart leading the way. Do you have a favorite moustache/beard from the mid-1800s?

U.S. Grant as seen on the $50 bill.

One of the most known and admired moustaches in recent history was worn by Alex Trebek, host of popular day-time gameshow Jeopardy. Do you think his decision to shave the moustache off was a foolish one?

I don't respond to questions about Alex Trebek unless phrased in the form of an answer.

George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, forbids any of his players to wear facial hair. On the other hand, Charlie Finley, who owned the Oakland A's during the 1970's, encouraged all his players to grow beards and moustaches. Which strategy do you think is more effective?

Clearly Finley's strategy is more effective. The Yankees would not have a chance at the World Beard and Moustache Championships, but the 70's A's would no doubt have done well.

Are there any women who compete in world-class beard competition?

I don't know. Contestants are not tested for gender.

Do you think your sport will increase in popularity in the near future?

Surely, especially once we demonstrate how shaving contributes to global warming.

Again, a big thank you goes out to Phil Owen for helping us out and answering the above questions. Be sure to check out his blog to stay up to date on all Beard Team USA news. Hopefully, we can check in with him after the World Championships in September to see how the US team did.

And, for the record, shaving that moustache was the worst career move Trebek ever made.


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