Another year has passed, and another successful Beard Event has been completed. The Wessex Beard & Moustache Competition was held on the 18th of April just passed and the organisers cannot be more pleased with the event.
With nearly 300 in attendance and over 100 competitors, the competition saw a huge spike in funds raised for this year which went to the mental health charity Mind, doubling the previous year's efforts.
The event was held at The 94 Club on Middle Street in Yeovil and saw people travel as far away as Norway to attend.
I managed to get a hold of Andy Teague, President of The Wessex Beardsmen, and asked him a few questions about the event:
How much and what kind of planning goes into as event such as this?
"Organizing a Beard and Moustache competition requires a lot of planning. A lot of hours go in behind the scenes organizing the big things like the venue, but also the little things like making sure each judge has a pen. Negotiating sponsors, selling tickets, paperwork, it all takes time, but, every second of time put in is worth it when you pull off what some people describe the following day as 'the best facial hair competition (they've) ever been to'."
How do you go about choosing which charity to hold the event for?
"The first competition we did for 'The Make-A-Wish Foundation' because my daughter had been ill and she had a wish granted by them, so they were an obvious choice. Two weeks before the first competition a good friend of mine died, and later on another died (around the same time as the world lost Robin Williams), both after long struggles with depression, so I chose 'Mind' the leading mental health charity in the UK to benefit from our second competition."
What process is undergone to determine who the judges are?
"One of our judges were chosen because when we announced the competition on our Facebook page she left a comment asking to be a judge, the others were chosen because of their connection to the world of competitive facial hair. At bigger competitions you tend to find more 'celebrities' but it's difficult to find famous people who are interested in judging smaller competitions!"
What aspects of the competitors and their beards do the judges look for?
"The competitors were judged on 4 criteria: presentation, personality, how well their beard or Moustache fitted the category description and how good their facial hair was in terms of quality. The judges were also able to select one person from each category as their 'favourite' which gave that person extra points."
What inspired you to incorporate a womens & childrens category in the comp?
"Most competitions do a women's handmade category, it's cool to give the ladies something to get involved in. The children's category isn't such a common one, the first time I saw it was a the British championships in 2012, we have it, because our event is a family one, kids tickets are also free. As a father of four I understand all to well that family days out aren't cheap, so if you're a dad and you bring your kids to our show not only can they get involved, but it won't break the bank bringing them!"
What plans do you have for the future in regards to the beard competition?
"Bigger, better, beardier...... That's all I can tell you at the moment :)"
Do you have any hints or tips for up and coming bearding competitors?
"Yes, get involved and don't worry about winning. Have a few beers, meet new people and have a good time. People rarely take a trophy on their first outing, use your first time to find out what it's all about and enjoy yourself."
In your opinion, what was the highlight of this years event?
"The whole event was brilliant, it's difficult to pin point an overall highlight, but, we had one guy propose to his girlfriend on stage and they left the event as an engaged couple so I guess it's got to be that "
Here is a full list of winners and runners up from the event:
Photography Credit - Bertrand Vessier @ http://www.bertrandvessier.com/
If only one thing is clear ladies and gents, it seems our friends at The Wessex Beardsmen are far from done when it comes to events like this. I'm sure I speak for every beard lover out there when I say we are looking forward with baited breath to what the future holds.
Stay bearded & beautiful people!