Beard-growing as a sport is growing even bigger than the beards that are competing.
At least it is in Germany, where 163 facially hirsute men showed up at the 25th Annual International German Beard Championships, which took place this weekend in the city of Bad Schussenried in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
“We’ve never had so many participants,” event organizer Wolfgang Stier told the German website The Local
The competition was especially hairy since the event attracted bearded competitors from the U.S., France, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands to compete to win top prize in such categories as "Kaiser empire moustache," "freestyle whiskers," "musketeer chin beard" and "natural beard with styled moustache."
The highest score a beard buff can recieve is 50 points and Jens Müller from the city of Pforzheim scored 49.5 points for his "trendy beard," while Lutz Giese from Berlin received that amount for a "Chinese chin beard," All Voices reported.
Meanwhile, American Aarne Bielefeld won the freestyle full beard category, and Albert Schmid from Switzerland won the prize for the best beard with a stylish moustache.
As a sport, "bearding" may seem bizarre, but Phil Olsen, who heads Beard Team USA, a loose-knit organization of bearders from all over the country, says there's more to it than meets the eye -- or the chin.
"It takes a lot of skill to get the beard ready for competition. But, like with anything, people with good genes do have a better chance," Olson told The Huffington Post. "Some people pick their parents well and can grow a good beard, just like basketball players who are tall have an advantage."
Although "bearding" has caught on in recent years, Jeffrey Moustache, 25, a Los Angeles photographer, has been growing his English moustache -- which grows out straight across his face like a ruler -- since he was 15 and has gotten it up to 13 inches long. Yet even with such clear devotion, he says he finds it hard to take the idea that bearding is a sport seriously.
"It's pageantry for men. Honestly, you have to laugh at yourself," Moustache told The Huffington Post.
SEE SOME BEARDS THAT ARE A CUT ABOVE THE REST:
Splitting hairs could take on a new meaning in Lancaster, Pa., this weekend, things are guaranteed to get pretty hairy there. thanks to the Second Annual National Beard And Moustache Championships, which take place Oct. 8.
More than 200 facially follicked fellows will compete in five categories: Moustache; Partial Beards (such as sideburns, van dykes, goatees and soul patches); Full Beard, Groomed; Full Beard Natural; and the ever-popular Freestyle category where anything goes.
The event is part of a 12-year plan to make the U.S. a super-power in "bearding," a sport where men see who can grow the most impressive, most stylish beards.
Jeffrey Moustache, 25, a Los Angeles photographer, has been growing his English moustache -- which grows out straight across his face like a ruler -- since he was 15 and has gotten it up to 13 inches long. "The first time I shaved it, I immediately regretted it and saved it under glass as an art project," he said.
Moustache -- whose real name is actually Beard -- says that even though Olsen calls bearding a sport, he doesn't think that it qualifies as one. "It's pageantry for men," he said."
Jack Passion is the two-time world champion in the full beard natural category, by far the most competitive of any category at the World Beard and Moustache Championships. He is also the current European champion and German international champion.