10/11/2011 11:27 am ET Updated Dec 11, 2011

Finalists Announced, Voting Opens, For Coveted Goulet Award

After more than 500 nominations, the American Mustache Institute (AMI) today announced 21 finalists and opened voting for the 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award.

Unlike many facial hair-related awards, The Goulet award is not a "best mustache" contest. Rather, it recognizes the person best contributing to the Mustached American lifestyle over the past year, and the winner will be announced Oct. 28 in Chicago at 'Stache Bash 2011, kicking off the Movember campaign benefiting the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.

"The diversity of our finalists speak to the great things Mustached Americans are doing across our great nation," said Dr. Aaron Xavier Perlut, chairman of AMI. "Unfortunately, there were many worthy candidates left on the cutting room. But come 'Stache Bash 2011 in Chicago, we will crown a deserving winner."

Finalists selected by AMI's certified mustacheology analysis unit include military officers Michael Van Ert and Richard Ashford; philanthropists Sam Childers and Ted Sjureth; politicians Herman Cain and Jimmy McMillan; Express Scripts CEO George Paz; sports figures John Axford, Mike Ditka, Michael Irvin, and Collin Balester; pop-culture figures Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bob Kevioan of the "Bob & Tom" radio show; and the annual animated choice -- Chicago Tribune online ambassador Colonel Tribune.

To see the full finalists panel and vote, click here.

The 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award honors the late and legendary Robert Goulet, whose voice, trademark mustache, sense of humor, and black leather jackets represented a quadruple-threat of talent the American Mustache Institute is proud to salute.

Past winners include Orlando-area firefighter Brian Sheets, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Clay Zavada, and retired New York City police detective Tim Galvin (read their stories here).

'Stache Bash is the American Mustache Institute's annual costume-heavy music and mustache charitable benefit featuring an open bar with live music from iPop, The Flavor Savers, and a performance from U.S. Air Guitar Champion Romeo Dance Cheetah.

The event, to be held at Joe's Bar on Weed St. in Chicago on Oct. 28, will kick off the Movember the global moustache-growing charity campaign raising awareness and funds for cancers affecting men. In the U.S., Movember funds benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.