Saturday, August 27, 2005

Categorical Controversy


Jürgen Burkhardt ----------- Karl- Heinz Hille ---------- Schani Mitterhauser

When world championships are at stake, there is bound to be controversy.

Consider the imperial moustache (in German: Kaiserlicher Backenbart) category at the World Beard and Moustache Championships. In Carson City in 2003, this category featured a face off between three facial-hair superstars: Jürgen Burkhardt’s, Karl-Heinz Hille, and Franz "Schani" Mitterhauser. Hille took the category and went on to be crowned overall champ. Schani came in second and Burkhardt settled for third.

Unfortunately, there won’t be a rematch of the Carson City showdown this year. Why not? The rules of the Association of German Beard Clubs (in German: Verband Deutscher Bartclubs or VDB) define an imperial moustache like this: "whiskers growing from the cheeks and upper lip; chin shaved; whiskers growing from the cheeks point upward." In the spring of 2004, the Berlin Beard Club (Hille’s club) protested to the VDB that Burkhardt’s and Mitterhauser’s whiskers did not point upward but curled over. The VDB agreed and required Burkhardt and Mitterhauser to compete in the future in the freestyle category.

So Hille should now be a shoe-in in this category, right? Wrong. Enter newcomer Hans-Peter Jahn, who recently beat out Hille in this category at the Beard Olympics in May.

Hans Peter Jahn

What will happen in Berlin? Stay tuned.

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