Friday, December 15, 2006

The Way Forward

At the last World Beard and Moustache Championships held in Berlin in 2005, the USA took a wooping.

While it is probably not necessary to appoint a study group, nevertheless, if Beard Team USA is to succeed in its quest to make the USA a power in international facial hair competitions, it is now time to analyze the situation carefully, consider all points of view, and plan the way forward. It may be a bit of an exaggeration to say that the situation is grave and deteriorating, but at least one thing is clear: Staying the course will not lead to victory.

In Berlin, perennial powerhouse Germany won first-place trophies in fourteen of the seventeen categories. Our allies from Great Britain won two of the categories (FuManchu and, appropriately enough, English) while the USA had to settle for a face-saving but disappointing single gold by American hero Toot Joslin in the Sideburns category.

There is a good reason for Germany's overwhelming dominance. It has to do with the competition categories. Our German friends take the category descriptions very seriously. In the past, our approach for the most part was to simply show up with our beards and moustaches styled (or unstyled) the way we like them and hope that the judges liked them too. We emphasized individuality and self-expression while our German opponents focused on styling their facial hair to conform to the category descriptions. Whatever our personal philosophies might be, if we are to become a force at the WBMC, we now need to engage in category specific training.

The Handlebar Club recently announced the official rules and categories for Brighton. You can see them here. For the most part, the Handlebar Club has decided to go with the traditional categories as originally formulated by the German beard clubs. Notably, not all beards are treated equally. Also noteworthy is the fact that the categories are heavily weighted toward various unusual kinds of moustaches. In fact, out of the 17 categories, as many as nine of them are what English speakers would call moustaches. This is true even though moustaches seem less common today than beards.

At this point, the best strategy for members of America's team is to simply let their facial hair grow and see what develops. Shortly before the competition, we will be making stategic trimming decisions designed to bring victory to the USA.

But don't worry, while we may trim, we have no plans to cut and run. There will be no graceful exit by BTUSA.


At December 16, 2006 3:37 PM, Blogger The band Without A Name said...

Split ends are about the only thing coming off of my beard nowadays. I may be ready for 2008...keep your whiskers crossed.

At December 16, 2006 3:50 PM, Blogger The band Without A Name said...

Oops, I meant 2009...

At December 18, 2006 7:34 PM, Blogger The General said...

Phil, you are dead on with letting the hair grow!

In Amberg, after steering me out of Garibaldi and into Verdi, Heinz Christaphel advised me to let my beard grow until just before the (any) contest and then trim to suit my catagory. If you go to the NOVABeard Blog and look at the photo of Franz (Peter) Pill and the General, ( sorry about the blur ) you will see that Herr Pill has a full beard right at the max allowed in Garibaldi, and the General is about (almost)half that. Because I had been trimming both my Stache and Beard to look like Robert E. Lee, I did not have the hair needed to compete in either Garibaldi, or the Stache needed in Verdi. In Germany it is, "Bart Wichs!" for BT USA it is time for "let the hair grow!"

At August 05, 2007 1:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question ?
how does one join the team?
Judging from the team photos , my beard length is longer than any member's photo.
feel free to e-mail me for a photo .
send to

At February 23, 2008 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm 16 and I would like to do I begin training. My teachers call me pork-chop because off my beautiful sideburns growing down my face, and when I heard that there was a competition for such a thing, I was ecstatic!
E-Mail me


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