The first Idaho Beard and Moustache Championships brought an array of hirsute fantasies to Ketchum over the weekend.
The event Saturday, April 9, on the deck of the Outabounds Lounge in Warm Springs drew more than 20 competitors, old and young, mostly male, and a few youth facial hair imposters. Some were in it for fun, others for the beer, but at least a dozen were in it to win it and had their faces on the line in Saturday's afternoon sunshine.
Judges for the event included U.S. Snowboard Team member Graham Watanabe, World Beard and Moustache Association President Phil Olsen, Jim Banholzer of the Mountain Express, Shaun "Frankie" Kelly of Wize Design, and Molly Holt, who brought a female eye of judgment to the festivities.
Phil Olsen, as visiting diplomat of the arcane world of Beard and Moustache Championships, reminded the crowd that "bribing the judges is not only permitted, but encouraged," as he helped event organizer Mike Ames lay the ground rules for the competition.
In the end, the Overall Idaho Beard and Moustache Champion was Toot Joslin, a referee for the World Masters Championships who made the trip from Tahoe City, Calif., for both the ski races and the beard contest. His white sideburns, extending about a half foot from either cheek, gave him a good start. From there, Toot wowed the judges with his outfit of a Free Range Cowboy, complete with Colt 45, and rode into the sunset with the Overall Award.
Local talent included Wagon Days Grand Marshall Ivan Swaner, who swaggered away with a second place in the Moustache category. But even local legend Swaner could not top the long whiskers of Bruce Roe, president of America's largest beard club, The Whisker Club of Bremerton, Wash. Roe's Wyatt Erp get-up didn't hurt, either. Third place moustache was John Griffith, of Ketchum, whose low hanging, curled handlebars were some of the longest whiskers of the day.
Other notable locals included Darren Sutherland, whose creative, iconoclastic creation swept the Partial Beard category. Gary Jacobosky, of Carey, chose a patriotic theme, always popular at the very civic affair of a beard contest. Complete with stars on his cheek, his breard was styled and colored red, white, and blue to win him the Full Beard award.
Youngsters Chris Clark, Trevor Brand, Nathan Moses and Parker Page sported imposter hairs and were awarded root beers for their troubles. Page's billy goat chin actually edged out some lackluster competition in his Partial Beard category and earned him a third place prize.
The prize for the furthest traveled contestant was awarded to Patrick O'Connor of Tuscon, Ariz., who hitchhiked for three days to make the event. His ride from Twin Falls to Bellevue was in the back of a pig farm truck, accompanied by two adult sows.
The Idaho event was the state's only contest. Also as one of the few in the nation, it acted as a perfect warm-up for those barbate and mustachioed men planning on competing Oct. 1 at the 2005 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Berlin.
Half of the proceeds raised on Saturday formed the Overall cash prize, and the remainder was donated to Wood River Animal Center in a "Whiskers Helping Whiskers" program.
Gifts from sponsors such as Smith Optics, Scott USA, Iconoclast Books, Wize Design, Hayden Beverage, East Ave Bistro, Bob Dog Pizza, and Viva Taqueria made sure no winners or runners-up left empty handed.
Though the event was a bizarre sideshow to many, others saw the value in such a miscellaneous gathering and are already growing out for next year.
Moustache: 1—Bruce Roe. 2—Ivan Swaner. 3—John Griffith.
Partial Beard: 1—Darren Sutherland. 2—Erik Lisk. 3—Parker Page.
Sideburns: 1—Toot. 2—Bad Bob Walker. 3—Ivan Swaner.
Full Beard: 1—Gary Jacobosky. 2—Joe. 3—Pete Mentzel.
Ambiguously Gendered: Duane Montigo.
Youngest: Trevor Brand
Furthest: Patrick O'Connor
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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.