This weekend was the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Austin, Texas, hosted by the Austin Facial Hair Club (which was founded in 2007). This year’s winners included Jason Kiley, who won best in show; M.J. Johnson, who won in the cheek-beard category; Norbert Topf, who got first place in the partial-beard category; and Michael Wollin, who won in the full-beard category.
The Championships started in 1990, with the first event in Höfen/Enz, Germany. The First Höfener Beard Club was the organizer and host of that first competition. Though it now happens yearly, there were five years between the first and second. The Höfener Beard Club also organized the second championship, but the 1995 event was in nearby Pforzheim.
After the Pforzheim show, things started to take off. For a little over a decade, the contest was a bi-yearly event. In 1997, it took place in Trondheim, Norway.
The first American competition took place in Carson City, Nevada, in 2003, though it wouldn’t come back to the States until years later in Anchorage.
In 2014 the event went yearly. Portland, Oregon, hosted this event to allow Americans unable to get to Europe a chance to compete. There was also a huge increase in interest. These days you can find beard competitions almost every week.
In 2015, the competition went back to Europe — Leogang, Austria, to be precise — though America has hosted the competition for the last two years. Last year’s was in Nashville, Tennessee.
In fact, beard clubs have popped up all over. If you’re interested in joining, Beard Team USA is taking applicants. (It’s free!)
On the other hand, if you’d just like to look, photographer Greg Anderson took over 100 photos of the participants. We’ve included a few of our favorites here.