all photos by Simone Paddock
Glory upon ye, Californians, for your beards have triumphed! Yes, even without the competitive edge of Jack Passion (two time Full Natural Beard world champ and Bay resident, who sat this one out to emcee), the Golden State prospered with three out of four first places at the National Beard and Mustache Championships in Bend, Oregon this weekend. Per his promise, Jack Passion filled us in with what went down with the beardos.
“It was great, it was perfect,” Jack told me regarding the national champs, via his cellular device. “It was a party and everyone in Bend, Oregon was going nuts. It was very classy and on the level. I may have done a better job emceeing than I do with my beard.”
“There's no question I would have done well in this competition,” he continued. Yes Jack, but... what about the beards that were actually vying for the prize?
Willi Chevalier, 1st place freestyle beard: “I think the German guy who came really showed everybody what can be done with a beard. It's like he's saying 'hey Americans, this is it.' ”
Aarne Bielefeldt, 1st place full beard: “I'd beat him anytime.”
Larry McClure, 1st place moustache: “It was his first time competing. He kind of took us by surprise.”
But enough with the rest of the field-- when can we expect Jack back in the ring? “I love competing, which to me is always winning,” the ever-modest Passion said. “For the rest of the year, I'm just going to plaster my name in the record books.” He's got two events this fall, in addition to the world championships in Austria. Stateside, you're looking at the Petaluma Whiskerino (Oct 9), and Nevada Day in Carson City (Oct 29-31).
Which, by the way, sounds like it's worth a stop if you find yourself still wandering the desert a month after Burning Man. “Have you ever heard of Nevada Day?” Passion asked me. “Everyone has loaded guns, and knives, and open containers. The parade will go; school marching band, brothel. My friend bought a beer off of a ten year old girl in the street. It's the end of the world. It's the best thing ever.” Sold!