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In pursuit of the hirsute
Buffalo Bill, Summer Santa and the old man from Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea" were all on hand in Bremerton Saturday for the North American Beard and Mustache Championships at the Elks Lodge.
Put on by the local Whiskers Club, the biannual event raises thousands of dollars for various charities and brings together guys with mustaches in categories with titles such as Natural, English, Dali, Imperial, Hungarian, Freestyle, Natural Goatee, Chinese and Muskateer.
There's no shortage of categories when it comes to full and partial beards, either.
One of the zaniest is the freestyle beard group which featured the only perfect-10's-across-the-board entrant during Saturday's competition. California resident Aarne Bielefeldt, who is originally from Germany and wore some lederhosen to cap off his look Saturday, is a celebrity of sorts on the beard and mustache circuit. He has been featured on television and in periodicals all over the world.
Bielefeldt said it took him about six hours to style his beard and mustache, which featured eight offshoots circled off at the ends, for Saturday's event.
The event, though, is as much about competing as it is about having a good time. And that goes for the ladies in the house, too.
LuAnn McRae, who was working as a cocktail waitress during the competition, said she was having a blast.
"I love facial hair," McRae said. "My husband has a full beard and it's just such a manly thing."
Saturday's event also had an international flair to it.
Alfredo Franco-Cea, a Victoria, B.C., resident who was born in Mexico City, Mexico, visited the United States for the very first time just for Saturday's festivities. It also marked Franco-Cea's very first facial hair competition, which he entered in the Dali mustache category.
"I heard about the competition and it then so happened that I've never been to the States and I just had my Canadian passport," he said. "So, everything kind of came together nicely and I'm like, 'Okay, this is a sign. I should go to this event.' So, here I am and it's kind of nice and I'm enjoying it."