Although women are often unfairly burdened with the stereotype of high maintenance — needing hours of prep and countless products to achieve their desired look — that concept of precision and care can easily be ascribed to the men who enter beard competitions and their award-winning whiskers.
Those men will want to get their beards, mustaches and goatees ready for the inaugural Bako Beard Bash, coming to 1933 on Saturday afternoon. Put on by local beard product company That Beard Stuff, the competition will benefit a good cause, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Bikers Against Child Abuse.
"We had been wanting to do a beard competition for a while," said Tawnee Shelton, owner of That Beard Stuff, which she runs with her husband, Ty Shelton. "We wanted to do something with a purpose. We're raising money not for us but for a good cause."
The Beard Bash will include live music by The Angry Brians, a raffle and food and drink available for purchase at 1933. But the facial hair is the star of event, both for those competing and those watching.
Facial hair will be judged in 12 categories: natural mustache (no styling aids allowed), styled mustache (styling aids allowed), goatee (must have mustache and chin hair can't connect to sideburns), partial beard (broken line from temple to temple or no mustache), business beard (full beard under 2 inches), natural beard over and under 12 inches (must have unbroken line from temple to temple and no styling aids for mustache), styled beard over and under 12 inches (same as previous, but styling aids allowed for mustache), freestyle (anything goes) and, for the ladies, the "Whiskerina" category (any form of facial hair prosthetic).
The final category is Best in Show, with first place from every category duking it out for best facial hair. Winners from each category will get a special plaque.
To keep with Shelton's mission to support a worthy cause, all proceeds will go to the local chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, or BACA.
Members of the organization help children dealing with abuse and empower them. They frequently escort children to court, bring them items of comfort like blankets and stuffed animals and serve as, essentially, a tough, protective presence in a kid's life.
"They will make children full-fledged members of BACA, with a biker vest," Shelton said. "They really go out of their way to make sure kids feel they are safe and protected."
As the bash is a first-time event (with hopes to make it annual), Shelton didn't have many expectations or a specific fundraising goal.
"I don't have a goal, just enough to show we really appreciate them and everything they've done for the community," she said. "They're very much silent in the community, and we want people to know they're here."
Though Shelton is focusing on the event primarily as a good way to raise awareness and money for BACA, it will also be a chance to introduce the community to her business, though local beard aficionados might already know all about it.
Shelton started That Beard Stuff three years ago.
"I didn't like (my husband's) beard, and I told him to find a product to make his beard better," she said. "But the products were really outrageously priced."
So she took the matter into her own hands, experimenting with formulas and finally perfecting it after about a year. The line of products include beard wash, balm, butter and oil, and they all cost around $15. The products are sold at local barbershops, First Friday and online, and Shelton said they hope to expand and sell out of town soon too.
So far, customers have been just as happy with the product as the Sheltons have.
"They love it. We get so much good feedback."