I will try and cover what I can with regard to the show but in all honesty it was so overwhelming that I'm still trying to figure out how to write coherently about it.
The day started with pre-judging at the Dena'ina Center in downtown Anchorage. Pre-judging is not used to weed out contestants, instead its purpose is to make sure that the many bearded and mustached faces enter themselves in the right category. Any and everyone gets their chance to show off on stage.
The judging for the mustaches and partial beards started at 2pm. The competiton was held in the third floor ballroom in the Dena'ina Center. One of the most impressive things about the space is the beautiful bead chain walls. You can see it in many of the pictures. The whole time we were in the room I was fascinated by the gentle movement of the walls.
Anyway, the mustache groups always have far fewer participants and so are usually run first. Everyone goes up on the stage and in this case down a huge catwalk to stand in front of the judges. Behind the judges were camera crews from all over the world. Mickey said there were so many flashbulbs that he couldn't even really see the cameras or the people. As the contestants stood in front of the judges their images were projected on two giant TV screens that hung above the runway.
There were many notable contestants but special props to Ben from Hanover, PA (now LA) who won for having the best Imperial Mustache.
There was a break in the action from about 5:30 to 7pm. At 7 there was a grand entry of all the participants divided by country. There were over 300 contestants in the Championships. They came from Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Canada, Austria and many more. It was really amazing to see the pride on everyones faces as they marched in. The Euopean teams in particualr take this event very seriously and it's a big deal to participate let alone win.
Mainly I was happy that Mickey got to stand next to Fritz from Austria, who spoke no English and didn't place despite having one of the most impressive Girabaldi beards I have ever seen. Mickey did not place but as you can see had a great time anyway.
Let's see, there were the natural full beards, Verdi, natural full beard with styled mustache and free style. As a point of interest for reality TV fans, the dude dressed in flowers and leaf costume is BJ, the Amazing Race season 9 winner. The winner in freestyle and the overall champion was David Travers of the South Central Alaskan Beard Club. Although, it did seem a little weird that the overall winner was from the host club, the guy wove a snowshoe pattern into his beard. I have no idea how he did it but it was impressive. Here's a link to a better picture of it. http://www.tmz.com/2009/05/25/2009-world-beard-champion-the-wicker-man/
We had a great time at the event and don't regret any part of it. The next Championship will be held in Trondheim, Norway. We have two years to save our pennies and for Mickey's beard to grow even larger. We are even hoping to entice some other Baltimore beards into the world of competive beard growing by starting some sort of Baltimore facial hair club. Although, I will say my ultimate dream is to have Mickey featured in one of those "weird people in Maryland" lottery commercials.
I will be posting some more Alaska pictures so check back soon.