Chris Battenberg is a member of the Bearded Sinners Beard Club of Nevada. The group is hosting its second annual Best in the West Beard Festival and a beard competition at Wingfield Park on June 2. Learn more here: bit.ly/2IJAGJD.
Upon what might a beard be judged?
We have four sets of 10 points, so you can get a total of 40 points. So the first category is going to be the thickness, the fullness of your beard. The second is going to be the grandeur of your beard. How do you wear the beard? How does it look on you? … Do you embrace the grandeur of what your beard looks like, you know? And then the last two—you could have the nastiest, scraggliest beard, and still do well with these. The first one is judge’s opinion. … The last one is crowd reaction. Now, when you’re talking about legitimate, sanctioned competitions, it gets stupid detailed. They’ll millimeter your beard—like measure it to … see how long it is to see what category you go into. … There’s a facial hair club league that, like, sanctions events. …. Next year, we plan to have our competition sanctioned by them, and it’ll be a little crazier. But we’ll still have our fun categories. We have two categories—a kids’ and a ladies’ as well. There are ladies who grow beards who compete. I’ll give them the option of going into the fun ladies’ category or competing against the men. Not to be sexist, but the majority of beards are going to be on men.
Well, I struggle to grow mine out.
Right? But if she wanted to go into an under [12-inch category] or over 12, be my guest. You might just win just because you’re a lady who gets in that category and does it in front of everybody. But in the fun ladies’ category, they get a fake beard, and they have to make one modification to it. It can’t just be a store-bought beard. That’s boring.
Judging beards is interesting. I think they’re all so different, you know? Some of them grow kind of sideways or with a whorl.
That’s a big reason why those last two categories are in there—because they matter for the guys who can’t grow that full beard. But they’re proud of it, and they want to show it off. Maybe you catch the eye of the lady judges, and they give you 10s.
Tell me a bit more about the event.
Last year was the first. I told my boys, “We need to do something more.” … They all agreed with me. I said, “Let’s do a beard competition.” And the president of the club looked at me and said, “All right. I’ll give you six weeks to get a beard competition going.” … I went full steam ahead, and six weeks later, we had a beard competition at Davidson’s Distillery downtown. … We raised $871 for [Keep Truckee Meados Beautiful]. … This year, we have … the east side of Wingfield Park with the amphitheater. We have live music playing all day. We’ve got the Man Band, Hate to Share, Los Pistoleros … and, of course, the headliner, the Grimtones. I super, super love the idea of lead singers being chicks, especially in rock bands. I have a 5-year-old daughter, so anything that’s woman-power, I’m like, “Watch this kid!”
I think Michelle Belle is among the coolest.
And she’s a super nice lady. … And then there will be 20-plus vendors. … We’ll have three food trucks and the Tap Wagon. … And then we’ll have what I call “Peach Fuzz City.”
For the kids?
Exactly. It’s actually packed full of a bunch of cool stuff. I’m mostly excited about that. … I built six carnival games for the kids. They’ll be like a dollar apiece or something like that. All of the money we raise will go directly to Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful.