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After taking place in the United States for the first time in 2003, this year the World Beard and Moustache Championships returns to its roots in Germany. Germans not only founded the event a decade and a half ago, they've dominated every year since, generally winning upwards of 80 percent of the categories. Perhaps hoping for a bit of competition, the First Höfener Beard Club set about raising global awareness of the sport by reaching out to other potentially hairy countries; in 1997 the event was held in Norway, the first time ever outside of Germany. Two years later Sweden took up the honors, but as usual it was the Germans who dominated and in 2001 the WBMC moved back home.
In 2003 the United States, playing host, hoped to give their traditional wartime enemies a run for their money and fielded their first national team. Although the Germans again won the medal count, earning first place in eight of the 17 categories (for a total of nine gold medals, as Dieter Gugel and Gerhard Mueller, both of Germany, tied for first in the "Natural Goatee" category), the Americans made a strong showing, taking home four gold medals from the Dali Moustache, Handlebar Moustache, Musketeer and Full Beard Natural categories. But newfound success was not limited to the US team; medallists were spread across a host of nations including Italy, Norway, Hong Kong, Switzerland, England, Austria and of course Germany.
.: David Traver and Gary Hagen of Beard Team USA :.
The US team plans to expand upon their 2003 success in Carson City and will be returning several medalists, including Alaskan wildman David Traver, who took home first place in the Full Beard Natural category and was honored with a third place finish in the overall best-in-show voting. Also returning for the US will be Gary Hagen, who took home the gold in the Handlebar Moustache competition. It will be the Brits, however, who will be feeling the most pressure this time around, with London's world-famous Handlebar Club hosting the 2007 Championships. The English will undoubtedly want to rob the Germans of as much hardware as possible this year so that they may properly defend it on their home turf next time around. Yes, indeed, I smell a classic Anglo-Teutonic battle brewing in the hearts, minds and beards of Europe this year! SEE ALSO: www.lostatsea.net/feature.phtml?fid=74762952845bf6464eebc0
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.
See other articles by Eric J Herboth.
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