The world of international facial hair contests is a highly competitive one with participants taking it all very seriously.
So Burke Kenny, of Olympia in Washington state, is rightly proud of winning the coveted title of world’s best ‘full beard with styled moustache.’
The 26-year-old has just returned from the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Trondheim, Norway.
The competition featured 20 categories, with Americans bringing home six gold medals.
Mr Kenny won the same title four years ago in England, when he became the youngest international facial-hair champion.
He often dons a top hat and vintage jacket for competitions, said: ‘I like to be an honorable gentleman and present myself honorably.
‘I don’t take it extremely seriously.’
Despite that assertion, he said of his competitors: ‘They’re out to get me, for sure.
‘There’s a lot of drama and a lot of big egos. A lot of people take it really seriously.’
He added that he has become used to people staring at his chest.
‘I have to say, “I’m up here”,’ he said, pointing to his face. ‘Just like a girl.’
People, obviously, are not staring at his chest, but at his full and curly brunet beard with auburn undertones.
Mr Kenny grew up in Olympia and began shaving at age 13. He experimented with facial hair in high school and began growing a full moustache at 19 and a beard about a year later, while attending The Evergreen State College.
He said: ‘My dad is definitely my No. 1 inspiration. He’s had a moustache for 30 years.’
Somewhat ironically for someone with so much hair, Mr Kenny works as a cook at the Urban Onion restaurant in Olympia.
But fear not, he braids his beard and rolls it to keep it from getting in the way.
He also plays bass for the blues/rock band Hitchkick.
His father Mark Kenny, 59, who also lives in Olympia, describes his son’s facial hair as ‘pretty impressive.’
He said he’s glad his son does such a great job representing the United States.
Four of the gold medals won at the competition in Norway were grown by men from Washington state, the Seattle Times reports.
They were Bruce Roe of Bremerton, who won for Hungarian mustache; Craig ‘Rooty’ Lundvall of the Everett area, who won for full beard natural; and Keith ‘Ghandi Jones’ Haubrich of Seattle, who won the freestyle mustache category.
The contestants were followed by film crews for the reality show Whisker Wars, which premieres at 11pm August 5 on the IFC channel.
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