For the fourth year in a row, we've opened the doors of our blog to something fantastic...something magical...something stupendous! For the next two months, we'll be posting weekly photographic self portraits of Oklahoma City's finest facial folicle fanatics. Grow A Beard is not for the faint of heart, this contest requires an unmatched valor of beardly proportions! As you scroll through the photos of this year's contestants, remember the four categories you'll be voting for at the end of this journey: Biggest Beard, Beard Fail, Best Mustache, and People's Choice. May the best (and worst) beards win! Cheers!
**Last year's competition was hosted in alphabetical order from A-Z, this year we'll be reversing the order by first name.**
"My name is Zach Hatlestad, 24 years of age. I've been shaving for ten years, and I just simply don't want to do it anymore. So I won't (for the next three months, at least). This will be my third year participating (I grew one along with the competition last year, just didn't enter it. Consider it a training session...) I'm from Mustang, but have been living in Arizona for the past ten years. I'm a maintenance worker for an elementary school district. The smaller kids (grades K-3) call me Mr. Zach, except for when I have the beard, then I become Mr. Beard. Good luck, men, and may your mustache's come in better than mine..."
"Nick's a pretty straight forward guy. He loves just about everything except country music. Anything from sushi to Lucky Charms, Pavarotti, Zeppelin or Imagine Dragons; cylon's, crampons and crayons. As far as income goes, Nick and his wife are working on starting a "mobile coffee shop"- that turns a double decker bus into a coffee truck that you can sit in. He's lived in OKC for 7 years, and plans on staying for a while."
"My name is Michael Hendrick but I go by "Redbeard". I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM until I left for college to live here in good ol' Oklahoma. I started thoroughly growing my beard in 2007 and I have never used a blade to shave my face. Looking forward to the growth and journey. "
"Matt Raney is a local failing comic and host of The Public Access Open Mic at District House every Monday. He also draws a mean Ninja Turtle when need be. Dude Dusty I'm psyched to not shave for a while, do you have awards for neckbeards?"
Matt! That's a wonderful question! While we don't have a specific award for neckbeards, but I would consider any neckbeard-grower a winner!
"My name is Spencer, I graduated college in May, currently looking for a professional job, so my beard might be getting some trims through out the 2 months but I'm all on board for it!"
"Work for Tree and leaf clothing. Bike enthusiast. I eat too much Taco Bueno and I only cut myself 4 times shaving for this competition."
Hugh Jazz aka Kolsen McLaughlin
"My name is hugh jazz, I work at tree and leaf clothing. I am a student at UCO. I enjoy a nice bag of skittles (tropical flavor), and My favorite band is Justin timberlake. 1979 was a great year. Hit me up on myspace! Peace!"
Kevin didn't send in a bio, but I'm sure I can get pretty close.... "Hi, I'm Kevin Rhodes! I co-own Plan-It Landscape & Gardening located in Piedmont. I'm a big Oklahoma State fan, love my kids and wife, and hang out in the Plaza every once and a while. This is my fourth year competing in the beard contest, so watch out, this could be my year!"
"My Name Kaemon Patterson, people typically call me Yung Babyshoe. I like Toyotas. Lacrosse is cool."
"And so it begins..." That was all ol' Metcalf sent in as a bio, so I'll make one up for him as well... "Howdy folks, my name is John Elizabeth Metcalf. I'm the "Printshop Manager" at Tree & Leaf Clothing. My favorite movie is Hot Rod. I love late '70s hair bands, Bethany Oklahoma, my lovely wife Kimberly, and a whiskey on the rocks during a hot Oklahoma summer day."
"I'm a comic book artist who's created work for Stan Lee, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Power Rangers.
"It's going to be a good one; I bought a photo censor app for my iPhone."
"Hi! I'm Dusty, co-owner of Tree & Leaf Clothing and host of Grow A Beard! While I participate with the contest, I'm inneligible to win. I love my wife Kristen, the Plaza District, printing, illustrating, painting, and working on my old van. My text isn't italicized!
'Men that don't know him, don't like him, and them that do sometimes don't know how to take him. He ain't wrong, he's just different.' - Willie Nelson
"I work at a Christian Camp and with the young adults at my church. Lovin' the challenge. Grow a beard!"
"I am a blacksmith and metal fabricator. I'm getting my own business up and running after 7 years working for someone else, it's time to do it for myself. I've been fabricating since 2005, I really enjoy making decorative artistic interior elements; such as light fixtures, wall hangings, fireplace doors, wine doors, etc. Thank you for putting on the contest and look forward to it!"
Caleb entered the contest via his Instagram, so I'll write a bio for him as well: "Hey kids, I'm Caleb Arter, owner of Blue 7! I love the great state of Oklahoma, keepin' it local, and hanging out with my rowdy kids and pretty wife! One of my greatest interests is the wear and tear of raw denim! If you think you'd be interested in raw denim too, you should sign up for my 6 month denim challenge, Blue 7 Clean Start!"
"I teach and coach at Deer Creek High School. The boys often ask for advice from me. "Mr. Mathews, how do I grow a beard like yours"? My answer goes something like this, 'I can teach you about mantle plumes, plate tectonics, and and subduction zones. I can coach you in the 1-3-1 zone defense or analyze your running form. But somethings in life you just can't teach or coach. Unfortunately son, growing a beard is one of those things.'
'The beard is a masculine ornament, given to us by God not for any practical use, but for our dignity” – St. Augustine
Good luck to all my dignified bearded buddies this year."
"A veteran of all three previous Grow-A-Beard competitions, Brian Pelts is a native Tulsan who moved to Norman five years ago. While a respectable office job pays the bills, he also dabbles in live sports production, having worked with OU, Torbeau Sports and the Tulsa Drillers. When not working one of a multitude of jobs or growing a perfectly average beard, Brian enjoys naps, eating and throwing shade at Scott Brooks. He wishes all of this year's competitors happy bearding, and is excited to lose to all of them yet again."
"I'm a graphic designer and illustrator that just graduated from Full Sail! I'm excited to be back in Oklahoma for a while! Hit me up if you need any freelance work done! Wu-Tang is for the children!"
Andy was in the contest last year, but this year he just sent this photo without a description or anything....? Yo Andy, where yat??
"Well, this is my fourth year in the Grow a Beard Contest. One really does not need an excuse to grow a beard and it is painful to cleave off accumulated growth but it is such great fun. I teach middle school computers and have a glass blowing studio in OKC."
There are fewer contestants than last year, but I think this pack of hethens will make the competition that much greater! Good luck, gentlemen! Remember to send your photos in every Tuesday and use the #growabeardok hashtag in the meantime! Thanks for bearding!