Blackpool beards on British stage
Blackpool's biggest and bushiest beards are taking to the national stage in a bid to be crowned British champions.
The Sandgrown Beardsmen - Blackpool’s own bunch of beard enthusiasts - will be competing in the British Beard and Moustache Championships in Liverpool in October.
There they will compete for variety of different awards, including ‘Full beard longer than 12 inches’, ‘Best natural moustache’, ‘Best verdi’ and ‘Most creative beard’.
Sandgrown Beardsmen founder Brian Eva, 36, said: “I will be competing in the full natural beard category. A couple of us will be in the ‘beard less than six inches’ competition and a couple of us will be in the ‘Verdi’ category, which is a small rounded beard with a styled moustache.
“Then there’s the freestyle beard competition which is when the guys make all sorts of made and wacky things out of their beards.”
The ‘Beardsmen’ meet every month at the Church Street Barber Shop in central Blackpool, where they bond over a shared enthusiasm for facial hair.
They will meet with hundreds of other similar enthusiasts at the championships, which attracts hundreds of whiskered folks each year - including ‘professional bearders’, who dedicate hours to fixing their beards in outlandish styles, from spikes to spirals.
Father-of-two Brian said: “This will be the first time that we have gone to the British Beard Championships.
“Some of us when to Beardfest last year, but this is the first big competition we’ve been to. I think there’ll probably be around 800 or 900 people there.
“They get a lot of guys from all over the country competing, as well as people from overseas - Germany and Switzerland.
“Some of the guys like to put on a bit of a show when they get onstage.
“It’s the biggest beard event in Britain. Only the World Championships are bigger.
“In my catergory I’ll be going up against the British Champion so I’d say my chances of coming in first place are zero - but I’m aiming to finish quite high up.
“The bearding scene is actually quite big now and there’s about a dozen competitions a year bringing in guys with some really impressive facial hair. It has become a bit more fashionable to have a beard in recent years and people like to personalise themselves in a different way.
“For us it’s just a bit of fun.
“It’s going to be a fantastic day out, the people are friendly and you can have a beer and a chat. We try not to take ourselves too seriously!”