Minnesota Beard-Off champion Corrie Zoll defends title

This Friday the second annual Minnesota Beard-Off comes to the Turf Club. Here, the great beardsmen of Minnesota will gather to show off their tresses and compete in the championship. Contestants can enter categories such as full beard, partial beard, moustache, and freestyle. The last category can be interpreted as anything that doesn't fit into the other others, including beards made from bacon, which one woman did last year. Ultimately, a Minnesota Beardsman Champion is chosen from the lot.

City Pages took a moment to talk with Corrie Zoll, last year's winner of the Full Beard category, and winner of the Minnesota Beardsman title. Zoll is competing again this year, and he does not intend to go down without a fight. 

What have you been doing to prepare for this year's Minnesota Beard-Off?

Most of this month I've been secluded at a beard training facility in the Caribbean, heavily training for the event. I knew from the hungry eyes of my competitors last year that the bar would be set a lot higher.  

Who is your trainer?

My beardstylist is Laura at The Chair who, as I understand it, trained for years on Russian beards to hone her craft.

What kind of precautions are you taking?

This is a very serious competition. I'm not allowing any images of my current beard to be shown prior to the event.  

How long have you had a beard?

The important part of the story is that in 1995 I was painting my house, and I fell. I broke my pelvis, broke my wrist, busted my tooth, and I had a concussion. All I could do was lay around for a while on pain medication. Although I don't directly remember this, it was during this time that my beard started talking to me.  

Why hadn't it spoken to you before?

When you are shaving your beard off all the time, or its just a little beard, you can't hear it. My beard got out of hand. When it got sizeable, I could hear it talk to me. 

What did it say?

It said, "Hey I want you to stop cutting me."  

But you don't remember this?

No, but I trust the people who told me this.  

What are some of the other things that it has said to you?  

It's given me excellent dating advice, and employment advice.  

Like what?

Stuff like, "If they don't like your beard, that's their problem." It's been very successful. I just got married. I couldn't have done it without the dating advice from my beard.

Is it the longest now that it's ever been?  

No, it's been longer. It's been down to my nipples.  

What are the challenges of having a beard? Does it effect how you eat?  

Yes, there's usually food in my beard. But before I had a beard there was food on my shirt. I think of it as a built-in napkin.  

Any other challenges?

Split ends. I use fish oil. Cats love me. 

How about with the ladies?

This is dating advice straight from my beard: When you get right down to it, most women are not into men who have beards, even if they do tolerate it. So it's really niche marketing. But women who like men with beards are totally worth waiting for.  

What's the biggest advantage of having a beard?  

You get a limited but clear instant amount of respect from people when you walk into a room. 

The Minnesota Beard-Off takes place at the Turf Club this Friday, March 25. Doors open at 8, with the competition starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6. For more info, visit mnbeardoff.com.

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