The Minnesota Beard-Off: Start your growing

Whether a man demonstrates his tidy tendencies with a meticulous mustache or his wild side with a natural bushy barrier to the chilly winter months, whiskers are fodder for conversation--and even competition. This year marks the second annual Minnesota Beard-Off, a contest in which locals celebrate male pogonotrophy (a.k.a. the act of cultivating/growing facial hair). From waxed Imperial mustaches to stashburns to the longest chin tassels possible, the beard-off proposes to find the very best facial hair in the Twin Cities. [jump]

Our local competition takes its cue from the World Beard and Mustache Championships. Its website shares some history on the subject: 

...the Italian delegation claims that the first [world championship] took place in Italy in the 1970s... credible pogonohistorians agree that the current world championships trace their roots to a celebration held... in the early 1990s.

Local wordsmith Andy Sturdevant, who himself has an impressive beard, will host the competition. DJ Jam E-Z will provide the soundtrack while Stephanie Nero will read original, beard-inspired poetry. According the Minnesota Beard-Off's website, "Three judges will determine the top three contenders in each category and the four first-place winners will compete for the grand prize: the title of 2011 Minnesota's Beardsman." Rifftrax and MST3K's Kevin Murphy is this year's celebrity guest judge, and will officially name this year's winner. Men can enter to win in four different categories: full beard, partial beard, moustache, and freestyle.

The 2011 Minnesota Beard-Off competition will take place at the Turf Club (1601 University Ave., St. Paul) at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. There will be a $6 cover. Due to the popularity of the first beard-off, this year's competition begins with preliminary voting on the group's Facebook page. Registration has officially opened; for those of you who wish to compete, visit Minnesota Beard-Off for details.