Welcome to the fourth installment in our series of the #LIVEBYTHEAXE campaign. This series will feature some of the men involved with the brand and how they became a part of the Mad Viking Beard Team. We'll travel into their world and get to know them a little better and see what gets them passionate about life and what products they use to grow the best beard possible. If you want to know more about #LIVEBYTHEAXE and what it means check out our ARTICLE HERE on the subject. On this edition we have a chance to sit down with Mad Viking Beard Club’s International VP, as well as the Chapter President for the Maryland Delaware Beard Club, Mr. Brian Tyler.
Hi Brian, it’s great seeing you again, if you don't mind could you please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got involved with Mad Viking?
Thank you for this opportunity to share my Mad Viking experience, Jason. I have been involved with Mad Viking since my first post back in June of 2015. I had been growing a beard for about a year without guidance, support, or product when Scott Handte mentioned you and the Mad Viking Beard Club. I immediately felt at home, like I was somewhere I was meant to be. Scott and I attended Battle of the Beards 2016 at Jergels Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA, as my first face-to-face with the Mad Viking family and knew I had found “my people”.. I have been the President of the Maryland/Delaware Chapter since we officially raised our flag in January of 2017. I am thankful to have met and been accepted by so many unique and diverse people. As the Director of a private elementary school, I do not see anyone that looks like me…the Mad Viking Beard Club provides me with the comradery I miss out on in my professional life.
About work, what made you decide to get into teaching as a profession?
I knew as an elementary school student, 4th grade to be exact, that I was going to be a teacher. I was asked by my teacher to work with the kindergarten class to help them with their sight words and I LOVED being able to help other kids learn the things that I knew. In middle school I began helping the other classmates with developmental and physical disabilities and it opened my eyes to that segment of the population. I continued to work with other classmates with disabilities at Summer Camps and throughout my high school years. After 16 years as an elementary school teacher (1st, 3rd, and 5th grade) I was given the opportunity to create a school that focused on unique learners, especially those on the Autism Spectrum. The mission of the school has evolved in the last 5 years, but we are still THE VERY BEST environment for hands-on, student centered, exploratory learning!
Wait, you created your own school?
Yeah. Kind of crazy the more I think about it. In June of 2017 I was given a unique, almost once in a lifetime opportunity to make an even greater difference in the lives of students that think and learn differently when I was tasked with building a private school associated with a therapy agency. I was able to draw from my extensive career as a public-school educator to build a vast, diverse, and hands-on curriculum that met the needs of my kiddos. We started off that first school year as only a first-grade program but we expanded to a Kindergarten through third grade the next school year. During the pandemic we shifted our focus again and created the Acacia’s Farm School. We are still Kindergarten through third grade school focusing on core curriculum (Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies) but now we are a child-centric, agriculturally based farm program to cultivate developmental and academic skills. I continue to see areas for growth with the program. Every day I find another reason that this is, in fact, where my career was leading me all along. I am proud to call myself a leader, learner, and a passionate educator who believes in this academy.
Wow! That is some fantastic work you are doing! We know that you do a huge amount of work raising awareness for Autism, can you tell us about some of that work and what it means to you?
When I first got involved with the organization that I co-founded the school with I went into a fully immersive intense exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I have learned so much about what “the spectrum” means to the families, kiddos, and adults living with ASD. In 2017, leading up to April’s Autism Awareness Month I started working on a logo that the kids, families, and staff at my school would choose to represent Bearding for Autism Awareness. I was able to have Mad Viking BMC members submit designs and we voted to pick our favorites. So far one of the greatest things Bearding for Autism Awareness has been about to do so far is to have been an OFFICIAL Run Partner of Kyle and Because He’s My Brother. Everything that I have done as the founder of Bearding for Autism Awareness has been just that, to raise awareness of ASD and the work being done to help families and kiddos with ASD.
You have an insane beard; how do the kids react to it?
Thank you. I am very lucky to have the beard as a bond with the kids. I am the Director of the Daycare center (newborn to 5years old) as well. Many of the youngest kiddos I interact with everyday love when I flip my beard up and put my sunglasses on it, almost Cousin It style. Every time I see them, they ask me to do my trick. The kiddos with ASD that I work with frequently ask me to touch it and/or smell it. One student comes up to me at least once a day and says, “Soft hands” so he can pet my beard!
We recently got the opportunity to meet up at your 4th Annual “Gunpowder and Giving” event. We had an absolute blast and can’t wait to do it again; can you break that event down for those that are unaware?
The 2022 installment of Gunpowder and Giving was our 4th annual event. The Mad Viking Maryland/Delaware Beard club hosts this event to benefit Hassler’s Helping Hands of America. The organization’s objective is to provide hunting guide services for wounded warriors, heroes, and disabled. Roy Hassler and his organization take their clients out, set up the hunt, process, and provide lodging completely free of charge. The only thing the individual is responsible for is the hunting license.
Gunpowder and Giving is a 9 hole showdown (75 yards, open rifle category) and pistol accuracy (15 feet, open pistol category) competition with fun, food, games, prizes, and friends. Nine hole is a bit unique for shooting. The board has 9 holes of various shapes (rectangles, squares, and triangles) placed around the board, some vertical, horizontal, and some askew. The shooter must hit the target from each of the 9 stations on the board in this timed drill. Shooters do this two times and take the average for the tournament.
What’s your favorite part of the “beard club life?”
As I mentioned, I am involved in a lot. I am the Director of the school, day care center, Cub Master for the local Cub Scout Pack my two youngest kids are in, President of the MD/DE Chapter as well as International Vice President. I am the father of 3 kids (10, 7, and 5) and happily married to Kristen, who I have known since we were in fifth grade. With all of the multifaceted pieces that make up “Me” I am so thankful for the friendship and bond that have come from this “beard club life”. The Mad Viking Family is exceptionally important to me. We have been there for each other for some really difficult times. We have worked together to grow the brand and the horde from the beginning days of “GLOBAL DOMINATION”. To me, the ability to make a difference in our communities, states, the nation, and even globally is the most important part of growing facial hair. I have been able to meet really amazing people, travel to various states (eventually countries as well) and do good for others because of the Mad Viking Beard Club life. That is pretty freaking awesome!
Do you have any current projects in the works?
The Mad Viking Maryland/Delaware Club keeps busy with philanthropic endeavors. We start the year with the Maryland Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. 2022 was different for us, we chose to jump into an outdoor pool once an hour for 24 hours.
March was Gunpowder and Giving as well as our third year of the challenge coin sales to benefit Scout Reservation Henson. In August we will have our Second Annual Pig Roast and Belly Flop Contest that benefits the For Ellie Foundation and then in September we are planning a “So You Think You’re a Star” talent show competition to benefit organizations that bring visual and performing arts to the community.
If anyone out there wanted to join up or check out Mad Viking Beard Club, how would they go about that?
There’s a link on the Mad Viking website that shows the locations and contact information for all our clubs. It can be found here: MAD VIKING CLUBS.
Like I said before, you have a glorious beard, what are your go-to products, and why?
My affiliation with the Mad Viking Company as an official beard team member is the reason I am a National Champion Goatee. I have learned so much from the team members that have helped me learn about my beard…to take me from full beard to goatee. I utilize the Biotin Beard Wash about once a week but use the Biotin Conditioner daily. I oil while my beard is still damp and balm, to shape my goatee, before leaving the house. I absolutely LOVE the new Beard Butter. They add a boost of nourishment and scent to my beard throughout the day. My go-to scents for all of my Mad Viking products are Odin’s Rok (cherry & pipe tobacco), Ragnarok (orange, lemon, lime citrus), and OF COURSE Orchard (apple & light vanilla) for the teacher!
Thank you so much for taking the time to catch up with us this weekend, you are doing some amazing work. How can the readers keep track of you?