June 9-11,2023 Hosted in Burghausen, Germany
The History of International Bearding Championships
The history of international bearding is a fascinating topic, but unfortunately, much of it remains controversial and unclear. While one group in Italy claims to have held the first championships in the early 1970s, it is generally believed that modern competitive bearding took off with the First Höfener Beard Club in their hometown of Höfen/Enz, Germany.
This small village in the Black Forest was the location of a groundbreaking event in 1990, which saw the first organized and hosted bearding competition. The club proudly hosted the second Beard and Moustache Championships in a nearby city in 1995, cementing their status as pioneers in the field.
With a mix of history and anecdote, the story of international bearding is a tale that is both interesting and unusual. From its mysterious beginnings to the emergence of organized competitions, this sport has captured the imagination of people around the world. Whether you're a fan of beards or simply fascinated by unique and unusual sports, the history of international bearding is a topic that is sure to intrigue you.
Europe has witnessed a resurgence in the popularity of beards and mustaches in the recent past, especially in Northern Europe. Local beard clubs in the region started organizing international competitions every two years in 1995, thus sparking a new craze for facial hair.
In 1997, the Norwegian Moustache Club, also known as Den Norske Mustaschklubben, held the competition in Trondheim, its hometown. The event was a huge success, bringing together an impressive gathering of beard enthusiasts from across the globe.
Two years later in 1999, the Swedish Moustache Club, famously known as Svenska Mustaschklubben hosted the championships in Ystad, which is located at the extreme southern end of Sweden. The competition was yet another triumph, drawing participants and spectators alike from all corners of the world.
In 2001, the Swabian Beard and Moustache Club, or Schwäbische Bart- und Schnauzerclub, marked its tenth anniversary by arranging beard and moustache championships in an unforgettable style. As a result of their commendable efforts, the festival went down in history as one of the most successful celebrations of facial hair of its time, attracting huge crowds and charming experts in the field from all over Europe and beyond.
Competitive Bearding Comes to the United States
The World Beard and Mustache Championships is a unique biennial competition hosted by the World Beard and Mustache Association that celebrates facial hair in all its glory. Since the first competition held by the First Höfener Beard Club in 1990, this phenomenon has grown to become an international sensation, captivating people from around the world.
The championships have been hosted throughout Europe, with each country bringing its own twist on facial hair style and culture. Recently, competitive bearding has come to the United States as well, with enthusiastic participants proudly showcasing their creativity through distinctive styles of facial hair.
In 2003, the World Beard and Moustache Championships® descended upon the United States, specifically in Carson City, Nevada, as a proud part of the annual Nevada Day Celebration. This event saw about 85 European beardsmen displaying their impressive beard styles before an enthralled American audience.
The grand honor of being crowned the champion went to Karl-Heinz Hille from Berlin, Germany. Furthermore, the representatives of German beard clubs accomplished an impressive feat by winning 36 of the 57 trophies awarded.
The Rise of Beard Clubs
But all of that changed pretty rapidly. Soon after that first US competition, beard clubs started sprouting up all over the country. Each with its own set of bylaws, group mission, and individual point of view.
This spirit has helped propel the world’s greatest celebration of bearded glory into greater heights over the years, giving beardsmen around the globe something meaningful to look forward to every year.
Even today, the World Beard and Moustache Championship continues to offer an unforgettable experience for all who attend. While the level of competition and dedication has grown exponentially, so too has the passion for facial hair culture and the delightful camaraderie that goes along with it.
Mad Viking Beard Club and the Mad Viking Beard Team have been actively competing in the world championships as well as local and regional competitions since their inaugural local competition in early 2013, and as expected, we have several past, current, and hopeful world champions attending the Germany events to defend their titles.
Among those in attendance with Mad Viking will be the following:
Mick "Chops" Wallage
Having been an active participant in the competitive bearding circuit for more than ten years, Mick has achieved a notable level of success. Originating from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom, he is a proud member of the renowned Mad Viking Beard Team. Additionally, Mick holds the distinguished titles of reigning British and World Chops champion.
Stu Eggers is a highly accomplished beardsman with an impressive track record in competitive beard-growing. He secured a 3rd place victory at World's 2017 in Austin, a 2nd place win at Nationals 2019 in Chicago, and achieved an unprecedented streak of four consecutive 1st place finishes at Mad Viking's Monsters Ball. In addition to these remarkable wins, he also earned the Best in Show award in 2019.
Stu's dedication to his beard-growing craft is truly remarkable. He has been growing his beard since his military service ended in 2014, and he was introduced to the bearding community in 2016. Since then, he has competed in an impressive 43 competitions and has consistently taken home top-three finishes, with an estimated 36 podium placements to his name. With his remarkable skill and impressive achievements, Stu Eggers is an inspiration to aspiring beardsmen everywhere.
A newcomer and a beast amongst full beards, Mitchell has just started his competitive bearding journey. After 6 1/2 years of growing dedication, Mitchell began participating in competitions at the start of 2022. Impressively, he has competed in just five competitions securing 1st place in three and 2nd place in two others! Furthermore, he has claimed the prestigious title of Best in Show twice.
Looking ahead, Mitch eagerly anticipates competing in both the Worlds and Nationals competitions this year. Their commitment and hard work are sure to continue to pay off in future endeavors.
How it Works
The WBMA (World Beard and Mustache Competition) holds its globally recognized competition every two years, alternating between the US and Europe every other competition. This year's event is being in Burghausen, Germany from June 9-11.
The competition itself will consist of an incredible 28 categories ranging from Natural Mustache, full mustache styled, partial beards, natural full beard, full beard freestyle (highly styled facial hair), and everything in between, as well as 4 "whiskerina" categories in which women can create their own beards and compete as well, demonstrated below by whiskerina extraordinaire, Kristen Wagner. For more photos of the amazing work of the most talented people in the bearding community, click here.
Each category gets called up as a group and each competitor will be judged by a panel of experts, celebrities, or a mix of the two, receiving a score between 1 and 10, with the top three competitors receiving awards such as trophies for their victory.
There will also be a "Best In Show" recipient, decided by the judges as well as who the crowd views as the best of the best.
What the Future Holds
Can't make it to Germany this year? Well, don't despair. With this event being held in Germany, the officers of the World Beard and Mustache Association in accordance with their alternating order of every other competition being held in the US, the 2025 Beard and Mustache Championships will be hosted by Mad Viking Pennsylvania Beard Club, in the picturesque city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Come and be a part of the World Beard and Moustache Championships happening from July 4-6, 2025, hosted by the esteemed Mad Viking Pennsylvania Beard Club, right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. This charming city will be filled with exciting activities for the whole family to enjoy. You can groove to live music, visit our world-famous museums, and witness one of the most magnificent fireworks displays the country has to offer, all while we commemorate the birth of our nation. Pittsburgh is the perfect destination to have an unforgettable time. Come and join us for an experience of a lifetime!
There are many opportunities to find and attend beard and mustache competitions in your local and regional areas. We here at Mad Viking urge you to reach out to your local beard club and/or moustache association and take part in the community. Beard Clubs, in general, have strong ties to their communities and do a lot of much-needed work with local charities in their area.