International men, with beards and personality beyond belief, showed up in Portland recently for the World’s Best Beard & Mustaches Championship… and I was asked to be one of the judges! It was truly an honor and so much fun! In a fast paced 5 hours, I saw more creative facial hair than I’ve ever seen in my life! The competition was held in one of Portland’s most respected auditoriums (The Keller) and it offered a posh place that set the tone for this unique event. It was unusual and amazing and one of the things I liked best about it was that it gave everyone who had probably never been on that kind of grand stage, in a proper theater/opera hall, a once in a lifetime experience. It was really great to watch the men when their names were called out, and to see their transformation as they walked from backstage into the lights and turned it on for the crowd. Most of the contestants that I met were not professional performers…just great people having fun. But these men were confident in their beards and it showed when their true star quality emerged. The crowd was enthusiastic and wild. The event was indie and causal (thankfully, not like the Academy Awards), but it was authentic Portlandia all the way. Although the judges all agreed on the winner, we each had our favorites. Mine was not pictured, but he was a man who had his beard styled into a gorgeous Gibson guitar, probably about 18 inches across. I never had imagined anyone wearing a guitar on his face before, but for any girl who loves guitars, it was a fine and a beautiful thing. Don’t give up on me… I’ll keep trying to find his picture. Until then, take a look at this year’s contestants!