On Saturday Nov. 2 Leinfelden-Echterdingen near Stuttgart played host to the biennial World Moustache and Beard Championships. Three hundred hopefuls from 20 countries made their way to southwestern Germany for the hirsute extravaganza.
The competition included 18 different categories -- including "Full Beard Garibaldi," "Moustache Freestyle" and "Goatee Fu Manchu." Contestants were placed into categories based on the length of their beards, their historical inspiration -- there are categories named "Dali" and "Verdi" -- and whether or not they use styling products.
In an attempt to attract younger participants, a new category -- "Trendy Beard" -- was premiered at this year's event. "Trendy Beards" may not exceed one centimeter in length and must include sections that are clean shaven. In Germany this style was popularized by footballer Kevin Kurányi in the early 2000s (though he recently opted for a more classically trimmed beard).
Preparing for the competition isn't always easy. Jeff Langum, a New Jersey resident who competed in this year's event, recently told his local newspaper, the Courier-Post , about the challenges of living with massive facial hair: He avoids zippers whenever possible, is wary of seatbelts and has to comb through his beard after meals.
This year, German TV chef Johann Lafer was given the "Beard of the Year" prize -- an honorary award. He told the Stuttgarter Zeitung the competition is proof "the world is growing together."