Two local gents are off to Pennsylvania as competitors in the National Beard and Mustache Championships Friday and Saturday. J-son Hart and Jesse Morton, friends and business partners, have been preparing for it a long time.
The National Beard and Mustache Championship has over 50 categories ranging in styles from extremely artistic special effects to ungroomed and natural. The variety in between is extensive. After participants select their category, they are then divided by length from stubble to 18 inches or longer. There are also categories for mustache, goatees, sideburns and multiple other beard styles.
Proceeds go to various charities with this year benefiting Camp Freedom, a year-round adventure camp for individuals with disabilities, including veterans, first responders, their families, Gold Star families which provides quality hunting, shooting sports, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, and other year round outdoor activities. It will also benefit The Women’s Resource Center, which works to end domestic and sexual violence.
“Contestants wear costumes and march in front of a panel of judges who score them on density, symmetry, creativity, structure and overall appearance,” Morton said.
This is their first year competing and they are unsure what to expect. Hundreds of competitors competed prior to COVID-19, but the duo have been preparing diligently to impress and excel their first year.
“I had seen random videos of the competition on YouTube in the past and thought it was very interesting,” Hart said. “Since I'm a hair care professional, the sheer artwork and creativity was super intriguing, but that’s where it stopped for me.”
He had not had great luck with beard growing in the past, but after he turned 40, he wanted to give it one more try and to his surprise was successful.
“It isn’t anything special in my opinion, but I started to get a lot of compliments on it, but felt like a change and shaved it off,” Hart said.
Until Jesse Morton came to Zen and Beauty for a hair cut and consultation in September of 2020 intriguing Hart to try again. The two started discussing his beard care ideas and inventions which inspired a friendship and business partnership called BluMortHart Productions, a media and marketing company.
“I was formerly in the marketing research industry and could see a potential greatness in his ideas,” Hart said.
Morton’s inspiration came years ago from people like MJ Johnson, co-founder of Beard Team USA. He watched the story about him and how they will compete in Aukland, New Zealand in 2023,
“New Zealand is on my bucket list, and I think my beard products, once finalized, can help us and other participants win beard competitions in the future,” Morton said.
Morton felt like a beard suited him and wanted to merge his design skills with his new interest. He sought out a mentor and other bearded brethren via social media and started researching how to make his dreams a reality.
“I worked with my circumstances and believe that I can achieve my dreams and reach extreme happiness from it,” Morton said.
His products are still being developed and refined but he hopes to launch as soon as possible. In the mean time he is entering the competition in the ungroomed and natural category.
“I am so lucky to have found a bunch of beardos to challenge my creativity, right now I am just wanting to learn from fellow beardsmen and show my best natural beard,” Morton said.
His excitement for beard care and the competition combined with Hart’s marketing and hair care knowledge made them a dynamite team.
“Jesse asked me to be a before and after so to speak for his system, as I let my beard go wilder and wilder, I became more drawn into the different options for beard grooming and the artistic side of it,” said Hart. “Beard care is much like hair care, products, brushing, if you do it to your head, I do it for my beard.”
Morton and Hart are excited to see dreams become reality and are enjoying the journey, win or lose.
“Life is an accumulation of experiences and this one will be the beginning of a whole new set of experiences I've never had,” said Hart. “We are excited about getting to travel and meet new friends, people that are also in the beard and hair care world. I am always excited to do anything that helps out others and makes the world a better place. This is about creating connection,” Hart said.
If you would like to learn more about the competition, visit www.nationalbeardchampionships.com. The competition will be live streamed.