Beard Bash competition event raise money to help children

Male contestant for Natural Beard (over 12 inches) category presents his beard to judges.

Melissa Puryear, reporter

Men with handle-bar whiskers, business beards and women in crafted (fake) beards, traveled from Southern California and Northern California, to Bakersfield, to compete for clout and wooden plaques, and all for a good cause, to raise money and awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse B.A.C.A. at the Beard Bash on Nov. 11 at Prohibition in Rosedale.
That Beard Stuff, a local company that provides men’s beard grooming and mustache care line products, sponsored the beard competition for the non-profit. All proceeds raised at the event were donated for the services that the organization of biker advocates for child victims of abuse provide. Bowza, a local chapter member and board member, said that his organization provides round-the-clock protection, and accompaniment to court hearings so children feel empowered and safe.
The founder of That Beard Stuff, Tawnee Shelton, said the idea to sponsor The Beard Bash came from having attended beard competitions for years. She said, “We go to a lot of beard competitions. We wanted to have a beard competition with a purpose.”
Ty Shelton, Tawnee Shelton’s husband, said the reason they chose the non-profit organization B.A.C.A. to receive 100 percent of the proceeds was that, “they are very near and dear to our hearts. We are honored and humbled to do what we do. In putting on a beard competition [with B.A.C.A. as the recipient] there was no other organization in mind except them.”
That Beard Stuff, a 4-year-old company, was destined to be, according to Ty Shelton. His wife did not like how “wiry” his beard felt, so she told him to shave it. He refused. They began looking for products online that would solve the problem. There weren’t many products dedicated to beard groomers, and those products that were available, were expensive.
Tawnee Shelton was “crafty” and was convinced she could create a formula for her husband, and that’s how the Shelton’s company was born. Tawnee Shelton began advertising it online as That Beard Stuff because she couldn’t think of a name for it. Ty Shelton said he received a phone call at work one day when his wife put the product online and he said the name she gave it interim, “just felt right,” so they kept it.
The Beard Bash showcased women in crafted beards in a category dubbed “Whiskerinas.” There was a crochet beard with adornments hanging from it, and a beard that almost looked real on one woman with an unlit cigarette dangling from her lips. There was a colorful beard on a woman in a unicorn onesie with a tail and a bushy beard you might expect to see on Santa Claus.
There were 11 men beard categories with firm rules so that participants would not have unfair hair advantage. They were Natural Mustache (no styling aids allowed), Styled mustache (styling aids allowed), Goatee (mustache and chin hair can’t connect to sideburns), Partial beard (broken line from temple to temple or no mustache) , Business beard (full beard under 2 inches), Natural beard over and under 12 inches (must have unbroken line from temple to temple and no styling aids for mustache), Styled beard over and under 12 inches (no styling aids allowed for mustache), Freestyle (anything goes) with the category to close out the competition named Best in Show. Best in Show was where the number 1 finalists went beard to beard, beard to stash, or stash to stash against each other and the man or woman whose hair was deemed the best, won first place, overall.
Winners each received a wooden engraved plaque.
Three judges, John Banks, Nate Johnson and Rob Juker determined the winners in each category.
Angry Brians, a local Celtic rock band, featured guitarist and mandolin player Rich Cheney, Valerie Byrnes on bagpipes, Douglas Kirk on bass, and Walter Baldwin on drums and percussion. They even featured a new female vocalist.
There was plenty of food, raffle prizes, and music to keep people occupied through the 5-hour event, which raised, at night’s close, over $1,200.