There are two types of people in Tacoma: men who grow beards and women. As a lifelong member of the latter group it took far too long for it to occur to me having a beard is a male’s default state, and choosing to be clean-shaven is a commitment.
Though most of the men I know here sport little more than stubble I recently hung out with a crew who’ve banded together in solidarity over letting their facial hair fly. Meet the Grit City SOBs (that’s Society of Beards, to be clear) and few others who turned up at Odd Otter Brewing Company‘s ‘Best Beard in Tacoma Competition’ last Friday night…
The night was dark, the brewery was full, and an untold amount of beer head was strained by generous mustaches.
As a newbie to the beard competition scene I wasn’t sure what to expect. Aside from a collection of statues readily visible as thirsty patrons walked in the door, I don’t know that a person would have automatically realized they were pulling up a stool in the midst of a competition in the early hours.
Then things got a little odder at the Otter.
At award time the bold personalities hidden behind the polite assembly of bearded men pictured above came out — and there was no going back.
Acceptance speeches included shouts of victory, nods to random fucking people who ask to touch beards (the jury remains out on if the answer is “Yes, you can!” or “Bitch, no!”), random dudes at the airport, everyone’s mom, and the people of Walmart.
For the grand finale People’s Choice award, showmanship proved to be a key component of this beautiful shitshow. Blake Moo (identifiable by the nose ring, NASA shirt, and magnificent mustache that earlier earned him top honors in that fitting category) greeted all with a hearty, “Hey, motherfuckers!” and what can surely only be described as a walrus-wiggle trick.
Other ploys to win over the crowd included hair flips, seductive beard stroking, and teases of a gun show.
In the end it was Evil Nate with the black hat and mouthy black tee that garnered the loudest cheers. Before posing for Grit City Magazine’s camera he showed his appreciation with a proper trio of, “Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!” calls.
And then it briefly got weird.
One might say Odd Otter’s event was a bit more of a beard gathering with a few trophies mixed in than a formal competition, but none seemed to mind a simple evening of beards, beers, and shenanigans.
Rounding out the month at Odd Otter Brewing Company will be a Yoga + Beer event, an all-ages open mic, and an Ugly Ottermas Sweater Party. Check out their active Facebook events page to learn more.
The fellas from Grit City SOBs are currently welcoming new members, as well as planning to hand out a few major awards in April 2018.
Their event page explains: “The Freestyle Bearded Civil War is fucking BACK! Brought to you by Grit City S.O.B’s, it’s Washington vs Oregon in a battle between the best freestyle beards, mustaches and whiskerinas in Cascadia!”
Images by Sierra Hartman