May 25, 2009 in Nation/World

‘Snowshoe’ wins by a whisker

Mary Pemberton Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Lutz Giasa, left, and Karl-Heinz Hiller, both of Berlin, Germany, are shown Friday before the start of a parade kicking off the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – David Traver didn’t expect to win the freestyle category in the World Beard and Moustache Championships. But he did.

The Anchorage man certainly didn’t think he’d go on to be crowned champ of the international competition that salutes those with the fanciest whiskers. But he was.

“Kind of cool,” said Traver, 43, who normally competes in the full beard category but decided to do something different in the freestyle category for Saturday’s competition – very different. He and a stylist worked for more than an hour to get his long beard woven into the shape of a snowshoe.

The judges went for it.

“No American has ever placed in the freestyle let alone won it,” Traver said Sunday.

Traver defeated Gerhard Knapp and Hans-Peter Weis, both Germans, to clinch the top spot in the freestyle bout.

In the overall competition, Traver beat out Benjamin Juergens of Los Angeles, who won first in the imperial partial beard category (hair on the cheeks and upper lip), and Jack Passion of San Francisco, who was first in the natural full beard category.

“His beard is supremely impressive,” Traver said of Passion.

Nearly 300 competitors from more than a dozen countries competed Saturday. The competition, which began in Germany in 1990, is divided into 17 categories: eight styles of mustaches, four varieties of partial beard or goatee and five kinds of full beards. The winners of the categories then compete for the top three spots in the overall.

The natural full beard category is the most competitive. There were 144 contestants.

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