The home crowd got quiet as Bad Billy Mayfield prepared to announce the winner of the Most Bearded Community award, then exploded into cheers.
The tally: Carson City 89, Virginia City 54. Carson got its revenge a year after Virginia City won the award, with 57 bearded attendees to the capital’s 46.
More than 300 people gathered amid sunshine and falling leaves in front of the Legislative Building to watch as winners were named in each of the Nevada Day Beard Contest’s nine categories. Nevada Supreme Court Justice Mark Gibbons, Secretary of State Ross Miller and Miss Nevada Diana Sweeney served as judges, and Texas Jack Vermillion tallied names.
Dave Peterson took first in the Reddest Beard category. He took second last year and said he has been growing his beard for four years.
Peterson said his beard grows about 2.5 inches a year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have even better odds at winning Reddest Beard next year.
“Not in my category,” he said. “The older I get, the grayer it gets.”
Terry “TerrBear” Foster of Dayton won the Longest Beard category with his 23-inch beard. He last shaved Oct. 31, 2009, and said his beard grows about 6 inches a year.
Postal customers might have seen Foster’s nearly 2 feet of facial hair. He works at the post office on Roop Street in Carson City and said he often is at the window.
“They stop growing eventually; it’s called terminal length,” he said about beards. “I’ll get to about 30 inches, and then it’ll probably stop.”
Mike Powell of Reno took first in the Best Groomed Beard category for the second consecutive year. His blond-and-red, curl-filled beard was complemented by a partly shaved head and spiky hair on top.
The curls and coloring required some sacrifice on Powell’s part. He said he’d styled his beard the previous afternoon and slept sitting up.
“I’m not tired; my adrenaline is pumping,” he said.
Powell has participated in the contest for three years; he said he shaves his beard once a year and starts anew.
“I like the feeling of my neck,” he joked.
Powell, who works at a bank, said his co-workers and customers are fans of his distinctive style.
“They’re all expecting me to show up to work Monday with a plaque,” he said, clutching the award he’d received for his win.