Carson City wins beard contest for second year straight |

Carson City wins beard contest for second year straight

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

No one thought Carson City would be named the Most Bearded Community of the Nevada Day Beard Contest for the second year in a row when men from Virginia City started lining up on the Nevada State Capitol steps two hours before the contest started Saturday afternoon.

“We’re coming back hard,” said Robert Gonzales of Virginia City, which has helped Storey County win almost every beard contest in history.

“We’re here to get the title back,” said Behr Hofner, who has come from Virginia City to the beard contest for six years.

“I think there’s a lot of boys coming down from the mountain this year,” Bart Lyons of Carson City said. “I think they deserve it. There’s a lot of good-looking whiskers up here.”

But after Nevada Supreme Court Justices Mark Gibbons and Ron Parraguire gave out prizes for the longest, blackest, whitest, reddest, scruffiest, best groomed, fullest, and best salt and pepper beards, organizers counted 42 men from Carson City with beards over Storey County’s 36.

“Beards are in in Carson City,” said Wally Earhart, who helped his city win.

“We got a higher population,” said Russell Lenhares after cheering Carson City’s win. “They didn’t have a chance.”

But Carson City’s win last year, which was the second of three victories over Storey County and the rest of the state in the contest’s at least 15-year history, only happened because too many men in Virginia City were too drunk to get to the contest, according to many in both Carson City and Virginia City.

“It’s more of a contest of who is sober, rather than who has the most beards,” said Phil Olsen of Tahoe City, Calif., who is captain of a group called Bear Team USA that competes in beard competitions around the world.

The reason Storey County lost again this year, however, according to contest organizer Charlie Porchia, could be that it reached its limit of beards even as interest in the contest is growing in Carson City.

“You can see they’re getting into it,” he said.

But some from Virginia City booed during the Carson City beard count and called out that some of the men didn’t have enough facial hair to qualify.

Behr Hofner said he saw at least three.

“They had nothing, man,” he said.

But others from Virginia City, like Robert Gonzales, who wore a poncho and drank out of a beer can from a straw, said Carson City won fairly this year and the men from the two counties respect each other.

“They took us,” he said and shrugged.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.