Virginia City looking to reclaim beard crown
By Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
The idea that Virginia City lost its title as Most Bearded Community last year because too many men were too drunk to get to the Capitol steps is only a rumor, said Bobby Kittle and Wilson Donaldson.
“That’s not true,” Kittle said. “We lost last year because we didn’t use the women.”
“That’s not true,” Wilson said. “But we usually do get started in the limo on the way down.”
“That’s probably true,” said Kittle, as the two men laughed at the Old Washoe Club in Virginia City on Tuesday.
But both said they believe enough men with beards will go down to the Nevada Day Beard Contest in Carson City on Nevada Day to win back the title their town lost for only the second time in the history to Carson City when 22 Carson City men with beards, compared to 16 Virginia City men with beards, came last year to compete.
“We’ve all been talking, and we’re going to go down,” said Wilson, who has a long gray beard. “We want the Most Bearded Community back.”
The rules for the contest, which has been around for at least 15 years, are simple. Contestants show up on the Capitol steps about a half hour after the Nov. 1 Nevada Day parade has finished. There, Nevada Supreme Court Justices Mark Gibbons and Ron Parraguire judge whose beard is the longest, blackest, whitest, reddest, scruffiest, best groomed, fullest, and best salt and pepper. They also count to see what town has the most men with beards to be the Most Bearded Community.
And while Kittle and Donaldson pointed to the strong turnout of Carson City’s Sikhs as the reason for Virginia City’s loss, contest organizer Charlie Porchia gave a different reason.
“A lot of the old guys are gone or have died or are too drunk to get down,” he said.
But the event is still fun and popular, said the 65-year-old Porchia, a former Virginia City resident, and that’s why he drives down now from Oregon to host it.
Gary Ashby of Carson City, who won second place for whitest beard last year, said he likes going to the contest because of the camaraderie and individualism of the contest where “everybody has his own.”
But, Donaldson said, there is a sense of urgency now in the town of Virginia City that has “the most beards per capita” and where the men there will be ready on Nevada Day.
“I’m sure Carson City is going to go full gun,” he said.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
If you go
WHAT: The Nevada Day Beard Contest
WHEN: About a half hour after the Nevada Parade is done on November 1
WHERE: The steps of the Nevada State Capitol, 101 N. Carson St.