Ladies and Gentlemen, bearding is a sport. Not a sport like playing for the NY Yankees, but better, because you can’t have an awesome beard and play for the Yankees. In “Whisker Wars” we are chronicling the adventures of a bearded band of boys a.k.a. Beard Team USA as they make their way to the World Beard and Mustache Competition in Norway. In the last episode they merry men were competing in Texas. On a roll of the dice, current US title holder Aarne Bielefeldt took top honors, besting two-time world champion Jack Passion. This week the bearded warriors are heading to Detroit to once again face off in the ultimate facial hair challenge.
Beard Team USA is in the Motor City, for one of the few remaining national competitions before the world championships. But Beard Team USA is lacking their star players. Current national champion Aarne Bielefeldt doesn’t need to prove anything any more. He has the beard to beat. And a velvet jester hat too. As for the other ringer in the Full Beard Natural category, Jack Passion, well he has a beard modeling gig. No, we don’t know that was a thing either. Where was the beard modeling booth at the high school career fair? Also missing from the Detroit competition are the members of the Austin Facial Hair Club, who are deciding whether to secede from the Beard Team USA union. With the two strongest contenders out and Austin not showing up at all, New York’s Myk O’Connor hopes to score a late season win and ride in to Norway on a wave of victory. Unfortunately a bunch of other people have the same idea.
Since Austin isn’t heading North to Motown, Miletus Callahan-Barile decides to head even further north to Anchorage, Alaska and the Mr. Fur Face Competition. Miletus hopes to bring home the gold in one of the few competitions that recognizes his beard — The Donagal a.k.a. The Alaskan Whaler. But Miletus isn’t just there for fun, he also wants to seek the counsel of the Alaskan Beard Club, a group that is recognized by the World Beard and Mustache Association (WBMA) and that has nothing to do with Phil Olsen and Beard Team USA. If Austin’s going to go it alone, the Alaskans would be a great ally and role model. Miletus is trying to roll out the Southern charm and extend an olive branch, but some of the Alaskans aren’t as friendly as Southerners. When the man who won the 2010 championship for his Alaskan Whaler sees a Texan vying for the Alaskan Whaler crown, he retires to bathroom to shave his moustache and vie to reclaim his title. Miletus tries not to take it personally, and opts to take in some local color, including running with the reindeer, Pamplona-style. The deer win, almost.
Back in Detroit, Myk is scoping the competition. Burke Kenny, the styled mustache champion and best-groomed winner from Austin, makes a surprise appearance. In a surprise move, he’s going to be competing against Myk in the Full Beard Natural category. In Anchorage, Craig Miller, the defending Alaskan Whaler champion, is sans mustache and ready to compete against Miletus for the title of best Donagal.
Myk takes the stage in Detroit, but taking the crown away from Burke Kenny with his signature hat-tip-and-wink competition is going to be hard. Myk does the only thing he can: Buys all the judges a beer. The judges announce the third place winner, the second place winner, and very slowly, the first place winner as Burke Kenny. Myk doesn’t place, again. He tries not to take it too hard, but his chances of placing in Norway seem slim.
Back in Anchorage, Miletus is taking part of a traditional Alaskan beard ceremony: The Petting Zoo. The gents line up and the ladies cop a feel …of the beard. Then the competitors take the stage. In a surprise, Miletus beats the local incumbent champion! He calls his Austin Facial Hair Club teammates, but no one believes him. Would you? Then Miletus makes his other big move and asks the Alaskan team for sponsorship to become an independent club, separate from Beard Team USA. Back in Austin, the members of the Austin Facial Hair Club prepare to leave Beard Team USA. They draft their by-laws and then in true Texas style head to the tattoo parlor to make it permanent.
Out in the hills of California, Aarne has been drafting a manifesto of his own. He is forming his own club. The one rule? No trimming, not even split ends. He may be the only member. But he just might like it like that.
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New episodes of “Whisker Wars” air on IFC on Fridays at 11 p.m. ET