The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

January 21, 2013

Beards to benefit: Group celebrates facial hair, raises money for charity

RICHMOND — A local chapter of Beard Team USA, Beard & Loathing in Kentucky, is taking facial hair to a whole new level.

Beard & Loathing is one of more than 100 sanctioned chapters of a national organization that “promotes the appreciation of facial hair nationwide,” according to the BTUSA website.

However, Richmond’s bearded (mustached, sideburned, goateed and hairless) members are using their group to do good work in their community.

“I don’t want to be a group of guys that just sits around and drinks beer and talks about our beards and mustaches,” said Kyle Isaacs, one of the team’s founding members. “Although I want to do that occasionally, we want to be a help within the community and donate our time and money to local charities.”

Beard & Loathing started in June 2011, and has since raised more than $3,000 for local organizations, Isaacs said.

Their first event was a simple cornhole tournament at The Paddy Wagon in downtown Richmond. The bearded group had never really organized a charity event before, but threw together a live band and prizes donated from local businesses.

They raised around $170 for the Kentucky Appalachian Mission of Hope during that first event, Isaacs said. “And to us at that time, we thought that was the coolest thing in the world.”

When a tornado devastated West Liberty March 2012, one of the group’s members, James Noble, compiled a video of the storm damage.

The video was created for one of Noble’s classes at Eastern Kentucky University, but it prompted the group to load up two cars with $200 worth of supplies to help with cleanup efforts.

“I didn’t feel like we did much,” said Isaacs. “But like I’ve said from the very beginning: ‘I want our charity works to be like our beards, and just grow with no limits.’”

The group celebrates all types of facial hair, Isaacs said. “Some of our members just have a big curly mustache, or they have really big sideburns, and one member can’t grow facial hair at all.”

Isaacs has worn a beard since he graduated from Madison Southern High School. And when he first learned about Beard Team USA, he didn’t have many bearded friends.

However, one beard led to another and the group eventually grew to around 25 regular members who represent all walks of life. Some are insurance agents, factory workers, daycare teachers, students, veterans, artists, musicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, college graduates (some with master’s degrees), members of the tattoo and piercing community and four are Kentucky colonels.

“I’ve met people I otherwise would have never met,” Isaacs said. Often times, conversations start with: “Hey, that’s a nice mustache (or beard, or sideburns, or goatee).”

“No one has ever thought that (compliment) was weird,” Isaacs said of the hairy-faced people he has met.

Because of the car washes, art shows, cornhole tournaments, food drives, clothing drives, charity events and beard competitions, many people are beginning to recognize the group and its distinctive name.

“Beard and Loathing” is a play on words derived from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream,” a novel by the late Hunter S. Thompson of Louisville.

Isaacs is a big fan of the writer, and planned to write a short story titled “Beard and Loathing,” he said. When he formed the group in 2011, he thought it sounded like the right name, especially since Thompson is from Kentucky. 

Main officers are given seafarer’s ranks like “Chief Officer,” “First Mate,” “Master at Arms” and “Botswains Mate.”

Many people just refer to Isaacs as simply “The Captain.”

They also have a support group called Kentucky Beardettes, made up of women who support their cause and participate in all of the events and functions, Isaacs said.

Some of the women go to the competitions with fake beards, said junior officer Ian Long.

On Feb. 2, a bearded competition will be hosted at Cosmic Charlie’s in Lexington by the Lexington Beard Team chapter The Nomadic Beardsmen of the Bluegrass.

This year, inspired by the Richmond group, The NBB will donate all of the event’s proceeds to charity.

Joined by the Derby City Whisker Club, a beard team from Louisville, the three groups form The Commonwealth of Kentucky Bearders. They hope their joined facial hairstyles will earn the respect and admiration of fellow bearders at the national competition in New Orleans in September.

“People see someone with a really long beard and they automatically think they’re a biker, or a criminal or something,” Isaacs said. “But the people at these beard competitions are friendly and interesting, and your physical shape doesn’t matter.”

The team will participate in the Kentucky Polar Plunge in Lexington on Feb. 9 to “freeze for a reason” and raise money for the Special Olympics.

Participants must raise a minimum of $75 ($50 for ages 6-18) to take a chilly dip into a pool. Last year, the event raised nearly $75,000 to support Special Olympics Kentucky athletes.

Beard & Loathing will host its own Bluegrass Beard-off on May 10 at the Paddy Wagon.

The cover charge will be $5 and it will cost another $5 to enter your facial hair into the competition.

After around $30 is spent on trophies, the rest of the proceeds will be put in the group’s general fund and then a charity will be chosen, Isaacs said.

When the group started, they would just call up different organizations and tell people what they were all about.

“A bunch of people thought we were joking,” said Isaacs, who sports a jacket with the Beard & Loathing logo on the back. But “now people have heard of us and comment on my jacket.”

The group is currently looking for a good charity to make a donation to and will take suggestions via Facebook or email at  beardn loathingky@gmail.com.

One day, they hope to fund a Habitat for Humanity home, but the captain knows it might take a while to get there.

“If we give $5, that’s $5. But we’re never going to be satisfied. We’re going to keep on growing.”

Beard & Loathing is open to all who want to join, as is the national organization, which states: “Membership in America’s team is open to everyone. There are no annoying applications, dues, membership requirements, or gender tests. Unlike some sporting organizations, Beard Team USA encourages the use of performance “enhancing” substances.

“BTUSA also opposes discrimination against the bearded, mustached, sideburned, and goateed.”

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
  • Brandon-Sears-c.jpg Beef Cattle Association field day is Thursday

    Make plans to attend the Madison County Beef Cattle Association field day on Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The event will take place at the farm of Dr. Eugene Bowling, 1437 Barnes Mill Road in Richmond. Signs will be posted.
    This meeting qualifies as a CAIP educational component.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 04.23 JessaTurner1.jpg Eat local and eat with the seasons

    This week marks the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, and what could be more important to our survival than clean air, clean water and clean food?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amanda-Sears-c.jpg Proper care enables planting of Easter lilies

    Did you receive or purchase an Easter lily? If so, be sure to treat it right and you will be able to plant it outside this spring.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lisa Adams.jpg 4-H Camping Season Nears

    Hopefully, we have seen the last of the snow for the year, so now is the time for young people and their parents to begin making plans for an annual summer ritual, 4-H Camp.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg These things cause me concern for the future

    I was just thinking the other day about things that are happening in this country that do not bode well for the future.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 04.18 Food .jpg It’s egg party time

    I love this time of the year because eggs really do go down in price during the Easter season. I have some new recipes on how to fix eggs besides the coloring part.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 04.18 Steaks.jpg Where’s the beef?

    Today, the American consumer has more money to spend on the widest variety of foods than at any other time in our history.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4.15 Eggstravaganza 1.jpg Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond

    Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?

    Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg We old folks have unique experiences

    A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and I thought my readers would enjoy it.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results