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Local man wins prize in moustache, beard contest
Moustace Mans prize
Mitchell won a small, copper gold miner’s dish for his carefully grown and groomed facial hair. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
Beards and moustaches come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
There’s the Dali, the Emperial, the Fumanchu, the Alaskan Whaler, the Musketeer, the Verdi and the Garibaldi style — just to name a few.  
Hinesville resident Bill Mitchell calls his furled facial hair a partial beard mutton chop.
“It’s an extremely long sideburn,” Mitchell said with a chuckle.
Last weekend at the ninth Biennial World Beard and Moustache Competition in Anchorage, Alaska, Mitchell’s long, carefully groomed whiskers earned him third place in the partial beard division.
Mitchell said it was his first time competing in the contest since joining Beard Team USA almost a year ago.
“It had started to grow halfway decent,” he said. “And I wanted to be around other guys with similar interest. I didn’t know if I could grow it long enough to join the competition.”
But he did. His moustache measures nearly 28-inches long if the curled tufts are pulled taught from left to right.
“Each side is about a foot long,” he said, tugging on a few strands of his prize-winning growth.  
Each day, Mitchell said, he spends about an hour and a half primping and pressing his moustache and partial beard.
“Twenty years ago, I would have been upset about someone talking to me about using hairspray and curling irons,” the Army veteran said.
During the five-day competition, Mitchell went through one can of hairspray and one tube of sculpting wax.
He said his work wowed the judges and nabbed him the prize — a small, copper gold miner’s dish. 
“He had it styled perfectly; it looked really, really good and he had every hair in place,” said Phil Olson, captain of Beard Team USA. “The judges simply pick the contestants they like best in each category.”
He discovered the World Beard and Moustache Competition in 1999. He said he wanted to make the United States a superpower in the sport.
So far, Olson said, his team has achieved its goal.
This year, Jack Passion, one of the youngest competitors on the team, placed first in the largest of 18 categories, the full beard competition, and then took the prize for 3rd place in the overall competition.
Olson said Passion’s bronze-colored thatch pitted him against more than 50 competitors in the full beard division. 
Oklahoman Toot Joslin placed first in the overall competition, beating out champions from countries like Germany that previously dominated the competition.
“This is absolutely serious,” Olson said. “This is so important, and it’s fantastic that America finally beat Germany. The public should take it seriously and have fun with it too.”
Mitchell and his wife Pat, who admits it took some coercing by Mitchell for her to become a fan of the event, said they can’t wait for another chance to participate.
“It was very enlightening and I am very proud of him,” Pat Mitchell said.
They hope Bill can place at the national competition, which will be in Las Vegas next spring. 
“I am going to go wherever Beard Team USA goes,” he said.
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