Beardoff 2.0

AJ Honore

Author (and former People’s Choice winner) AJ Honore.

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, the Net Impact chapter of the Tippie School of Management hosted the 2nd annual Beardoff in the Pomerantz Center building on the beautiful University of Iowa campus.What is a Beardoff? A Beardoff is a beard-growing competition held for charity. Over $140 was donated to Iowa City-based Table2Table, and many cans of food were also collected. And while this event did not directly tie into the more popularly known “Movember” movement, I would like to believe that there was at least an implicit connection. Competitors in our Beardoff had one month in which to grow delightful variations on facial hair themes.

Last year I had the honor of winning the “People’s Choice” category, and so I decided that this year I would give up that crown to another bearded business student. Unfortunately, the category was retired. So this year I served as a judge along with fellow M.B.A. student Ben Clark.  Having written a master’s thesis titled “BEARDS: On Men, On Women, On Gods, and More – How Facial Hair Serves as both a Means to and an End of Communication *or* Facial Hair as a Medium of Communication,” I think that I was pretty well-suited to help judge this competition.

Russ Mills

Russ Mills, winner of the “Longest Without Trimming” category. (The Daily Iowan/Jessica Payne)

There were four winners of the very hard-fought competition. Russ Mills of the Class of 2013 took the crown for the “Longest Without Trimming” category. His beard was pretty long (but not as long as mine – I’m not one to be outdone in an M.B.A. bearding contest, even if I am merely judging.)

“Most Creative” facial hair went to Haytham Hajir, who sported quite the dashing horse-shoe-esque moustache. Unfortunately, he has since shaven it (though I hear his wife is relatively pleased with this turn of events).  My original plan had been to shave my beard into a serpent or snake-like creature and join the competition at the very last possible moment. Fortunately this did not come to fruition.

Haytham Hajir

“Most Creative” winner Haytham Hajir.

The “Scrappiest” category was almost as hard-fought as any of the other categories, but the sheer lack of beards here made that impossible. First year M.B.A. candidate Ryan Lindsay  won this prestigious award. Luca Di Palo of the second year class was last year’s “champion” in this category, but he did not return to defend his title, unfortunately.

Ryan Lindsay

Ryan Lindsay, winner of the “Scrappiest” category.

Finally, in what was a truly epic battle (at least as far as competitive bearding events for charity are concerned), Avishek Day of the full-time class of 2013 beat Career Service’s own Tom Banta for the “Best Moustache” category. (I was tempted to use a pogonological pun there, but somehow was able to control myself.)

Molly’s Cupcakes of Iowa City helped to sponsor this event by donating gift certificates to the big winners. I believe that I can safely say, “a good time was had by all.” (If “a good time was not had by all,” please feel free to mention that in the comments section of this blog.)

Avishek Dey

“Best Mustache” winner Avishek Dey.

In the aftermath of the 2ndannual Beardoff, many a beard and moustache has subsequently been “put to rest,” much to my chagrin. (I’m sure there is another pun in there somewhere.) Let’s hope that the Tippie Class f 2014 can stand up, grow some beards, and continue this proud tradition.

See before and after pictures of all of the contestants on our Facebook page!

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AJ Honoré

About AJ Honoré

AJ is a second year MBA Candidate in the Strategic Management and Innovation Academy at the Tippie School of Management. He has worked extensively in media, specializing in the space where broadcast and digital meet. AJ holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. from Fordham University. He is a native Wisconsinite.