In 2006, when the Rico Stache Bash, Knoxville's premier beard and mustache pageant, was first held, facial hair was still a novelty—not much different, really, than a trucker cap or a thrift-store T-shirt. But the organizers must have known they were on to something; nearly a decade later, beards and mustaches are more fashionable than they've been since the '70s, and the options seem endless—a neatly trimmed J. Crew-style beard for the office worker, a bushy full-on lumberjack deal, a Magnum, P.I. macho-stache, or an elaborately waxed ca. 1880s handlebar.
Which means the Stache Bash, scheduled for Saturday, March 15, at Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in the Old City, is more relevant than ever, and will have a bigger pool of potential entrants—which in turn means it's likely to be the greatest, weirdest, wildest version of the contest yet.
The Rico Stache Bash was founded by Dave Kirkendol, a local bartender, when his dog was diagnosed with cancer and had to be euthanized. All proceeds from the event's silent auction and entry fees are donated to the small-animal oncology department at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center.
There are seven categories for the contest: best overall, best mustache, best beard, best supervillian, most creative, welcome to puberty, and best female.