As a sports reporter, Global News’ Russ Hobson is used to seeing a lot of NHL playoff beards. Now, he is hoping his own facial hair will be a serious contender in a different kind of competition.
After more than two months of hard work and dedication, Hobson is eyeing up a win in the Festival du Voyageur beard growing contest Friday night.
“I grew a goatee for a short time in college and had a sweet handle bar ‘stache for Movember a few years back but definitely nothing to this extent,” he said.
Hobson considers himself a beard growing rookie, shaving every day or two because he wants to keep it clean while on the air.
“I usually take the opportunity to skip shaving when I can for vacations,” he said. “But that’s usually only a couple of weeks at a time at the most.”
It is the 35th year for the beard growing contest. Participants raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. If they collect $100 or more for the non-profit organization, they receive free admission to Festival du Voyageur.
Everyone taking part had to get a straight edge shave on December 9 then put the razor down.
WATCH: Timelapse of Russ Hobson’s beard
As his beard fills out, Hobson has caught the attention of his co-workers in the sports department.
“I feel envious but also proud,” said Mitch Rosset, who sits next to Hobson in the office. “He’s given it 110 per cent the last few months. That no-quit attitude is something we all can learn from.”
Hobson has also had to learn a few things about dealing with facial hair.
“Now that it’s getting a little longer on my upper lip, you almost have to adjust how you’re taking a drink especially if it’s out of a bottle,” he said.
“I’m always worried my lunch is hanging off it but I’m actually kind of enjoying it.”
Hobson said many people are surprised by the beard’s reddish hue but he has a hunch where it comes from.
“My dad also has red facial hair,” he said. “He had a bright red 70’s-style moustache when I was growing up.”
While he doesn’t know how much longer he will keep the beard around, Hobson thinks it will likely survive for a few more weeks.
“The permanent neck scarf isn’t too bad for when you’re taking a spin on the outdoor rink in the Winnipeg winter,” he said.
Judging for the contest is Friday at 8 p.m. at the Portage Tent in Voyageur Park. There are three categories up for grabs:
- Open Category:
- All participants have to do is show their originality and create their own beard. The person with the most creative one wins.
- Voyageur Beard Category:
- Contestants must naturally grow their beard, as long and as thick as they can, without help from chemicals or drugs. No colouring or extensions are allowed.
- Novelty Category:
- You can be as creative as you want to use hairstyling product to craft your beard or moustache in the most imaginative way possible. No colouring or extensions are allowed.