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Germans dominate world beard championships

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Germans dominate world beard championships
Armin Bielefeldt of the USA competed in the championsip's "freestyle full beard" category. Photo: DPA
12:08 CET+01:00
The world beard-growing competition took place near Stuttgart over the weekend, attracting 300 hairy hopefuls from around the world. Taking home half the trophies, Germany's victory was far from a close shave.

Germans may have won in over half of the 18 categories, but it was 25-year-old American Daniel Lawlor who took the prestigious "freestyle moustache" prize. His outstanding star-shaped bristles wowed the seasoned judges.

Wolfgang Schneider, 57, won the category "natural handlebar moustache" for the third year in a row. He said he was so inspired by Tom Selleck's facial hair in "Magnum" 38 years ago that he decided to grow his own.

Schneider said whenever he passes a mirror, he has to check himself in it, and carries a handkerchief everywhere just in case he needs to fine-tune his facial fur.

"Beard-wearers are the divas among men, they're always checking their appearance," he said.

CLICK HERE to see our gallery of the Beard World Championships

Not every bearded contender was so comfortable with the whiskered life, however. Florian Gauder, from Stuttgart, grew his beard specially for the competition, and will shave it off afterwards.

His wife and kids don't like it, the 39-year-old said. And besides, "having an ice cream or a döner is out of the question – it all gets stuck in the beard and stinks – and don't get me started on kissing."

He has enjoyed the contest, though: "it's crazy just how many people have come such a long way just for this weekend, for the world championships."

TV chef Johann Lafer won the world title of "beard of the year", and promised fellow growers he would keep his prize-winning fuzz in top condition.

For him, the greatest part of the world championship is that "the world comes here to grow together."

Schneider paid tribute to the owner of the world's greatest beard: "His beard suits him and that is the most important thing for any beard-wearer."

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