Originally Published: March 25, 2018 6 a.m.
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The man made famous by being “the most interesting man in the world” while pitching Dos Equis beer loaned his expertise with his perfectly groomed facial hair by helping to judge a contest looking for the best beard in Vermont.
Jonathan Goldsmith, whose close-cropped beard was a key part of the image of the cigar-smoking sophisticate, judged the Best Beardies competition Saturday. It was sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
This year’s competition raised $45,000 for Make-a-Wish Vermont, topping the nearly $30,000 it brought in last year.
The contest’s 2018 Top Beardie was Chip Fortune, of Colchester, whose mountain man-style beard won over the judges.
The other winners were: Troy Headrick, of Burlington, urban beard; Louie Coli, of Westford, freestyle beard; Dillon Mears, of Plainfield, people’s choice; and Steve Jalbert, of Barre, top fundraiser.
The winners were among this year’s 20 competitors who made it to Saturday’s finals. They each won a plaque, a gift card for beard care products and bragging rights.
Goldsmith said before the competition that a beard reveals the personality of the man who sports it.
“If it’s wild looking, unkempt — that has some statement. If it’s immaculately trimmed, it might mean that he keeps a clean desk,” said Goldsmith, a Vermont resident who now promotes tequila. “If it’s really long, I would say that it’s somebody who is his own man and doesn’t really care about convention.”
Jalbert, 33, has a long beard that covers his bald pate. He said friends, family and admirers of his beard, which he’s been working on for about a year, urged him to enter.
“The biggest thing is you have to have patience. It doesn’t grow fast,” Jalbert said.
There’s a science to ensuring that his beard remains kempt, he said. He washes it several times a week and he uses oils to keep it tame and looking good.
“Most people have a good thing to say about a guy with a good beard,” said Jalbert, who raised $2,070 in contributions.
Also judging those goods beards was Bryan Sturge, last year’s winner. He still has the beard he grew to honor his daughter who died of cancer in 2013.
Organizers have also drawn the Montana Make-a-Wish organization into the best-beard fray.
Montana, which is holding its finals March 29, is betting bison steaks it can find a better beard in Big Sky Country than the Green Mountain State. Vermont is countering that bet with of maple syrup.