If you’ve ever attended a Beard Competition of any size or stature, you’re immediately confronted with a sense of odd exhilaration. After all, it’s a group of mostly bearded men, waiting patiently to show off their face fur for a chance to win some bragging rights, and of course, some hardware. But if you spend a little more time on this circuit, you realize that there is a lot more going on then just beard genetics and bravado. When asked what he loves about beard competitions, the Bearded Kraken, aka John Parks, told us, “it supports charity, but the hardware is nice too!”
Beard comps interestingly enough are not just for bearded men. There is a funky and fun category called Whiskerina. It’s for everyone who cannot grow facial hair, but has a creative edge and a desire to show off their best rendition of a beard. For TeamPBO, this funky, fun competitor is Sami from Pennsylvania. When asked what brought her into the purple tentacles of TeamPBO, Sami was drawn to it after being in the background supporting TeamPBO members, and decided that she wanted a taste of the competition flavor. “I had always been travelling around with TeamPBO, helping out where I could, and then decided to compete for myself, and totally loved it!” Despite the camaraderie and good vibes at most local beard comps, being a woman competitor has not been without its challenges. As Sami shared with us, “the most memorable experience was in LA when I was robbed for my best in show award because I was a woman. But the most amazing part about it was seeing the crowd take over and cheer for my beard.” Her tenacity is exactly what TeamPBO attracts and as she shared, “knowing that I changed perspectives is what mattered to me. That was actually a perfect score.”
Participating in a beard competition doesn’t always attract the most naturally outgoing of people. As PBO member Twisted told us, “I’m not a spot light type of person, but competing is an adrenaline rush, a high of sorts and the confidence it brings being on such an amazing team, and using the best oil in the world.” For some of the more dynamic personalities on the team, such as Kraken (from Northern Virginia), competing is about “silk trails all over the crowd,
judges, and the venue! It’s one word – CONFIDENCE!” But, it’s just not the attitude that attracts people to want to be a member of TeamPBO, it’s the premium ingredients that go into each oil, balm and beard wash. When TeamPBO competitors were asked what brought them into the fold, it was a resounding “its about the products”! For some it’s the general quality of the beard products, for others like Hartman (Fred from Northern Virginia), it was a specific scent that sealed the deal. “Once I tried the coconilla I was sold on the Pulpo brand!” Coming to PBO doesn’t always happen right away though.
As TeamPBO competitor Maurice “Mo” (from West Pennsylvania) suggests, “I was brought to PBO because I was looking for the right beard care and tried a lot of them. I was turned onto Pulpo Beard Oils and was amazed by the product and knew this was something I could stand behind, something I knew I could be proud to tell everyone about.” And you know the product is good when a World Champion such as Nate Johnson gets behind the products and the team. As Nate told us, “when the Boss (El Jefe) and I talked, I was a bit skeptical about the quality of the beard oil at first because so many beard oils just don’t do what a beard needs, and provide saturation. Then I tried some and it was the consistency needed to keep the beard silky, and I was in! Plus, I love the unique smells. RED ALERT FOR LIFE! Lol. But I stay because it’s a good quality product that does what it says. Plus, the Boss has great integrity and it shows in the products.” You can’t beat that kind of recommendation.
But by far the biggest reason that the PBO Competitive Team sticks around is due to the close knit relationships that are forged among the team. Without a doubt, PBO continues to attract quality people because people are drawn to the ‘familiares cercanos’ vibe that emanates among them. As Nick (Southernender) from South Pennsylvania puts it, “it’s like another smaller family that you can not only rely on but ride with knowing that there isn’t a more solid group out there”. Whether it’s helping each other with costume fittings or last minute beard or moustache tweaks, the members of TeamPBO’s competition team always have each other’s backs. World Champ Nate Johnson sums it up when he told us, “I feel so grateful to hear Team PBO cheer and shout, not just for me, but for everyone on the team during a competition, and that makes me feel damn good!” With a number of world and national champs on the team such as Nate, Frankie, Bear, or Barb, there’s plenty of reason for TeamPBO to get excited at any and all beard competitions they attend. As Frankie put it, the reason he stays is “the constant love and support I get from the family.”
It’s pretty clear when speaking to TeamPBO beard competition members that the thrill of the stage, the confidence that comes with knowing you’re representing the best beard oil on the planet and the loyalty and commitment that comes with being a member is what keeps this crew tight and their attitude positive. As Kraken puts it the only way he knows how, being a TeamPBO member is about staying “Silky fresh all day fo sho!”
El Jefe showing his fandom next to The Queen, Sami.
It’s probably not surprising that people want to know what “The Boss” (or as he’s affectionately known among PBO members, El Jefe) thinks about the growth of his business and his team. When asked to reflect on PBO and the familia that shapes it, he had this to say. “From my point of view it is an amazing feeling to see all of these people using and representing my products. All walks of life, backgrounds, and orientations. To know my brand is a place where all can come together and enjoy our differences is amazing. As a competitor myself and someone who loves competition (and hates losing), few things make me prouder than to represent this brand and all in it. When my guys and gal go up on stage, we usually bring the house down. And I live thru that. I probably get more excited when they win than when I do. It’s totally weird lol. Someone asked me the other day if we had an ambassador program to which I replied, we don’t because we have a family. We all support each other’s endeavors in and outside this bearded world, and that is definitely more important.”
Written and edited by Matt “Matty” Jackson