Move over, Scotty Gomez. Later, Rosey Fletcher. Lance Mackey? Forget about him.
There's a new champion in town. A hairy one.
Meet David Traver, world beard champion.
Traver's 20.5 inches of coarse kink, cultivated over 2½ years and fertilized in Anchorage's northern air, took the title on Saturday.
Traver was among 300 competitors from around the globe who converged here over the weekend for the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships. His beard, dyed several colors and woven into the shape of a snowshoe, beat out more than 140 others to become the coolest beard in the world. He took home a commemorative gold pan and a salmon fishing trip.
And now he's going to shave it off.
Once a man's reached the apex of facial hair, there's nowhere to go but down, he said. He'll shave for whoever writes the biggest check to Covenant House, he said.
"I'm retired as of yesterday," he explained Sunday from Girdwood, where he was manning the grill at a post-beard-competition barbecue. "It's like my wife said, 'You can't go any higher.' "
Turns out Alaska is a fertile place for prize-winning beards. Perhaps that's not a surprise in a state where men outnumber women and plenty of people live off the grid, where there's little reason to shave.
A quarter of the international beard prizes went to Alaskans. David Casswell of Kenai took third in the shorter beard category. Douglas Renfro of Anchorage took first in long beard, while Norman Pendergraft from Eagle River took second. In the natural full beard with mustache category, Bob Gengler of Eagle River took second place.
Alaska also placed in mustaches and goatees.
Along with his overall title, Traver took first in the freestyle beard competition, a category that's been dominated by Germany since the contest began in the early '90s.
"They have never lost in full beard freestyle, but not yesterday. Yesterday is the first time they got knocked off," he said. "They were humble, and you have to respect that."
Outdoing the Germans in the category for avant-garde whiskers took ingenuity, he said. Plus, they were getting predictable.
With his beard stylist, Ledjha Carson, Traver months ago started brainstorming a beard shape that was "out of the box," he said. They considered eagle wings, moose antlers and a sled dog team before settling on the snowshoe. It took Carson 90 minutes to weave it the day of the competition.
"She wanted it right. She was very meticulous," he said. "But my neck is still stiff."
Traver, who is 43 and works as a driver for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, got into facial hair competition locally about 10 years ago with the Mr. Fur Face competition during Fur Rendezvous. After that, he got involved with the South Central Alaska Beard and Moustache Club, which bid to bring the international championships to Anchorage this year -- beating out Liechtenstein. He dedicated his win to his father, David Traver, who died in September.
Traver enjoys being immersed in the beard-positive environment of the competition, he said.
"There's even a lot a ladies that show up that say, 'I like a guy with good facial hair,' " he said.
"Seriously, they exist."
Though he says he's retiring, he didn't say he'd ruled out all competition after his big shave.
"I'll probably grow a mustache," he said.
Trondheim, Norway, will host the next World Beard and Moustache Championships in 2011.