A Bay Area man with a passion for whiskers topped the competition at the eighth World Beard and Mustache Championships in Brighton, England on Saturday, Sept. 1, and it was hardly a close shave.
Jack Passion, 23, of Walnut Creek (though listed by AP stories reprinted worldwide as hailing from San Francisco) took highest honors in the "Full Natural Beard" competition, one of four gold medals won by Beard Team USA in a night that saw the end of German beard hegemony.
Passion, a retail salesman specializing in electronics, wisely accentuated his two-foot-long, flaming red beard by donning a stunning white Zoot suit with turquoise accents.
Phil Olsen, the 58-year-old captain of Beard Team USA, chalked up Passion's victory to top training: "He took really good care of it, grooming it and showing it off for us as well as possible," said the Lake Tahoe lawyer and part-time judge via a phone interview from England.
Olsen said Passion and other members of Beard Team USA will be landing at San Francisco International Airport Tuesday evening at around 5:20 and they'd love to meet and greet the hometown fans and media.
-- Joe Eskenazi