Shared from the 2017-03-20 Chattanooga eEdition

Most Interesting Man judges beard contest

Winner grew beard as tribute to daughter who died of cancer

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bryan Sturge of Barre, Vt., shows off his winning beard in Montpelier, Vt.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A man who helped pitch Dos Equis beer as the Most Interesting Man in the World turned his attention from his favorite beer to his favorite beard by judging a competition called Vermont Beardies.

Actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who lives in Manchester and sports a closely cropped white beard he maintains with a l i ce co m b given to him by a veterinarian, was one of four j u d ge s wh o chose the contest’s winner in Burlington on Saturday.

This year’s honors went to Bryan Sturge, of Barre, who hasn’t cut his beard in almost two years.

The event benefits Make- a-Wish Vermont, which helps grant wishes to children living with life-threatening conditions.

The competition was judged in three categories: urban beard, freestyle and backwoods. Each contestant also had to tell an interesting story about his beard. Out of the more than 100 original entrants, the top 30 were invited to the in-person finals.

Sturge entered the competition as a tribute to his 11-year-old daughter Zoey, who died of cancer in 2013 before her Make-a-Wish request to go to Disney World and swim with the dolphins could be granted.

When Zoey was sick, Sturge promised Zoey he wouldn’t shave until she got better. After she died, he shaved a couple times but always regrew his beard. He said he entered the contest to give back to Make-a-Wish so that other children could be granted wishes Zoey never got to experience.

Goldsmith, who spent nine years as the pitchman with the gravelly voice for D o s Eq u i s , said there are a few things he’s looking for in a winning beard.

“The character of the beard, how it brings forth something indigenous to the individual, something personal,” Goldsmith said.

W h i l e t h e

premise of the contest is humorous, the reason for it can be heart-wrenching.
“It’s a promise that we made,” Sturge said. “It’s love. It’s a memory. It’s how she last saw me, with a beard. She didn’t want me to shave it because of our promise. I offered to shave for her so she could see me without it. She said, ‘No, that’s not the deal.’”

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