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Men flaunt their wild whiskers

September 14, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Lester Cunningham normally likes the clean-shaven look.

His wife, Eva, wholeheartedly agrees.

But for the last 3 1/2 months, Cunningham abandoned his razor and scrapped the shaving cream, hoping his whiskers would make him a winner.

As part of Waynesboro's bicentennial celebration, Brothers of the Brush Inc. held a contest Sunday afternoon on the Center Square, attended by more than 100 spectators, awarding cash prizes to those who sported the longest, ugliest and most unusual whiskers, among other categories.

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"The last time I shaved this off was back in 1972," said James Baer of Waynesboro, who won $50 for taking first place in the full beard category. He beat out 14 entrants with his neatly trimmed white beard that serves him well around the holidays when he plays Santa Claus.

Just what kind of special care goes into growing facial hair to make it contest-quality remains a secret with most men.

"I don't have to do a thing. I just run a comb through it. It just grows this way all by itself," said Bernard McIntyre of Greencastle, Pa., who won first place for his Lincoln beard, which he said often draws comments from strangers.

Sam Cox of Waynesboro, who came in second place for his full beard, was a little more forthcoming with his grooming technique.

"I use my wife's shampoo, whatever that is," he said.

John Gallagher of Waynesboro didn't have to do much to his beard except let it grow.

Measuring 71/2 inches from his chin, Gallagher came in first for the longest beard.

"I've been growing a beard for 23 years. But it's only been this long for the last five months or so. I let it grow for the bicentennial," he said.

After the contest, the men - and their wives - who couldn't stand their facial hair any longer could get a shave on the spot by attending barbers and stylists.

"It feels cool," Cunningham said, who was first in line for a shave.

Waynesboro Fire Chief Don Ringer pulled out his own portable shaver from his pocket, finishing off what the barber started.

Other contest winners were: Lester Cunningham, second place, Lincoln beard; Doug Stine, first place, and Gary Crider, second place, best mustache; Ron Miller, first place, and Doug Stine, second place, for best mutton chops; Merle Dentler Sr., first place, and Steven Bender, second place, for best goatee; Steven Bender, first place, and Steve Gelet, second place, for best ring beard; and Dennis "Smitty" Smith won for the ugliest beard.

This year's contest upheld a tradition that was started 50 years ago by members of the now-defunct Waynesboro Whisker Club during the town's 150th anniversary.

Brothers of the Brush, a nonprofit organization, replaced the whisker club in 1968 with 600 members. The club was incorporated in 1970.

Besides the beard growing contest, the club sponsors an annual Easter egg hunt at Renfrew Museum and Park. Members also hold fund-raisers and other activities, the proceeds from which are donated to charities or other causes.

The club meets every third Monday of the month at the Virginia Avenue fire hall.

There is a $5 membership fee for all new members. You must be 21 to join.

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