By Liana Jacob
MEET THE man who has been growing his beard for nearly FIVE YEARS during which time he has been involved in over THIRTY beard competitions and been called RIDICULOUS by strangers – and despite the hassle his beard causes him he has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
In June 2014 IT supervisor, Lance Wooton (32) from Kentucky, USA, decided to grow his beard so that he could dress up as a pirate for Halloween.
It wasn’t until he posted a picture of himself in October that he was contacted by a company that was hosting a beard competition that he decided to keep growing it big and long.
Over the next five years he has had exciting opportunities to travel and entered more beard competitions; winning second place for the Full Beard Natural in the United States and fourth place for the Full Beard Natural internationally.
While he has received comments that he is ‘crazy’ or his beard is ‘ridiculous’, he hasn’t let this stop him from growing his beard, which is now two and a half feet in length and 12 inches wide.
He describes his beard as a hassle when it comes to day-to-day activities such as eating or doing daily chores, but he continues to grow it as long as possible.
“I started growing my beard because I wanted to be a pirate for Halloween – I know it’s not that cool, but it’s true,” Lance said.
“It was June and I always host the family and friends’ Halloween party and just figured I’d try dressing as a pirate.
“Around October a buddy of mine who owns a barber shop here locally in London, KY, invited me to check out some beard products.
“I had no clue such a thing even existed, I bought some and posted a few pictures on Instagram. A company called CanYouHandleBar reached out and invited me to a beard competition in Newport, KY.
“When I arrived, I was shocked to see the friendships and the big beards. I thought to myself I bet I can grow a big beard and here we are five years in the making and I am fourth in the world and second in the nation.
“Some people stare at me, some say ‘wow’, ‘nice beard’, but the most common one I get is, ‘how long you been growing?’
“I have had some folks thinks it’s crazy or ridiculous, but I pay no mind. It hasn’t changed my love life at all really that I can tell. If a beard got in the way of love, then is it really love?”
Lance says that having a beard of that length and size takes a lot of maintenance and hydration and he tends to avoid ‘over washing’ it.
“I just take care of it; I use oil, balm, I don’t over wash or abuse it. I make sure to stay hydrated,” he said.
“Some inconveniences of the beard crop up when I’m swimming, eating, in the wind or working on anything.
“It can be a total hassle but on the flip side I have gotten sponsors and been able to travel all over the world. Just like anything it’s got pros and cons.
“Pros; the community and the friendships I have made along the way. The charities and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the trophies and free products. The adventure of everything has made it well worth the while.
“Cons; the hassle of everyday life. Having to watch it, protect it, I dislike the wind. It does get old answering the same questions over and over. When random people try to grab it.
“It takes patience and time to grow a beard. You need hydration and oil, mostly genes and be prepared for hassles.”