On a mantlepiece in Wakefield a statue stands proudly in recognition of the dedication to beard growing its recipient, Shane Thompson, has displayed.
Shane was crowned national champion at the New Zealand Beard and Moustache competition in Auckland on Thursday, September 20, due to the length, density and colour of his beard which “blew the judges away”.
After sporting a goatee in late 2014, the decision was made by Shane to bin his razors and embrace the beard.
“It just kept on growing and growing and now I’m kind of known for it,” says Shane, who claims the beard makes him more approachable.
It’s not all smooth sailing for the avid beard grower, with it at times “hazardous” and requiring “heavy maintenance”.
“I’ve shut it in a car door before and walked away. It felt like someone was trying to pull my face off.”
Shane says it’s important for beard growers to keep them clean, well-maintained and tidy them up by neatly trimming, while being cautious not to tie them too tightly and break the hair.
The national championships raised awareness of men’s health and mental health issues through raising funds for Lifeline, and Shane’s determined to continue supporting the charity as he looks ahead to future competitions, including the world championships. In 2021 New Zealand is set to host the World Beard and Moustache Championships for the first time after it previously being held in North America and Europe.
“I’ll absolutely enter. It’s great to be able to support Lifeline at the same time.”