Complacency (or hangovers) doomed Virginia City in Nevada beard contest: Carson City named the Most Bearded Community |

Complacency (or hangovers) doomed Virginia City in Nevada beard contest: Carson City named the Most Bearded Community

Nevada Appeal
Jen Schmidt / Nevada Appeal / These men line up for the whitest beard contest at Saturday's Nevada Day festivities.

Either complacency set in or a lot of guys in Virginia City were too hung over to get down to the beard contest on Saturday afternoon, because for only the second time in the contest’s history, Carson City is the most bearded community.

Carson won the title after 22 men with varying lengths, colors and styles of beards got up on the Capitol steps during in the annual Nevada Day Beard Contest.

Malkiat S. Dhami, owner of the Holiday Inn Express and the Dolphin Bay Apartments, accepted the award on the city’s behalf and said it would be hung in the Chamber of Commerce offices.

Dhami, part of the area’s large Sikh community, said his group, which usually shines in the blackest and whitest contests, was late because they were hungry.

“We won two-thirds of the prizes last year,” he said. “But we went for lunch. But we love this Nevada Day.”

Art Garza of Carson City was jubilant at beating Virginia City.

“Our beards done it,” he said.

Eric Klug of Carson City said there was no organized effort to get out the beards, “it just happened that way.”

Bill Migan, who as the new owner of the Ponderosa Saloon in Virginia City, held his grand opening on Friday night, with many bearded patrons in attendance, leading some to suspect hangovers.

“A lot of the guys didn’t come,” he said. “It’s a bummer. We won it every year and we got blown away this year. We’ll try again next year.”

Organizer Charlie Porchia, a former Storey County resident, said most of the famous Virginia City beards were gone or to infirm to compete.

“A lot of the old guys are dying off,” he said. “Tommy Thacker (longtime scruffiest contestant) is in a nursing home. I hear Red Dog (another longtime scruffiest contestant) is too infirm. Virginia City still probably has more beards per capita.”

Virginia City beards did take four first-place honors, with Migan winning the reddest beard.

“The last time I won first place was in 2000,” he said. “I won second very year since, until now.”

Klug, who was last year’s reddest blamed different judges.

“This year they’re looking for orange instead of red,” he said.

Robert Gonzales of Virginia City took home his second best salt and pepper beard award, saying he was dedicating it to a friend, Bubba, who died this year.

“I won it for him,” he said sadly.

The crowd was loud, for the event, and the competition was intense.

Henry Jones, an black man standing on the steps for the blackest beard contest, was hoping to get an edge because his beard, which has won several blackest awards in the past, now had a little gray in it.

“Does the body count?” He asked. Despite being told no, Jones won second in the contest.

The event was judged by Nevada Supreme Court Justices Mark Gibbons and Ron Parraguire, but the only politics to enter the contest had to do with insurance policies.

Porchia complained that a woman named Cynthia Edwards required $2 million in liability insurance, which cost $700, and he was barely able to raise it.

“We might not have the contest next year,” he said. “But Judge Gibbons said he’ll be chief justice next year and we can have it on the Nevada Supreme Court steps and she can go pound sand.”

He said he didn’t think the beard contest should be treated like a company that is making money.

“We’re celebrating Nevada history and we’re all volunteers,” he said. “And we’re getting more popular. I never heard a louder crowd than we have today.”

One of the loudest cheers came just before the scruffiest competition, when contestant Stink E’s wife, Mrs. Stink E, of Virginia City, gave him a long kiss on the lips right before the judging. It must have worked, because he won first place.

Stink E., standing in his red long johns, which he wears at work — he’s a performer in the Virginia City Outlaws gunfighter group — was excited.

“I feel scruffy and great,” he said.

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