Before the AFHC Dog Beard and Moustache Competition on Saturday, Siberian Huskies and corgis wearing bandanas waited side by side in line next to the Mohawk’s stage.
The competition, hosted by the Austin Facial Hair Club and Austin Animal Center, allowed pet owners to showcase their dogs and compete for trophies in categories such as “Gnarliest Beard” and “Best Groomed.” All proceeds went to the Austin Animal Center.
Ten minutes before the contest was set to begin, a Dachsund with paralyzed hind legs scooted across the stage using only its front paws, prompting a round of applause from the audience. The competition kicked off with the “Old Timer” category, which celebrated senior dogs. One contestant carried her dog, which had bad hips, up the stage’s steps.
Gravy, a tiny shih tzu, took home the “Sweetest ‘Stache” prize for his floor-length whiskers. Owner Jessica Sajak said she’s always liked to give Gravy interesting hairstyles.
“Gravy was even rocking the man-bun before it was popular,” Sajak said. “He’s a trendsetter.”
Halfway through the competition, MC Paul Hendricks reminded contestants to clean up after themselves.
“There are poop bags at the merch table — $2 each,” Hendricks said. “I’m joking — they’re not $2. But really, please use them.”
During the “Gnarliest Beard” category, an enormous pit bull, Kane, came down with a case of stage fright. Kane sat down at the back of the stage and refused to move until his owner put a pair of sunglasses on him. Once the sunglasses were on, Kane trotted to the front of the stage and happily mugged for the cameras.
The German schnauzer Sebastian, who sported a thick beard and shoulder-length sideburns, was crowned Best in Show at the competition. Sebastian, who was more interested in sniffing the judges than paying attention to the competition, turned his back to the cameras.
During the event’s closing remarks, Hendricks talked about spreading positivity through charity work.
“The news sucks right now, it’s full of war and hate,” Hendricks said. “But this is just as real. We’re having fun and we’re saving lives, one donation to the Austin Animal Center at a time.”