Cameron Bradley has been compared to Grizzly Adams and a Sasquatch.
“I take it as a compliment,” laughed the 28-year-old Fernwood resident.
Bradley’s pride and joy is currently his big, bushy red beard — one that he’s been growing for the past nine months and will take with him to the 2015 World Beard and Moustache Championships next month in Austria.
His fascination with beards began in high school. In Grade 9, he could grow a small patch of hair, but after years of shaving, he’s now able to sculpt his facial hair into almost any type of configuration.
Bradley has grown moustaches, sole patches, a chin strap, a goatee, a mutton and sideburns, but has grown fond of the mother of all facial hair — the beard.
“I like that you can totally change your image. My mom was always totally envious that she can’t grow a beard. She said it’s great that you can change your image,” said Bradley, adding he does attract attention with his beard. “You can play around with things.”
Seven years ago, while Bradley was watching the Outdoor Life Network, he first heard about the World Beard and Moustache Championships. It was always in the back of his mind to both attend and enter as a participant.
Last year, that’s exactly what he decided to do.
As part of the championships, 21 countries and 350 participants will compete in 25 categories including sideburns, moustaches, beards and manipulations.
Bradley and his beard, Honeybeard (so named because he loves honey), will be competing in the natural beard category, against the same men he would have seen on TV seven years ago.
“It’ll be cool to see these guys with octopuses for beards. One made a cage and had a bird sitting in it. It will be cool to see these people and talk shop,” he said.
While the past few months he’s been concentrating on growing the beard as thick and lush as it can be, Bradley said he’ll start to maintain it more carefully in preparation for the competition, lathering on his own balm that he’s concocted from natural oils.
“I won’t need a scarf when it gets chilly and I don’t need as much sunscreen,” he
laughed. “Life’s too short not to grow a beard.”
The World Beard and Moustache Championships take place from Oct. 2 to 4 in Leogang, Austria.