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American has world's best beard

July 25, 2011 at 1:33 AM

OLYPMIA, Wash., July 25 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old Olympia, Wash., man took first place in the 2011 World Beard and Mustache Championships "full beard with styled mustache" category, officials say.

Burke Kenny's win in Trondheim, Norway, was the second time he took first place in the same category, The Olympian in Olympia, Wash., reported. He first won the "full beard with styled mustache" category in England four years ago, where he also became the youngest international facial-hair champion.

"I don't take it extremely seriously," Kenny told The Olympian. "I like to be an honorable gentleman and present myself honorably."

Kenny began growing his winning beard and mustache combo when he was about 20 while attending Evergreen State College; his biggest facial hair influence is his father.

"My dad is definitely my No. 1 inspiration," Kenny said. "He's had a mustache for 30 years."

Kenny is one of six Beard Team USA members to take home gold medals from this year's championship, four of whom are from Washington state.

The gold medalist says he uses his facial hair to promote understand and acceptance for big beard wears.

"I encourage men to grow quality facial hair, if they can," Kenny said. "And wear it humbly."

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