One competition in Belgium is certainly hair raising! Buzz60's Mercer Morrison has the story. Buzz60


A man from Center Point has now won the "longest beard" at the Iowa State Fair 11 years in a row. 

Harold Stephenson, 62, has never not won the contest in the decade he has competed. 

Before the contest began, Stephenson sat off to the side of the stage by himself, waiting to see if he would bring home yet another blue ribbon. 

Stephenson said he simply enters the contest because he has the beard. 

And the beard is long — 40.5 inches to be exact. It is thick around his face and becomes thinner and wispier as it reaches down past his thighs. 

"I farm, so I roll it up to keep it out of the way," Stephenson said. "And I just wash it with hair shampoo."

Stephenson was the first of 13 competitors to be measured as this year's Iowa State Fair queen Hannah Koellner checked the length of each beard, placing a yard stick right up under the chin of the participants.

Prior to the event, Stephenson was pretty confident he had a good chance of winning again. 

"I haven't seen anybody much longer yet," he said. "They might be hiding him, though."

More: This Iowa State Fair Queen candidate gave away her winnings. Here's why.

Hundreds of people and dozens of beards packed into Pioneer Hall to participate in the Iowa State Fair's annual "beard growing contest" on Tuesday. 

"Longest beard" was only one of five beard-related contests. The other categories were "best groomed," "most unique," "most historic" and "best beard with costume."

Adam Johnson, who has been growing his long, red beard since first entering three years ago, won "best groomed." The Dyersville man said it felt good to win.

"It felt really good," he said. "Especially since I haven't trimmed anything, so to get best groomed is cool."

"Most unique" went to Don Larkin of Newton. Larkin's display of facial hair included his beard "pouring" out of a beer bottle he had strapped to his face into a stein of beer he held on the stage. 

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Larkin said the idea came to him as he was "sitting around a lot" due to having cancer.

He has now won six blue ribbons in 11 years. A fan club of about a dozen people all wearing orange shirts that read "Team Larkin" hollered when his number was called as the winner. 

Larkin said the beard growing hasn't come without issues, however. 

"I've always grown it down to my chest," he said. "It caught on fire once while grilling bratwursts. The 'Great Johnsonville Flare Up of '16.'"

Gage Miskimen is a news reporter mostly covering West Des Moines, Waukee, and Clive for the Register. Reach him at or 515-284-8234. Follow him on Twitter @gagemisky

Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at

Read or Share this story: