The man whose magnificent beard has been officially deemed best in show drew inspiration from loyalty to a struggling family, but has come to appreciate his mane as a “chick magnet”.
Jason McCormack, 43-year-old from Dunlop and a member of the Canberra Beard and Moustache Club, had tears in his eyes when he won the Canberra’s Best Beard competition at King O’Malley’s on Thursday night.
But for Mr McCormack, the victory was about much more than than bragging rights and a $500 prize.
The Dunlop man decided to grow his beard to raise money for his friend’s two-year-old son Hamish who has been fighting Leukaemia for more than a year.
“His parents have both stopped working to be with Hamish 24/7 as they fight the good fight against childhood leukaemia,” he said.
Fresh with his bearded bragging rights, Mr McCormack will now hold a “Shave or Save” event at King O’Malley’s on Friday afternoon to continue helping a family he holds close to his heart.
“I was originally going to just shave it off for fundraising but one of my colleagues said 'I’d pay money for you to save that',” he said.
Now, whoever donates the most money to young Hamish’s family on Friday will have the final say on whether he keeps his mane, or shaves it off.
“If the winner says I have to shave it off, then that’ll be the first time my chin’s seen sunlight in 20 months,” he said.
“Even if I shave the beard next week I can grow it back. Some people with cancer never get that second chance.”
And while McCormack is willing to obey the orders whoever holds the conch come Friday, he said he’ll miss the celebrity his beard has brought him. Especially with the ladies of Canberra.
“Girls just want to plait it and touch it,” he said.
“I’m just a life support system for my beard. It’s a chick magnet, mate.”
Mr McCormack said his beard has contributed to his recent success on a notorious social dating application.
“I’ve recently got onto tinder in the last couple of hours and I’m getting hammered – it’s all about the beard I tell you,” he said.
"Beards are so in right now.”