The World Beard and Mustache Championship was this week, and BeardBeat was on the scene with all the hottest inside info on your favorite facial hair. Special thanks to beard correspondent Reid Paskiewicz, who came out of retirement to provide his inimitable beard and mustache coverage.

TALL ORDER COVER BOY - One of the biggest questions of the beard and mustache season may be settled: a reliable source tells us that Bill Birdcastle was spotted at a photo shoot for the 2012 Tall Order box. "I'm not saying I made the box," said a coy Birdcastle, "but appearing on the Tall Order Giraffe Chow box would be one of the greatest honors in the beard community, and I would certainly be flattered. It's the Wheaties of Whiskers. I only hope my beard inspires those giraffes in some way."

BLIND ITEM - Despite his insistence that he's always been "all beard, all day," which young buckhunk of the bearding world is rumored to have jump-started his career by going "stache for cash" in underground mustache flicks?

A LION TAMED - Word on the street is that Schneider (The Mad Beard) was disqualified from the Full Natural category after showing up powdered and pampered! Looks like he got himself a new gal who's been grooming his beard, dressing him in shirts, and even taught him how to use spoons. This Yoko is driving Bulgarian beard fans loco!

HOT TICKET- A little bird told us Alois Plettl lost his beard comb while berating a group of firs. He's been frantic and wandering the Black Forest for days and howling pagan oaths. Avoid this pony and take a 2nd look at Hans-Peter Weies. Bookmakers are putting him up 2 points on NBS (Natural Beard Split), and an even money on CKY (Corn Kernel Yield).

BIG BEARD BRAVOS TO CHUY - We all love a good beard, but here's some true facial "hair"-oism: this year, Chuy Caballo risked it all to steal Fidel Castro's original museum-quality showbeard from the 68 season and graft it onto his own face. "This beard is an insult to oppression," says Chuy. "Viva la Cuba, y viva la barba."

FASHION DISASTER - Nicolai Price and Marvin Hardie entered the Fancy Mustache event with the same whiskery design, causing confusion and embarrassment! Both men accused each other of espionage and skulduggery and demanded satisfaction. The B&MC rules and regulations clearly state in article 27-B that "any participants with hair of identical bearing shall fight in a pit to the death while being pelted with rose pedals, and afterwards the winner shall be torn apart by great stags as a sacrifice to Shub-Niggurath, Goat of a Thousand Young. ZARIATNATMIX, JANNA, ETITNAMUS, Iä! Iä!". The fight is scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm in the food court.

BLIND ITEM - Ho ho has-been! Our hirsute sleuths spotted this washed-up Full Natural contender DSSing in a New Jersey Macy's. "There's no shame in DSSing if you're a young beard trying to work a small circuit," said a former friend of the disgraced, "but for a guy like him, there's no greater dishonor than whoring yourself out in a red suit in some department store. In f***ing May, no less."

LOCKOUT LOOMING - The 2012 Beard and Mustache season is in danger as the collective bargaining agreement between barber shop owners and contestants has expired after a prolonged impasse. The dispute is over a range of issues such as hair gel allowance, the recent banning of duels in shops, and division of more than 600 dollars of revenue from ticket sales and merchandise. Starting next month the men will be barred from entering the barber shops and practice facilities, and any back-alley trimming will result in expulsion. In a sign of solidarity, the contestants plan to halt at 12:24 tomorrow (there are 1,224 active B&M members), and all join beards for one minute of bristling.

BEARD DRUGS FOR OLS? - Some found it a little unlikely that Ols Trogen could shave his face bare as a prostitute's derriere for charity in 2010, then show up in 2011 sporting a gleaming 9-inch Jagermeister Tricorn-- judges are examining the competitor's urine and beard runoff for traces of banned substances and beard-enhancing tonics. "The beard is all Ols," claims Ols. "Ols grew the beard of no help with any man but Ols, and no substance but the basic oil of us all."

BLIND ITEM - Which beard and mustache prima-donna ate a whole plate of corned beef and fell asleep in front of the space heater, causing building maintenance crews to call pest control because they thought a raccoon fell into the furnace again?

HOT GOSSIP - Word around the corn trough is that Franklin Wilkinson has a yeast infection in his beard after drunkenly consuming 3 cases of wet pop tarts (cherry). Wilkinson's handlers deflected the rumors, saying he simply had "a case of the vapors" and quietly removed him from the events for convalescence in his West Virginia estate.

CELEB KID GROWS BIG - The beardosphere is buzzing about the much-hyped debut of celeb-kid Nicky Baldwin, son of famous actors or two. Could this bushy wunderkind be the new face of beardom? Just 14 years old, Baldwin wowed the SoCal regionals this February with a very impressive salt-and-pepper Stagsgrove, capped with a revolving Holland Rockbreaker mustie.

IBS INJURY ROCKS BEARDY WORLD - Yet another reason to take Itchy Beard Syndrome seriously: 2008 finalist Torben Hogg had a Full Natural "like the broom of a comet," said top critics, but he's out of contention this year. It all came crashing down after a South American vacation left him with debilitating IBS. Hogg wrote it off as a heat rash, and only sought medical treatment after his IBS became unbearable. When doctors examined his beard, they found an elaborate "chewing colony" of hissing beetles residing in the underplumage. Even after four rounds of fumigation, the beetles maintain a strong beachhead. Hogg, meanwhile, is crippled with chagas and fighting for not just his beard but his life.

ROUGH BEGINNINGS FOR BORUFF - Newcomer "Rowdy" Rick Boruff is set to electrify the Full Natural contest with his rugged entry, a Double Appalachian with cockscomb burns. But there's big drama brewing behind the scenes: Sir Arthur Weston-Briggs of the WBO is fighting to disqualify Boruff due to his sordid beginnings in the dangerous Deep-South "Backyard Bearding" circuit. "It's just more snobbery from the pointy-beard elite," says beard pundit Ricky Baudelaire. "Backyard bearding is a Southern tradition as old as moonshine and daughterfights."

A DARK RETURN - Will the toothbrush return in 2012? The controversial "Hitler Mustache" has been banned from the mustache breed registry for more than 60 years, but stachewags are chattering that this might be the year for a big comeback. It would be little consolation to Hans Boss, disqualified in 2010 for his sixteen-inch toothbrush, which jutted straight outward perpendicular to his face. So enraged was he with the insult that he snipped it off and vowed never to grow it again.

INSIDE SCOOP - Gari Schmidbauer arrived at the first round looking worn out. His yawns caused point penalties during BSMs (belligerent staring measurements), much to the dismay of his dedicated fanbase. It was later learned that a neighbor's goose was honking all night due to Gari sacrificing it to the Teutonic Saints for a beard blessing and poor Gari didn't sleep a wink. Talk about a "fowl" play!

BREAKING NEWS - Tragedy hit the Beard and Mustache community in Norway today when Elmar Weisser's famed Tower Bridge Beard was destroyed in a terrorist plot. Apparently charges were placed in 8 key locations around the bascules, abutments, and suspension hairs. It is speculated by Interpol that this was a retaliation for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Heinz Bowen's beard was present at the attack and is now in witness protection posing as a dead opossum.

DEVELOPING - Did veteran cut man Dale Wallace sever his decade-long trim-and-wax partnership with beard legend Colin Oxley? Though no official announcement has been made, eagle-eyed beardspotters have spied Wallace grooming a certain up-and-coming beardlet on the sly. "Scissors have no loyalty," said a source close to the situation. "A cut man sees a better beard, a younger beard, and he'll forget who his friends are in a heartbeat."

BAD APPLE - We just received a tweet that Italian Giuseppe Moretti has worms. According to an inside source Moretti refuses to wash his hands after twirling his rancid mustache; although the Italian camp adamantly denied the rumors, the tweet of "I have worms lol" by Moretti himself is damning evidence.

GIRL POWER - Protests broke out today after the first woman contestant in the B&M Championships arrived at the facility for preliminaries. Ogla Dracu from Lithuania made history after entering the Thorny Bush category, but not all fans or fellow competitors are thrilled about it. Albert O'Neil covered himself in soot and hawk feces to ward off a hex from female menses, while Karl Nelson climbed a birch tree and refuses to come down, surviving purely on a diet of acorns and rain water. Hans Horst tried to calm his peers in a speech, saying that B&MC needs to "move out of the 17th century and into the 18th century". Hans Horst was later assassinated by the political group BLF (Beard Liberation Front) for his extreme views.

LACK OF PASSION - Jack Passion, often called the Great Uncle of Beard and Mustache, was ensnared in a texting scandal this weekend when the messages were discovered by his mistress. In them he entertained the thought of shaving the beard so he "could have soup like a normal man". This has rocked the B&M world to its core and Passion was quick to backtrack, claiming it was a joke and the Beard and Mustache commission has no rights to pry into his phone messages, ransack his house for clues, and interrogate family members. He is currently under probationary supervision in a Copenhagen Motte and Bailey until further notice. The Commissioner, who is eons old and cannot die by normal means, was disturbed by Passion's lack of faith and stated "Jack Passion doesn't leave the beard and mustache community, we leave him". The Comish then waved his arms at thousands of beards and mustaches adorning the walls of his keep, deep underneath the Earth's crust.

BLIND ITEM - Is a Tall Order boy set to defect? A sallow-faced stranger tells us that a recent spokesman of the Tall Order Giraffe Chow company is seeking greener foliage elsewhere! This beard champ of yesteryear sure seemed humbled by the Tall Order boxboy honor, but now he's having candlelit chats with reps from the upscale Great Heights Giraffe Chow firm. A spokesman for Tall Order would not confirm or deny the betrayal, but he sent us this statement: "For over one hundred years, Tall Order has been the brand that helps giraffes reach higher. Other companies may charge an arm and a leg for their fancy chow, but real beard and/or giraffe enthusiasts know we're the company that cares. If anyone wants to leave all that behind to hop in bed with Big Giraffe Chow, that's their business."

MURDER - Willi Chevalier killed a man in self defense! That's not what the Judge said when he sentenced the beard maverick to 200 years for 14 defensive murders. Thankfully the Judge is not without compassion and allowed Willi to attend this year's event under the watch of armed guards, helicopters, and the German Navy. The mad mustachio will be hard to beat again in the Freestyle Competition, where he's dominated for the last ten years as his competitors tend to mysteriously vanish the night before the main event. But it's no matter, Willi always cheers up concerned friends and family members with a large pot of gamy but uncannily familiar soup!

BLIND ITEM - Which former English Mustache champ paid a hefty fine to the WBO after being caught waxing his tips with Human Mustache Hormone?

For more on the strange world of championship bearding, see Josh "Livestock" Boruff's classic features Groomed to Kill and The Beard That Should Not Be.

– Dr. David Thorpe and Reid "Frolixo" Paskiewicz (@Arr)

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