World famous beard homegrown in the Bay Area

MILLY VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A bag filled with rubber bands, toothpicks, clips (round and flat), and extra strength hair spray.

That's the grooming kit used by Anthony Carty to transform his beard into an international prize-winning spectacle.

Last month, the Mill Valley man brought home second place in the "partial beard freestyle" category at the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

Last Saturday he won first at a beard contest in Kalamazoo, Mich. Next week he'll be in Portland to compete in the Rose City Beard & Moustache competition.

It's a very busy schedule for a man and his beard.

Carty first began experimenting with styling his beard while working promotions at a festival five years ago.

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into and just grew a fondness for it because it's so weird," said Carty. "And it's all for charity so what's not to love about that."

Carty is one of the few competitors to match a costume with his beard. He's competed as The Joker with a giant red beard-smile and Spiderman with an eight-legged beard. The designs sometimes take six hours to put together.

"I'm usually tired and delusional when I come up with them. That's when I get my craziest stuff. I'll grab the closest piece of paper, draw a circle for my head, and just jot it down," said Carty. "Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I never know what I'm going to get before the hair spray goes in."

Carty is the President and Founder of Beards by the Bay. It's a social club for everyone, bearded or not, who want to have fun and help organize events to help the community. He's planning to hold the Bay Area's first beard competition in San Francisco at the start of next year. A benefit has not yet been chosen, but Carty is researching local charities.
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