Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Basehor residents sporting beards to promote fest

May 25, 2006

In the spirit of next week's Dairy Days festival, Basehor residents Eugene Voigt and Chuck Wilderson really are letting their hair down.

Or, at least, growing it out.

The pair, both of whom are sporting bushy beards, said that entering the Dairy Days beard-growing contest was something spontaneous.

"I did it on a whim," Voigt said. "At my age, if I'm going to do something crazy I might as well get started."

The idea for the contest was modeled after the full beards of some of Basehor's most historically important figures, the Basehor brothers, Ephraim and Ruben.

Voigt and Wilderson were the only two local residents brave enough to sign up for the contest. However, contest sponsor, Paul Runnels of Hair Mechanix, said the low turnout is probably because not enough people knew about the contest.

"We didn't get the word out really well this year, but hopefully it will be better next year," Runnels said.

But, Voigt and Wilderson got the memo. The grizzly two-some have been growing their beards since the end of January and both have taken the natural route.

"Usually I trim it up, but I let it grow natural this time," Wilderson said. "It's kind of wild and wooly I guess."

"Some people said I should have a goatee or a mustache," Voigt said. "I'm just letting it go natural."

Wilderson, owner of a Christmas tree farm, is a beard-growing veteran. He has been growing a beard almost every year around the holiday season since he moved to Basehor 30 years ago. He decided to sport a beard in the "off-season" to promote Dairy Days.

"I think it's an important celebration and a good way to promote the community," he said.

Even though Voigt said he has never had a beard, the Basehor native will fit right in with the festivities as a former farmer and dairyman. His family also used to live in a house built by the Basehor brothers themselves.

Voigt said it has taken a little getting used to, but he has had fun with his first beard-growing experience.

"I picked my daughter up from the airport and I don't think she knew who I was!" He said. "She's never seen me with a beard before."

Basehor Dairy Days will kick off at 7:30 a.m. June 3 with the Basehor Library 5K Fun Run. 5K Fun Run

Several streets will be closed on race day:

  • Parallel and 156th Street through 159th Street
  • Area roads will close at 7:15 a.m. and re-open about 8:45 a.m.
  • Race participants are still needed.
  • To sign up, contact Jeff Venema at or Debbie Breuer at (913) 724-9901.

The Basehor Brothers Beard Growing Contest judging will begin around noon. Other activities and performances include an appearance from KC Wolf, a Chris Cakes Pancake Breakfast and the Heart of America and Spotted Eagle Indian Dancers.

And "Basehor: A Musical," will be staged at 7 p.m. June 2.

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