Meet Mr. December! Eric has a very voluptuous beard which is why I had to showcase him this month! He graduated from Towson University in Maryland with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. You can find some of his work here: EBPortfolio. Eric and his beard currently bar-tend at Black Bottle Brewery. In his free time he enjoys doing artwork, brewing and drinking craft beers, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and listening to music. Some bands he enjoys are Explosions in the Sky, M83, and Washed Out to name a few. Mr. December is one talented man!
Read on to learn more about the beard!
Name: Eric Brooks
How long have you been growing your beard?: 14 awesome months!
Why are you growing your beard?: I always had facial hair as long as I could remember and originally I wanted to stand out from everyone else. Now I grow it because it's a part of who I am. It is the most natural thing a man can have and I embrace that. My life has changed so much in the past year solely for the fact that I wear this beard and It is now how all my friends and family know me. I am "the cool guy with the beard". It's awesome.
Have you won or placed in any competitions?: Yes I have. I won 3rd place in full beard groomed in Richmond, VA. I also have won 2nd place in Lansing, Michigan for the GAFBO competition for full beard groomed. It took awhile before I won any competitions and for anyone out there who is hesitant to compete it is definitely worth it. You not only gain confidence in yourself but you also make so many friends along the way. This year alone I have traveled to places I wouldn't have dreamed of going and met the most amazing people who I now consider some of my best friends. Even though it is a competition and you are there to try and place, you will get the ultimate satisfaction from the camaraderie and amazing times you'll have amongst "bearded people like you".
How did you find out about the bearding community?: Honestly it started with whisker wars on Facebook and I found some groups on that site but after this past year I feel like it has evolved immensely. Once you compete and meet friends you'll pretty much automatically be added to every single group that is created towards bearding.
Do you belong to any beard club?: I lived in Maryland my whole life and there wasn't really a club that I had known or heard about so the closest one to me was the RVA beard league of Richmond, Virginia. I met them at my first competition in Brooklyn 2011. From there they kinda took me in as an unofficial club member who travels with them supporting their group. I just moved to Colorado in the past month and I found a group here in Fort Collins called the Rocky Mountain Beard and Moustache Club. I have been to one meeting and so far they have welcomed me with open arms (and beards). I still consider myself a part of RVA though. Those guys kick ass.
Is shaving anywhere in your future(I hope not!)?: Heck No! In fact I just got a job as a bartender at an up and coming brewery/restaurant called Black Bottle Brewery located in Fort Collins, Colorado. They embrace the beard as it is somewhat of a cultural norm here. They have an IPA style beer called hipster ale that is served in a special glass with a moustache printed on it which is sweet.
What is the best compliment your beard has received?: Hmm.. I tend to get a lot of Brett Keisel, ZZ Top, and Duck Dynasty lately as I'm sure most of you do, but occasionally I get the "omg can I touch your beard, its glorious" etc.. which is great. One time a chick wanted to get a picture biting my beard which kinda weirded me out a little. It really is a conversation starter which is neat because without the beard I'd be just another guy and I wouldn't have met all the interesting people that I have.
Are there any competitions that we can find you at in the near future?: Well.. Now that I have a job and also now that I live far away from the east coast I hope to be at the Austin competition, Hopefully the 2nd Annual Richmond competition, and Portland as well. These are just hopes right now - money will be the deciding factor. I wish I could travel to them all. Competitions to me are like family reunions. You see these folks maybe 5 or 6 times a year and when you're with them you never want it to end. The world of bearding is so cool. If you don't have a beard I recommend growing one and if you are a lady I recommend getting crafty and making one. The support we get from the ladies is AMAZING and I couldn't be more supportive of them!
Congratulations to Eric, our December 2012 Beard Of The Month! If you are interested in throwing your own beard in the ring, contact us here.