David Traver

It was funny at the age of three (1968) I always wanted my dad to grow his beard back. Sadly he would not grow it back until 2001. My Mom said it was a rich dark brown almost black, but my brother pulled on it so much as an infant that he cut it off.

I loved stories and shows about mountain men and often wondered what being back in that period would have been like. I had seen pictures of my dad with a beard and was so facinated by how great he appeared. He was a true Alaskan and it resonated each time I would look at the pictures.

In 1987 I decided it was time to do something with my life and follow a family tradition of serving our country. After some thought I set my sights on the United States Coast Guard because they could still have beards.

Who knew that between he time I enlisted (June 1987) and would go off to boot camp (Nov 1987) that the new commandant would take away the tradition of being the last service to allow facial hair.

The Beginning

When I was very young one of my best friends dad Larry Smith really resonated with my idea of what an Alaskan man should look like. Larry had a huge reddish brown beard and treated me like one of the family.
I could remember waiting with Greg and Jeff as kids to see if he would win the title of Mr. Fur Face. We never managed to stay awake to see if he had won. Larry would put his trophy at the top of the stairs if he did and it wouldn't be till years later that would come back into my life. Like all things friends and family grow apart. Larry would drown in a plane crash in 1998 and I attended the wake and funeral with the family.
When it was over and we all sat together remembering his impact on our lives Silvia looked at me and said "David would do our family a favor? Would you grow you beard and enter the Mr. Fur Face competition and if you were to win dedicate it to Larry's memory." I was quiet for a short while and after Greg and Jeff both looked me in the eye and said "it's what brothers do". I smiled and said its for the family and how can I say no.

This photo (right) was taken at the Miners and Trappers Ball in 2001 the following year after I won my first title and would go on to have a major impact on how I would develop a strategy to win. I would win my division a total of eight out of nine tries in my quest within the Mr. Fur Face beard and moustache competition. There would be no more titles for four years as the big beards were not happy about being beaten in 2000 by a short beard.
One thing I learned was to see what the winners were doing and make it mine but better. In 2003 the mountain man outfit was created - just in time to go to a new event called the world beard and moustache championships to be held in Carson City, Nevada.

One of the special things about being in this was that it would slowly bring my Dad and I on the road to reconciliation and being able to express the things that had been missing for too long.

A virtual unknown from Alaska was about to make history in the international beard and moustache competitions by becoming the first American to win in any full beard category ever. In this photo I would go on to win the world champion title for "Full beard natural" and with it would come the admiration I had always desired, my father would meet me at the airport and shake my hand and told me how proud he was. That can never be taken away from me and meant more than being a world champion.
Ummm wait one minute I forgot there's one more bonus where I get to stand in the winners circle with Karl Heinz Hille the 2003 over all world champion and Alf Jarrold form the U.K second over all and by winning third over all in the world!

What could be better? Come on, I'll show you....

I had a renewed confidence that had started to wane after 2001-2003 state championship and it would be rewarded with a second Mr. Fur Face title in 2004 and the red crown was mine to wear once again.

Why is it special? Its the same crown worn by Larry Smith and only Mr. Fur Face can wear it.

The photos on the right were from my first back to back victories from 2006 and 2007 and the last time I would compete in the brown beard category as the gray was starting to make it presence known.

One must know when its time to move on and for some of us we are blessed with being able to recognize it before being told.

Finally I would get to compete in Europe and attend the world beard and moustache championships 2007 in the U.K hosted by the Handlebar Club of London.

I would place third in the full beard with styled moustache. What a blast to see so much history and to see friends again from 2003. Love that clock!

Well as we all know this had to end one day and in this photo I did as I said and shaved my beard for charity and closed a wild and adventurous chapter in my life.

I was blessed with living out a dream with friends and a family I love and ending it in my home town of Anchorage, Alaska.

For that what can I say that would put it all in context... We have a saying here in Alaska "if its not done fair its wasn't worth having" and in reflection I can say the journey was worth having.