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2019 National Beard and Moustache Championships: Behold the hairy best

Deciding on winners had to be a close shave.

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Their looks can certainly grow on you. The 2019 National Beard and Moustache Championships took place earlier in November  -- OK, Movember -- and competitors strutted their facial hair in more than 50 categories

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Jason Kiley won Full Beard Freestyle at this year's National Championship.

Greg Anderson

The moustache categories include best handlebar moustache, best English moustache, best freestyle moustache and best Dali moustache (inspired by Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dali).

There are numerous full-beard and partial-beard categories, including goatee, sideburns, Fu Manchu and Musketeer. 

And the competitors weren't all men.

"Women compete in craft-beard categories, which allows competitors to create beards out of anything they want," MJ Johnson, one of the judges and organizers, told me. "Seriously, anything. The beards are like artwork and sometimes have a theme. In the past Craft Beards have been made from bottle caps, bacon, working water fountains, Legos, yarn, metal threads..."

The championships, which took place Nov. 8 and 9 in the Chicago area, also featured exhibition categories. Those are "more for fun, or for someone who wanted to get in the mix without having to go against some of the juggernauts during Saturday's main event," Johnson said. 

The exhibition categories include brewer's beard (a beard grown by a beer-maker) and veteran's beard (a beard of a retired or discharged US service member). And for those with fast-growing facial hair, there's the 5 O'Clock Shadow category, in which contestants shave in the morning and are judged by how much facial hair has grown back by 5 p.m.

Check out more than 40 of the looks below, taken by the contest's official photographer, Greg Anderson. His Facebook page shows off even more competitor looks.