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Meet the winner of Iowa State Fair's longest beard contest

On the sixth day of the Iowa State Fair, men lined up to have their facial hair measured. The prize? The title of the longest beard at the fairgrounds.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local 5 and CW Iowa 23 are bringing exciting 2022 Iowa State Fair experiences to you, from live newscasts to an interactive Local 5 Weather Lab experience. Come see us in front of the Administration Building (Grand Concourse) each day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On Day 6 of the Iowa State Fair, a competition like no other took place, with men lining up to have their facial hair measured.

The prize? The title of the longest beard at the fairgrounds.

For some competitors, the event is an amusing fair tradition. 

"I usually come about every year. Just cause it's fun and something to do," one contestant said.

Another joins in on the fun because after all, it only takes one requirement to qualify: a beard. 

"I was in the Army for six years. And after doing that, I just let it grow once I got out," he said.

One hopeful participant said that the transition to a long beard came as a change to his normal routine. 

"When I was growing up, I'd grow it out in the wintertime, but my mom hated beards. So for mother's day, I'd always shave it off. But I always wanted to see what it'd be like if I grew up for a whole year," he told Local 5. "And I finally did and then it was just like, 'Well, I'm not shaving starting in August, September, like I'm not gonna shave it off then,' and so I just let it go."

But for this year's champion, Mark Bandonselaar, winning that blue ribbon was a few years coming — he'd entered the last three years hoping to win.

"I have never trimmed it actually. It just grows. This is nine years old. I've had a beard forever though. Well, the last time I shaved it off, Aiden was 1 and he's 18. It just grows."

Mark took the win with a beard of 41 7/8". 

His victory was over the reigning champion, Harold Stephenson from Centerpoint, Iowa, who had brought home victory every year since 2009. 

Watch a throwback fair competition below: 

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