SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — On April 8th, the Syracuse Polish Home hosted the second Hank Wolek’s Beard and Mustache Contest. However, not many people know the first contest happened 70 years ago, back in 1953.
Hank’s son and grandson, both named Ron Wolek, had a strong desire to bring the contest back to life. As Ron Wolek (Hank’s grandson) said, it was a part of his grandfather’s philanthropy to support local sports. As a continuation of Hank Wolek’s tradition, Ron Wolek (Hank’s son) said there was no doubt when it came down to where and why to host the contest.
“We found out that they (the Polish Home) need to help renovate their bowling alleys, where my father started bowling and I started bowling,” said Wolek. “So we are going to donate all the money to the Polish Home.”
While people who are heavily involved in the beard and mustache world take it very seriously and treat it like a sport, others are uncertain what to expect. The president of the Syracuse Polish Home, Yolanda Brzostowski, admitted she was among the latter.
“We have just a ton of things happening here (at the Polish Home) all the time,” said Brzostowski. “Obviously, the beard and mustache contest is one of them which is new and huge, and we don’t know what we are doing, or what to expect. But we are very excited.”
Dozens of people from around the country came together for a good cause. Starting from local participants and finishing with the Wolek family themselves who now live in Florida. There were ten different categories to participate in, including a female-only category called Whiskerina. Multiple trophies were awarded, fun was guaranteed, and natural hair products from contest sponsor Honest Amish were available.
The next Hank Wolek’s contest is already scheduled for next year to repeat at the Syracuse Polish Home. If you want to stay up to date with the contest and other work the Wolek family does in the hair and make-up industry, you can find all the updates on Wolek’s website.