German wins world best beard title at Norway contest

Elmar Weisser, Trondheim, Norway (15 May 2011) Mr Weisser said his beard reached his waist when it had not been styled

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A German hairdresser has won the title of world's best beard at the World Beard and Moustache Championship in Trondheim, Norway.

Elmar Weisser, 47, beat 160 contestants to the prize with his elaborate facial hair sculpture of a moose.

It is the third time Mr Weisser has emerged as champion.

In 2005 he won with with a beard styled into the shape of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, and in 2007 with a representation of London's Tower Bridge.

He said he had begun preparing his creation for the Trondheim event at 7am, with the help of his sister.

"When my beard isn't styled, it goes down to my waist. It is sort of folded up," he told the AFP news agency.

The World Beard and Moustache Championship has been running every two years since 1995 and its organisers say it is "the premier event in the international sport of bearding".

Moustache championships in Norway

Contestants from all over the world compete in 14 categories, including natural goatee, sideburns freestyle, Hungarian moustache and imperial partial beard.

Organisers say the field has traditionally been dominated by Europeans but that the US, which has twice hosted the event, is fast becoming "the world's new facial hair super power".

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