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Fort Wort mustache pageant raises funds, stubble

Posted 5:15pm on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Some are smooth and shiny. Some are full and hairy. Some are thin and embarrassing. Whatever the style, mustaches of all shapes and sizes were the stars of the Fort Worth Modeo on Saturday night at the Where House on Hemphill.

What’s a Modeo, you ask? Take mustache and add rodeo and you've got Modeo, a Fort Worth mustache pageant/rodeo-themed party that is unlike any event we've seen in Cowtown in some time.

It all started three years ago, when Modeo-mastermind James Jardine dressed as a mustachioed cat burglar for Halloween in New York City. That's when an Australian fella told him to about a Movember, a growing movement that asks gentlemen around the world to dedicate the month of November to using their hairy upper lips to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. The mustache is sort of like the ribbon for the cause.

And like a silly hat or a pair of funky shoes – mustaches make people ask questions, Jardine says. “People stop and ask about the Mo, and you realize that besides the mustache, we have something in common, something really great in common,” he says, referring to the Movember movement.

By the next year Jardine was back in DFW and organized his very own mustache pageant, the typical end-of-the-month celebration for the Movember foundation. While it was a success, Jardine wanted to make this year’s pageant unique to Fort Worth. So with the help of family, friends, local businesses and good friend, Chip Tompkins, the Modeo was born.

Jardine and Tompkins had many tricks up their sleeves, but needed the help of the community to make it happen. Supporting sponsors Rahr & Sons Brewery, Taco Heads, Buffalo Bros., Centre, Clayton Adams Salon, and Master Cleaners Dry Cleaning and Laundry all did their part to make the Modeo what it was, a real happening at the eclectic Where House space on Hemphill.

Entering the venue, there was a “Kissin Boof” on your right, where babes and boys could get a smack for a buck. The walls were covered with solemn cowboys, a big buffalo, and a mustache lady shooting cancer in the face. On stage, North Texas bands The Uptown Bums, On After Dark, White Mountain and A Giant Dog performed throughout the event.

Live artists painted up on the rafters in the patio; underneath them was a General Store selling T-shirts and beer-bottle opening mustache keychains, a Western photobooth, and a mechanical bull. A cover charge of $15, which was donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, also included free food, beer and whiskey.

But all of this was upstaged by the infamous pageant. Mustaches young and old were invited to enter, because it’s not just length and size, Tompkins said, it’s about personality.

“Mine’s not the best, I’m not gonna lie… but what I like about mustaches is that you can’t have two the exact same.” That was true for the 10 finalists: one was curly, the other burly; one was political and another was satirical; one was piratical, and the other was polite.

In the end the 52-year-old winner reminded everyone the real reason for the Modeo – it’s about raising money in a fun way, by word of mouth and word of mustache.

“This is all about men’s health, because if we ain’t healthy, our families ain’t healthy.” winner Glen Doskocil said. “So take care of yourselves, and drink good beer.”

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