On Nov. 1, Chief Russell Greene’s first annual Mustache Competition was held as part of the 2022 Charity Week events. 14 students participated in the competition, and multiple firefighters from Engine 8 of the Irving Fire Department were also in attendance.
Greene invited the firefighters to create an opportunity for the students and the firefighters to meet in a more positive environment than in previous encounters.
Greene said, “They’ve seen us in a negative light out of that engine house.” During the competition, Greene specifically referenced the firefighters’ visits to Madonna Hall.
“Engine 8 spent so much time here last year,” Greene said. “They really didn’t want to go to Madonna Hall.”
The firefighters were happy to come visit UD and take part in the festivities, especially because they’ve been working with Greene for a while to ensure the safety of UD students.
“We are always interested,” said Captain David Giesecke of Engine 8.
According to Greene, this event has been in the works since the summer.
The event was sponsored by Firehouse Mustache Wax, a small, firefighter owned company based in Mississippi. Greene said: “I had to pick some mustache wax company, and Firehouse seemed natural, and they were very nice, a mom and pop place in Mississippi. And so I thought, hey, if we’re gonna use mustache wax, we should use theirs. I mean, I’m talking to the owner on the phone. It’s not some big corporation. Really, the corporations didn’t answer my phone calls.” He continued, “Here’s a guy who’s a firefighter every third day, and he’s making his money on the side … we’re going to do business with them.”
14 students participated in the competition, all sporting various styles of mustaches. Joe Farley, a senior history major, said that it took him five weeks to grow out his mustache for the competition.
“I was talking to Chief a couple of months ago, and he was talking about growing a mustache out for charity, and I was like, hey, you know what? Mine looks pretty bad, but I think this is a good cause, so that’s why I’m doing it,” he said.
There was a panel of five judges — four students and one professor — who voted for the top three contestants. The voting was then opened up to the audience, who could pay one dollar to vote for one of the three finalists.
In the end, Porter Schmidt, sophomore politics major, won the grand prize, a large cumberbund decorated with shiny accents and a mustache. David Foust took second place and Francis Vicinanzo took third place.
Schmidt said, “Chief approached me with … this idea last year, and so I’ve been one of the organizers of this event, and I’ve always appreciated having facial hair on myself … originally I wasn’t going to sign up … but a bunch of my friends wanted me to try out for it.”
Greene estimated that the event raised around 200 dollars, which will be used to help support this year’s Charity Week organizations: the Low Birth Weight Development Center and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Greene hopes that the event will continue to grow in the future.
“Next year we’re going to be hopefully more organized and have more participation. I thought for the first time it went well,” he said.