What do you get when you mix a long beard, Cincinnati pride and a bit of spunk?
A man named Garey Faulkner.
Garey is a Cincinnati native. He ingeniously devised a plan to turn his 14-inch beard into something charitable.
He says it all started with a friendly bet (and doesn't it always???).
If Garey didn't shave for an entire year, his friend would owe him $1,000. He ended up winning the bet, but unfortunately for Garey, he never got paid!
However, he soon came to the conclusion that Cincinnatians respond well to long beards, especially when they're painted and molded into shapes.
"I basically put a look together that I know is going to stand out and people are going to like it," said Garey.
You may have seen his work around town. He paints Bengals stripes for Sunday tailgates, hangs ornaments for Christmas and even decorated his beard in honor of the World Choir Games last summer.
"It's opened a lot of doors for me, like Toby Keith asked to get a picture of me and tweeted it. I meet a lot of interesting people," he revealed.
Those doors include promotional jobs with companies like Spade Creations and Mynt Martini on Fountain Square. Sometimes, he even gets paid to travel and show off his 'artwork'.
"For me, doing what I do, it's only possible by the companies that support me," he said.
His talents eventually lead to competition.
Garey has participated in facial hair competitions across the country, including a national competition in Las Vegas. He placed in the top ten, and says he plans to compete in a world facial hair competition in Munich, Germany.
He competes with a local club, as well, called 'Beard Team Ohio', which has a facial hair event once a year in Columbus. The best part? His winnings are donated to local charities.
When asked about his natural hair color, the artist revealed, "I shaved my head because it's my canvas, but it's naturally blonde."
Garey Faulkner is a 2001 Amelia High School graduate.
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