2017 Full Beard Freestyle World Champion is risking his whiskers to raise money for Milwaukee organization

WISCONSIN, (WKBT) – We have an update about a story we covered back in November.

Jason Kiley of Viroqua was the 2017 Full Beard Freestyle World Champion.

He’s been growing his beard for seven years, and it is an astounding two feet long!

But now he’s risking his whiskers for a good cause.

He started a fundraiser, with proceeds going to the African American Roundtable in Milwaukee, which is working on a campaign to divest $75 million from the Milwaukee Police Department and reinvest the money into community programs.

Kiley is raising money by letting donors choose the future of his facial hair.

It’s his unique way of advocating for police reform.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can contribute to the movement against police brutality that’s happening all around the world right now. This is a moment in our history where we all have the duty and opportunity to step up.”

At the end of next week, he will announce which of the five options won.

Style 1. – Horseshoe Mustache with Sideburns.

Style 2. – Mustache with Goatee.

Style 3 – Keep beard as is.

Style 4. – Mustache

Style 5. – Long Sideburns with Moustache

However, if he raises $40,00, he’ll shave it all off!

To check out his GoFundMe page, click here.

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Posted: November 25, 2019
By Alec Giannakopoulos

VIROQUA, Wis. (WKBT) — Many men grow out their beards for the month of November. But some in the area are taking beard growing to the next level.

Viroqua is the only place you can get custom-made mugs by Jason Kiley.

“I make cups, mugs, bowls. Anything that someone would want off the wheel.”

But spinning the clay can be dangerous for him.

“The last thing I want is my beard to get hooked to the wheel, and me to get pulled down in a face full of clay.”

Jason has to keep his 24-inch beard in check before he can go about his day, and he keeps his beard care supplies in his pantry because his bathroom mirror is just too small.

Once it’s brushed. It’s braided.

“I’ve definitely gotten quicker at it.

But Jason’s beard isn’t always this well-kept.

“I went from just the new big beard guy in town to ‘oh that guy’s the world champion.’

Jason won the World Championships for his freestyle beard two years ago. He says he transfers the creativity from his pottery to his facial hair.

“I really wanted to get ridiculously good, and something completely ridiculous.”

What’s even more ridiculous is that Jason isn’t the only beastly beard in the area.

Andrew Mattson lives in Sparta and won the national prize for best goatee this last month.

“I had horrible sideburns. So as soon as I got in the community they were like ‘you need to shave those off, you’re a goatee guy.”

Like Jason, Andrew’s beard does produce some workplace hazards.

“Being in the food industry, I have to wear a beard net at all times. The beard nets that they have don’t work with having a fourteen-inch goatee.”

Not to mention, everyday hazards.

“If you eat soup or ice cream or anything messy, it’s going to get everywhere and people are going to stare at you more,” said Mattson.

To help counter this, Jason put his pottery skills to work.

“I started putting mustache guards in my coffee cup, which is a complete game-changer.”

“I’ve been fortunate to not get it caught in power tools, but there are people that have,” said Mattson.

“I have,” replaied Kiley.

Both men have made friends for a lifetime through competing.

“You keep in contact with the community like you do your family,” said Kiley.

“It’s a family reunion every couple of weekends I go,” added Mattson.

Through competing, these two strangers became friends.

“I’ve always rooted for Jason no matter where he goes.”

And they’ve made friends with competitors across the country.

“I just find couches or spare bedrooms to sleep in rather than sleeping in hotels just by reaching out to someone I met once.”

Because no matter where you are, these men have learned there’s nothing thicker than the brotherhood of beards.

“It was an instant comradery I hadn’t ever felt before in any group.”