By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — After 50 years, Tucker Smith still has the best goatee in Union County.
The Lewisburg resident won the goatee category at Union County’s Brothers of the Brush facial hair contest in 1963 during the 150-year anniversary of the county. On Sunday, the county held another Brothers of the Brush contest for its 200-year celebration, and Smith took first again.
“I had to defend my title,” he said.
Smith had recently undergone heart surgery at Danville’s Geisinger Medical Center, but wasn’t going to let that procedure keep him from reclaiming his title. The contest took place at the Dale/Engle/Walker House.
Smith was one of about 25 contestants who competed in eight different categories.
Winning the longest beard competition was Butch Woolsey, of Lewisburg, who also serves as the pastor of Mifflinburg Church of New Life. His facial hair reached to just above his stomach. Pastor Woolsey couldn’t give an exact measurement for how much hair trails down his face.
“I’ve never measured it,” he said with a laugh.
“I’ve had it since 1979,” said Woolsey, although he would regularly cut it while an employee of the Chef Boyardee plant in Milton. When he became a full-time pastor in 2010, he stopped cutting it and just let it grow.
Woolsey puts his beard to use by regularly portraying Santa Claus at local nursing homes, private houses, hospitals and day care centers. He kept the beard as a promise to three of his daughters, whom he lost to cystic fibrosis. They made him promise not to cut it and to keep being Santa Claus for people.
Today, Woolsey can’t imagine being without his facial hair.
“I got so used to it .. It’s like wearing glasses, it’s just a part of me,” he said.
Other winners were Alex Bogler, of Mifflinburg, for best multi-colored beard; Adam Killian, of Marysville, for best mustache; Ron Johnson, of White Deer, for best sideburns and most complicated beard; John Showers, of New Berlin, for tidiest beard, and Bill Moore, of Lewisburg, for bushiest beard.
The competition was judged by a group of Union County hair stylists, who all have experience grooming and styling facial hair.
“It was a fabulous turnout,” said judge Lisa Snook, of Lewisburg’s University Hair Design.
The prior facial hair contest left quite an impression and numerous residents were asking for its return, according to Jeannette Lasansky, a member of the Union County bicentennial celebration committee and president of the Union County Historical Society.
“We brought it back by popular demand. Guys were asking for it,” she said.
n Email questions or comments to email@example.com.