By T. Scott Boatright
They have big beards, but even bigger hearts.
Members of Beard Mobb Louisiana last weekend delivered two pick-up trucks of food and a donation of $12,432 to the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana from proceeds collected during a group together held on the weekend of March 5-7 at Simsboro native and Louisiana Tech University employee Eric “BooFont” Fontenot’s home in Calhoun.
“We put together a charity beard competition,” Fontenot said. “That’s what each chapter is all about. We have around 30 chapters around the U.S. and we’re all about helping people. We held it on my back porch and one acre backyard. We had 100 people and we weren’t on top of each other. If you wanted to wear a mask you could, If you didn’t, we didn’t care. It was awesome. It was beautiful. It brought tears.”
The beard competition consisted of multiple categories, including under-four-inch business beard, and other beard categories including some for women and even children. The entry was $15 with $5 for any additional category.
“The women are the “Whiskerinas,” Fontenot said. “You’ve got a craft Wiskerina where you build your beard out of whatever. Then you have realistic Whiskerina where you can’t even tell if it’s real growth or not. They can be created out of anything.”
Entry fees weren’t the only source of the proceeds collected by the group.
“We set up raffle tables for people who wanted to donate stuff to raffle,” Fontenot said. “Beard Mobb Louisiana went through our own pockets and also held an auction. We learned early the auction was big. We just made Mobb-related crafts and things that people went crazy over, because there’s nothing like that one-of-a-kind stuff anywhere.”
Fontenot said the idea of what charity the group would donate to this year was literally mailed in.
“Five or six months ago we started thinking about this year’s event and one day I checked the mail driving in and tossed it on the passenger seat of my truck,” Fontenot said. “So when I parked and went inside and started going through the mail. I saw this little card that had come in that said Northeast Louisiana Food Bank and suddenly I broke out in goosebumps. My wife Phyllis was standing in front of the kitchen, and my mouth dropped for a minute before I looked up at her and told her, ‘Well here we go. We know what we’re doing it for this year.’ “
It was the third time a Beard Mobb Louisiana event was used in conjunction with helping a charity. Last year the group donated $2,500 to the War Veterans Home and the previous year the first competition Beard Mobb Louisiana was held and collected $1,200 for the Northeast Louisiana Ronald McDonald House.
“That first one was small but we just went with it,” Fontenot said. “So we went from $1,200 to $2,500 to $12,400. I’m already excited to start thinking about next year.”
Photo courtesy of Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana