Beards and burlesque, a recipe to save animals

Posted at 6:04 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 18:04:05-04

November is here and that has many in the metro ditching their razors for ‘No Shave November.’

The members of the MC Facial Hair Club don’t wait for November. The Detroit-based beard group rarely has needs for a razor.

In fact, they travel around the country showing off radical facial hair creations in competitions. Less than a month ago a handful of their members won awards for their beards.

“I actually just competed in Pittsburgh last weekend,” said Brad Petrinec.

Petrinec is originally from Detroit, but got involved in beard competitions in Massachusetts. After winning his first competition he was hooked, he eventually began running his own events.

This year he’s throwing the Circus of Whiskers. It’s the second year for the event. This year the event will be held on Saturday at the Tangent Gallery.

“I don’t use curlers, I used a pop can!” Petrinic said, as he bounces back and forth between combing, using wax and spraying hairspray. The pop can, a Vernors, meant to  help him create giant curls in his beard.

“I mean, Detroit-made,” said Petrinic.  “Come on…”

Petrinic models a “free-style” look.  It’s one of more than a dozen categories that men compete in. There’s a natural mustache category, styled moustache, partial beard, mutton chop and many, many more.

Don’t let the look fool you, though. While Petrinic sports a long, thick beard and tattoos there is more than meets the eye.

“People always tell me, ‘You’re like the scariest looking dude, but you’re so nice!’” said Petrinec. “Yeah, we might look like jerks, but we’re nice guys. We do charity, we donate our time and we even collect clothes to give out to the homeless.”

Case in point, this Saturday the group’s facial hair competition will send all proceeds to the Detroit Animal Welfare Group. DAWG is located in Bruce Township on a 14-acre animal sanctuary farm.

“I’ve known Brad for quite a while,” said Janet Austin, a volunteer at DAWG. “We’ve also had a few of those guys come out here and help.”

Austin said the MC Facial Hair Club is one of the hardest working groups they’ve had get involved.

Entirely nonprofit, works from the bearded guys with hearts of gold, goes a long way.

“We rely tremendously on all of our volunteers, and every cent that’s donated goes to the animals.”

Out on the DAWG farm you’ll find all sorts of animals, many which were abandoned, abused, or given up in Detroit.  Dozens of dogs have been rescued and now live in kennels, apartments and various spots while they await adoptions.  Other animals found on the farm include ducks, deer, groundhogs and horses.

“He has free range over this,” said Janet Austin, laughing as she introduced a pig named ‘Sawyer.’

Sawyer is a several hundred pound pig who was found wandering the streets of Detroit.  He may be adopted out, but if a home can’t be found he’ll always have a place to call ‘home’ with DAWG.  The group has committed themselves to keeping any animal that they can’t place in a forever home.

“I love animals and I know they’re out they’re suffering,” said Petrinic.

Petrinic said he hopes to raise a few thousand dollars at this year’s event.  Last year the MC Facial Hair Club was able to donate roughly 4-thousand dollars.