Inaugural Meeting

Introductions

Each of the delegates present introduced himself and made a short statement.

Phil Olsen, organiser of the 2003 World Beard and Moustache Championships, representing Team USA said that he was unhappy that the VDB (Association of German Beard Clubs) had made decisions on the 2009 and 2011 World Beard and Moustache Championships without considering the views of any other countries, especially as he had indicated to them that Anchorage, in Alaska, were interested in organising the 2009 event with the possibility of significant sponsorship.
He was also concerned that the VDB had unilaterally rejected the suggestion that there should be a category suitable for sideburns at the forthcoming World Championships; he thought that decisions concerning the world championships should be made by a world organisation.
Phil felt that, following Carson City and the publicity that it generated, there was the potential to make the World Championships a bigger and less restricted event.

Ronnie Vermeulen, President of the Antwerp Snorrenclub, said that members of Belgian beard and moustache clubs enjoyed international gatherings, and had organised one in 2002, but in general their members did not attend competitions.

Jörg Diamantopoulos from the Höfen Beard Club said that he had wanted a meeting like this for many years. He felt strongly that international gatherings should be to promote friendship rather than competition.

Ted Sedman, President of the Handlebar Club, said that his was an international club. However they had approached the VDB and obtained their agreement for the 2007 championship because the Handlebar Club recognised that German entrants were the biggest group at any championship and so it was important to encourage German participation. An international association would make it easier to get agreement for the location of future events.

Rod Littlewood was present as the representative of the Whisker Club of Washington (he is also a member of the Handlebar Club) He said that Bruce Roe, the President of the Club had family commitments at home because of Thanksgiving, but had expressed support for an international association to have control of international events while the national organisations such as the VDB would have jurisdiction over national events.

Dan Sederowsky represented the Swedish Moustache Club and had also been authorised to give the views of the Norwegian Club (and he is also a member of the Handlebar Club) He said that both clubs agreed there was a need for an international association, but wanted a minimum of administration. They suggested that meetings of the association could be timed to coincide with championships, when people would be meeting together.

Heinz Christophel, President of the Kurpfalz Beard Club felt that it was inappropriate that international competitions should be dictated by German classes and German rules. He wanted the emphasis to be on friendship before competition, and thought this could be encouraged by a more flexible attitude and having less restrictive rules.

Franz Mitterhauser, representing Team Austria, agreed with the statements that had been made.

Jos Straatsma, President of the 1st Netherlands Club (ENS) emphasised his friendship with Germans and Germany, but felt that international events should be more broadly based. Also, it would be better if the juries were international.
(Earlier Jos had said that he had circulated details to many people of a World Beard and Moustache Championship to be held in Holland in 2009. This was done after he had held discussions with Willi Preuss, who was at that time the President of the VDB, and on the understanding that he had the agreement of the VDB. It appeared that with Willi retiring as President the commitment had not been passed on, since the VDB had subsequently stated that the 2009 World Championships would be held elsewhere.)

Jürgen Burkhardt, President of the Belle Moustache Club (and also a member of the Handlebar Club) agreed that there should be an association open to all countries, for co-ordinating dates for events and promoting friendship. It should have a role promoting beards and moustaches and perhaps organising workshops to share knowledge and give advice on styling of facial hair. The association should not only deal with world championships, but more importantly could also encourage countries to hold national and continent-wide championships with the aim of attracting more participants. This could possibly lead to a situation where winners of national championships would qualify to enter the world championships. Further, the organisers of these local championships would gain experience that they could use to organise higher level events.
Jürgen was disappointed that Clubs from Italy and Switzerland as well as other clubs from the VDB were either not present or not invited. He also felt that the association should meet annually, not only at world championships, and pointed out that already there was too little time to do things at these events.
Unfortunately Jürgen had another appointment for his Club and had to leave the meeting after the initial round of discussion and before any decisions were voted on. Before leaving he said that as part of the tenth anniversary of his Beard and Culture Club in 2011 they want to hold the World Beard and Moustache Championships. He wanted to make their desire known with regard to this well in advance.

Thilo Reinhardt from the Höfen Beard Club pointed out that the early championships were just part of some other festival. Recent problems with the definition of the “Kaiserlicher Backenbart” category suggest that the competitive nature of the events is becoming too dominant. He felt that there was a need for an international association rather than having rules set by just one country.

Otmar Glauner from the Höfen Beard Club expressed agreement with these views.

Gerhard Knapp, President of the Pforzheim Beard Club, was pleased that this meeting had come about. He felt that the internet and the ease of modern communications give the opportunity to set up an international organisation for championships and to promote the idea of wearing beards. Its role would be to make decisions on international matters, not for individual countries. Such an organisation should be open to the whole world: “everyone can come and have fun”.

Wolfgang Stier, President of the Höfen Beard Club, rounded off the introduction. He jokingly remarked that it was all his fault as he had been involved in setting up the first championship, the VDB and several of the clubs! However, it had not been his intention that things would develop in the way that they have, and he felt that the events should be more fun, with the judges also joining in the fun. In particular, people should all style their own beards, rather than have professional help.

At the end of the introduction it was unanimously agreed to form an association.

Name of the Association

It was pointed out that there are linguistic differences in the use of the word for “beard” in English and German. In German it is a generic term that includes Schnurrbart, Kinnbart, Backenbart, etc. In English the word “beard” implies hair on the chin, while “moustache” is used when hair is on and around the upper lip. It is therefore preferred that the English name for the association should include “Beard and Moustache” while the German name can be “Barte”.

The initials of International Beard Organisation(IBO) or International Beard Association (IBA) have several existing meanings, and International Beard and Moustache Organisation (IBMO) seems too much like the computer company. Phil Olsen pointed out that the title “World Beard and Moustache Championships” is becoming well established, and so “World Beard and Moustache Association” would be appropriate. Jörg Diamantopoulos felt that the emphasis on friendship should be incorporated into the title.

It was agreed that the Association would be known as the
World Beard and Moustache Association

and its motto is
United in Friendship and Honour

in German
Weltverband der Bärte

and
Vereinigt in Freundschaft und Ehre

Statement of Intent

It was agreed that :

The purposes of the World Beard and Moustache Association are to promote the worldwide appreciation of beards and moustaches, and to co-ordinate and regulate international events, including competitions, held in such a manner as to encourage friendship among those with beards and moustaches.

Membership and Voting

It was agreed that membership of the Association will be open to all beard clubs (in the German sense of the word i.e. clubs for people with beards, moustaches and sideburns). The WBMA shall have the right to expel any club that conducts itself in a manner contrary to the purpose of the Association.

There was considerable discussion on the subject of voting. It was agreed unanimously that votes would be allocated to countries, not to clubs. Phil and Ted suggested that Germany should be allocated twice as many votes as other countries, but this suggestion was emphatically rejected by the German delegates. It was agreed that the number of votes allocated to each country would be equal to the number of clubs in that country in which there were the most member clubs. This would ensure that every club that was a member of the Association would have at least one vote. It was also agreed that any club unable to be present at a meeting would be entitled to appoint a proxy to cast their vote(s). However, the intention is that most of the business of the Association will be carried out via electronic mailing so that it is hoped that casting of proxy votes will not normally be needed.

It was agreed to send an invitation to every known eligible club, inviting them to join the Association, the invitation to include a copy of the aims of the Association, as agreed at this meeting.

Future Championships

It was agreed that it was inappropriate to suggest changes to the arrangements for the World Championships which are already scheduled for 2005 and 2007, but it was felt that arrangements for later competitions should be left open. Proposals for hosting the 2009 World Championships should be submitted in writing to the WBMA not later than three months before the date of the 2005 World Championships. This will allow time for consideration of proposals, with a decision being made at the World Championships four years in advance of the event.

Executive and Administration

It was proposed that there should be a President who would act as spokesman for the Association, together with co-ordinators for each continent in which there are member clubs, currently Europe and North America.

Ted Sedman was proposed as the first President of the Association. Ted felt that his lack of knowledge of German would be a problem, but the delegates did not agree, and he was elected.

Wolfgang Stier was elected as co-ordinator for Europe and Phil Olsen as co-ordinator for North America.

There was some discussion on how long these appointments should be for, and whether the presidency should be associated with the country in which the world championships was held. It was agreed that the initial appointments should be until the 2005 World Championships, at which time decisions will be made on terms of office etc. and new elections held.

There was a short discussion on how the Association would be financed, and it was hoped that expenses could be kept low as a result of using e-mail for communication. The Handlebar Club agreed to bear any costs arising from Ted’s first term as President. Decisions on future financing will be made in 2005.

Competitive Categories

There was only a very short time available to discus the subject of categories to be used in competitions. There was agreement that

a) there should be fewer categories, and
b) the classes should be more broadly defined, so that every type of facial hair is included.
An initial suggestion was that there should be three main divisions, to cover moustaches, partial beards and full beards, and within each division there should be three categories:- natural, styled and free-style.

It was agreed that further discussion of this topic should be carried out via e-mail, with the intention to make a proposal for agreement at the 2005 championships.

Next Meeting

It is planned that the next meeting of the Association will be held in Berlin in conjunction with the 2005 World Championships.

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