GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — You could call it a hair-raising experience at the Green Bay Police Department.
Dozens of officers didn’t shave for a month to raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin, but the now-annual event is about much more than dollar signs to the athletes and officers.
It’s hard to miss the buzz around the police department these days.
“No Shave November is sometimes affectionately referred to as amateur beard month. Looking around, you might guess why,” says Lt. Brad Strouf, laughing, as he addresses a crowd gathered at the department Wednesday morning.
More than 60 employees ditched their razors this November, competing to grow the most handsome, stylish, best looking beard or goatee.
To depart from the standard dress code and participate, they had to pony up a little cash for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
“Anytime I get an opportunity to participate to benefit other events, I do,” says Officer Taylor Clark, winner of the goatee contest.
To make the contest more fun, local athletes judged each entry, putting great thought into their deliberations.
“It was hard. There were some pretty good ones,” says Dustin Skoviak, a Special Olympics athlete helping judge the friendly competition.
New this year, women joined the fun by wearing a thin blue line extension in their hair.
“I worked one of the Packer games, and I had so many people come up to me. They’re like, oh my gosh, I love your blue streak, so I thought maybe some of it was supporting the police, but then also, I shot out… nope, we’re doing it for the Special Olympics and everything,” says Officer Stephanie Dantoin, winner of the thin blue line hair extension contest.
And that’s the goal — raising awareness and money for these athletes to help them compete in the Special Olympics.
But the highlight of the event has nothing to do with the games.
“Honestly, the officers are the Special Olympics athlete’s heroes, so it’s basically like getting to rub elbows with your heroes everyday,” says Special Olympics regional director Matt Harper.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s awesome to be here,” says Skoviak.
While this competition got a little hairy in its final moments, complete with one officer handing out candy canes to earn a vote, in the end, the flannel shirt donned by Officer Matt Knutson marked the magical touch.
“I just thought the whole lumberjack appearance in November.. It’s beard season,” says Knutson, laughing.
It’s also a season of giving. The event this year sends $2,785 to Special Olympics of Wisconsin.