Beerd Derby organizers ecstatic with continued growth

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Beerd Derby Judge Danielle Collins inspects beards at the Prince Albert Winter Festival Beerd Derby on Sunday night at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Banquet and Events Centre.

There were eight champions crowned at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Banquet and Events Centre on Sunday, and almost every one of them had the facial hair to prove it.

Judges selected the best beards and moustaches in Prince Albert on the final day of judging at the Prince Albert Winter Festival Beerd Derby. Beerd Derby chair Doug Erickson said was elated at the steady growth of the event.

“I’m ecstatic actually,” Erickson said. “It was only four years ago we had 12 contestants and now we’re up to over 130 contestants. We’re managing the growth, (and) we need to manage the growth because of how the system operates, but we are just thrilled with how it’s been going.”

Several competitions came down to lengthy discussions among the judges. Erickson said organizers were pleased with how close some categories were.

“The competition was pretty intense this year, so it was good,” he said. “We had a lot of people in every category as you saw, and so it made it very interesting. It was a great event.”

Erickson said the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation is a “major, major, sponsor” of the Beerd Derby. They have an arrangement with Great Western Brewing, which in turn sponsors the Beerd Derby. 

Erickson would not commit to who was the best facial hair because it is not completely about competition.

“The main drive of the Beerd Derby is to have fun and we are very focused on training all of these candidates to support the businesses that support us in this event, all year long,” Erickson said. 

“The event is driven by the contestants spending their money all year long at the sponsors to the event.”

Contestants also have to save beer receipts for purchases of Great Western. Erickson said the competition has been a great way to promote local businesses while also having fun.

“When we started, 14 per cent of the receipts for beer product—which they have to save—were coming from Lake Country. Now, 98 per cent come from Lake Country Co-op. We’re driving business into Original Joe’s We’re driving business into Boston Pizza.”

The winners of this year’s events were Kaleb Beauchesne in Amateur Mustache, Wayne Gouldhawke in Amateur Miscellaneous, Dwight Krausse in Amateur Full Bush, Dave MacAuley in Professional Mustache, Kent Tomlinson in Professional Miscellaneous, Rick Jenkins in Professional Bush, Shane LeCorre in PPE and Claire Urbaniak in the Ladies category.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Back (L to R) judge Ian Litzenberger, Dwight Krausse, Kent Tomlinson, Kaleb Beauchesne, Dave MacAuley. Wayne Gouldhawke and Judge Danielle Collins; front (L to R) Judge Tyler Redl, Rick Jenkins, Claire Urbaniak, Shane LeCorre and Doug Erickson. The winners and judges posed after the crowning of the champions at the Prince Albert Winter Festival Beerd Derby on Sunday night at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Banquet and Events Centre.

The PPE category was for people who could not grow facial hair due to their job and was done by a draw. The Ladies’ category was also done by a draw.

Judging was done by co-chair Ian Litzenberger, Great Western representative Tyler Redl and Danielle Collins from Hair and Beyond. Longtime and current competitor Kent Tomlinson acted as rules official.

The Beerd Derby was initially a signature part of the Winter Festival in the late 1960s and early 1970s when it was sponsored by the former Molson Brewery in Prince Albert.

It is also a highlight for Erickson.

“Beerd Derby is obviously my favourite, but it’s also in there with the dog races and the King Trapper events. It’s old,” he said.

At its lowest point, Erickson estimates maybe six or seven people participated in the Beerd Derby. To revive the event, Erickson negotiated with Great Western Brewery in Saskatoon to bring life back to the Derby.

“It was almost dead and we partnered with Great Western Brewery, but I mean, back in the 60s and the 70s, there was 300 participants,” Erickson said.

“Well, we’re going to grow it slow. We have to manage the growth.”

They set a goal last year to have 120 members for the competition and exceeded that goal in 2024 with 130.

Organizers also plan to stay connected with competitors, Erickson said it helped generate enthusiasm for the competition, and that bodes well for the future.

During the peak years, when the Derby was hosted by Molson, there could be up to 300 entries. They have also expanded by adding the Ladies Hairiest Legs competition and the PPE. PPE and the Ladies helped to grow the event

“A lot of wives come with their husbands,” Erickson said.

Erickson said that gives them two for the price of one which boosts participation.

Major sponsors for the event included the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation, Lake Country Co-op, Phantom Light Distillery, Great Western Brewery, Original Joe’s, Boston Pizza, PA Wand Wash Car Wash and North Star Screen Printing and Trophies. 

“The main gist of this whole thing is teaching these people to spend their money on the people that make it. You pay 50 bucks for this event. You get a hoodie, jacket, seven nights of all the food you can eat and all the beer you can drink for 50 bucks and prizes every night and big prizes tonight,” Erickson said.

Each winner received an embroidered bag from North Star.

Litzenberger, who manages the Lake County Co-op Liquor Stores in Prince Albert will be staying on as co-chair of the Beerd Derby.

The Beerd Derby also has a Facebook page to keep up to date on the happenings throughout the year. Anyone with questions about the Beerd Derby can reach out to the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation by calling 764-8970, or by email at