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Jonathan Goldsmith reads a script for a public service announcement Monday, March 28, 2016, at the Make-A-Wish Vermont office in Burlington, Vt. Goldsmith, who appeared for nine years as the "Most Interesting Man in the World," in Dos Equis beer commercials, will star in public service announcements for Make-a-Wish Foundation Vermont. The Mexican beer brand recently dropped the 77-year-old for a younger replacement, who will appear in commercials later this year. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

The former 'Most Interesting Man' helped judge a beard competition in Vermont


The former pitchman for Dos Equis beer, who was best known as the "Most Interesting Man in the World," judged a beard competition in Vermont Saturday.

Actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who lives in Manchester and sports a well-maintained beard himself, was one of four judges for the Vermont Beardies competition. 

The event raised nearly $30,000 for Make-a-Wish Vermont, which helps grant wishes of children living with life-threatening conditions. 

Jonathan Goldsmith
Jonathan Goldsmith

Bryan Sturge, who hasn't cut his beard in nearly two years, won this year's competition.

Beards in the competition are judged in three categories: beard, freestyle and backwoods. In addition, each contestant is required to tell the judges an interesting story about his beard. More than 100 people entered the contest, but only the top 30 were invited to the finals. 

Sturge told the judges that he entered the backwoods competition as a tribute to his 11-year-old daughter Zoey, who died of cancer in 2013. Zoey's Make-a-Wish request was to go to Disney World and swim with dolphins, but she died before it could be granted. 

Sturge explained to the judges that when Zoey was alive, he'd promised that he wouldn't shave until she got better. He shaved a few times after she died, but always regrew the beard. Sturge told the judges that he'd entered the contest so other children could have their wishes granted.

"It's a promise that we made," Sturge said. "It's love. It's a memory. It's how she last saw me, with a beard. She didn't want me to shave it because of our promise. I offered to shave for her so she could see me without it. She said, 'No, that's not the deal.'"

Goldsmith said he was looking for the following qualities in a winning beard: "The character of the beard, how it brings forth something indigenous to the individual, something personal." Sturge's beard did just that.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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