Wisconsin dominates national mullet competition

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Is Wisconsin the new mullet capital of the U.S.? The state boasts two national champions.

Eight-year-old Emmitt Bailey of Menomonie won the kids division of an online contest, with high-school senior Cayden Kershaw of Wausau taking the teen division top prize. Max Weihbrecht of De Pere took third in the teen division.

If you didn't know that there was a national mullet contest every year, you are probably not alone. Contest founder Kevin Begola says it started with a kids' mullet contest in 2020.

"From there we just kept growing the brand," Begola said.

Begola says the mullet is more of a lifestyle than just a hairdo, and while it has been maligned in the past, right now it is very much in.

"I think after COVID and everything that everybody's been through, it's kind of like a big screw you to, you know, everything that's happened, and I wanna have fun now, let's not always be so serious," Begola said.

French fashion guru Henri Mollet is credited with the origin of the word -- he wore the hairstyle in the 1970s, and since then the name "Mollet" was Americanized into "mullet."

But historians say the 'do has been worn by rebels for centuries, ranging from ancient Rome to Ben Franklin

In 1994, the Beastie Boys song, "Mullet Head," included lyrics with specific instructions for a barber and their clippers: "Number one on the side and don't touch the back, number six on the top and don't cut it wack, Jack."

Iran banned the mullet in 2010, including it on their list of "decadent Western haircuts." 

But Kershaw's mullet motives are hardly decadent, he's donating his $1,000 first prize to charity, and is taking his newfound fame in stride.

"It's kind of funny getting all the attention because when I first started growing the mullet, I never, like, imagined this stuff-- it was just a joke at the time," Kershaw said.

The mullet has been around almost as long as humanity, did Wisconsin perfect it in 2022? Begola won't go that far, but the Michigan man admits the state is tough to beat right now.

"It's a pretty epic time to be alive, and Wisconsin has some pretty majestic mullets," he said.

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