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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oyens centennial: A big hairy deal

Monday, June 8, 2009

(Sentinel photo by Magdalene Landegent) It's beginning to look a bit like 1909. In honor of Oyens' centennial celebration, about 30 local men grew out their beards since January to compete for prizes like "Reddest" and "Ugliest" during Saturday's festivities.
Bill Loutsch has lived near Oyens for nearly 50 years.

But lately, he hasn't been looking like himself.

That's because Bill, along with about 30 other men from the community, loves Oyens so much he was willing to grow out his beard six months to help celebrate the Oyens Centennial.

(Sentinel photo by Magdalene Landegent) Tanner Klein and Vanessa Luevano, of Sheldon, watch the Oyens centennial parade Saturday dressed up in dresses from the early 1900s from the cover of their umbrella. Cool, wet weather didn't keep the crowd away.
One of the highlights of the 100-year celebration this weekend was a "Brothers of the Bush" beard contest.

After signing up in January, the men grew and groomed their whiskers with hopes of winning awards like "Best Mustache" and "Ugliest Beard."

"I'm pretty scruffy looking," Bill said from behind a full, curly beard.

(Sentinel photo by Magdalene Landegent) Looking just like he walked right out of 1909, an Oyens gentleman shows off his whiskers for the Brothers of the Bush beard contest Saturday in Oyens.
Mark Loutsch, a lifelong Oyens resident, is also sporting more than a five-o-clock shadow.

As a county supervisor, he's been getting some guff from his fellow board members about his bushy look.

But it's been worth it to help celebrate Oyens' heritage, he said.

"It's a great place to call home," Mark said.

Some things in Oyens have changed. He remembers a grocery store that used to be next to the post office. That's gone now.

"Now we just have a feed store, an elevator and a post office," Mark said.

He remembers coming from the farm to see Santa Claus, or coming with his brothers to play a pick-up game of football or softball on Sundays.

"No matter how big or small you were they let everyone play," he said with a beardy grin.

New families have moved in to town, but all of the older families are still there, he added.

Jerry Rahn, who lived 45 years in Oyens, said the people are what makes the town great.

"You know your neighbors," he said. "You need help, and they're there."

Mark agreed the people are the town's greatest strength.

"We all come together to put on a pretty good show," he said of the centennial celebration, which also included a parade, a church service and an outdoor dance, despite cooler temperatures and rain.

"My favorite part was my tractor making it all the way through the parade," he said of the 1934 "A" John Deere he drove.

"Even in inclement weather, we got a heck of a crowd here," Mark said.

Many came to see the beard judging, which included more than a few hoots, hollers and banter.

Some contestants said they'd be trimming back their beards after the celebration was over.

"I don't know," Bill said with a wry smile. "My daughter is getting married in two weeks, maybe I'll leave it on for that."

Mark said he'd be cutting his back soon.

"I think my wife's got her clippers ready. We might do it tonight," he laughed.

Turns out she doesn't like scratchy beard kisses.

"I only get one a day now," he said with a grin.

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