UPDATE 2.24.13: Big Joe Johnson took the title of Best Groomed at the Austin Facial Hair Club's 2013 competition! We had a blast hanging out with Joe and his lovely wife and stepson on Saturday and we're so honored that Austin360 was a part of this super suave champ's first foray into the world of competitive facial hair. Big love to Joe and to all the other amazing beards that took part in Austin360's first top beard contest. You're all big hairy winners in our book.  

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"Well that's just music to my ears."

Joe Johnson chuckled warmly upon being informed of his selection as the Austin360 candidate at Come and Shave It, the Austin Facial Hair Club's annual beard and moustache competition and celebration Saturday. With his epic salt-and-pepper beard, Joe was the unanimous choice of the Austin360 staff. We weren't even bothered by the fact that he's not actually an Austinite. Joe is making the trek with his wife and stepson from Lancaster, outside of Dallas to participate in the competition.

A beard of this caliber is clearly not a short term project, and for Joe it's been a lifetime in the works. As a young man, he put in four years of service in the Marine Corps, during which time he was forced to shave twice a day to contain his magnificent mane. He vowed to himself that when he completed his service he would never shave again. These days, in Joe's life as a retired postal worker and a volunteer at the local veterans hospital, his beard draws compliments and comments on almost a daily basis. The older ladies at church are particularly charmed, often asking permission to touch his fantastic whiskers. A genial guy, Joe always obliges.

For years, he's been curious about facial hair competitions, but this is Joe's first foray into the world of competitive whisker wars. We couldn't be prouder that he'll be carrying the banner for Team 360 at this Saturday's event. Go Joe!

Full sized image of our hero, Stevie Ray 'Big Joe' Vaughan.