1,000 beards on the way for Big Monday

Jacob Pullen

Do you like the look of Jacob Pullen’s beard?

If so, you’re in luck, because a beard out is on the way.

That’s right, a beard out. That’s the term Kansas State fans are using to describe the Wildcats’ Big Monday battle with Texas, at which K-State will hand out 1,000 stick-on beards to the first 1,000 students who arrive at Bramlage Coliseum.

Joni Smoller, K-State’s director of fan experience/sales, said she would stop short of calling the giveaway a “beard out,” because when she thinks of that phrase she sees 13,000 fake beards.

But she has heard so much feedback on the giveaway that she expects fans outside the student body to bring their own fake beards. Others may grow their own.

“There will be more than 1,000 beards at the game,” Smoller said. “It should be interesting. We’re going to give some to the TV personalities and see if they wear them.”

Smoller said the idea for the giveaway started when K-State administrators noticed students wearing shirts and making signs with the phrase “Fear the Beard” on them.

Pullen is averaging 19.8 points per game this season and has become one of K-State’s most popular players.

“With Jake growing his beard and having a lot of success this season the fans caught on to that,” Smoller said. “We wanted to do something big for Big Monday, something TV might pick up on. Something different than a white out or something like that.”

Well, a beard out is certainly different. Smoller believes the giveaway may be the first of its kind.

Abe Lincoln

The process began with Smoller looking online for fake beards that resembled Pullen’s. She said there is a large selection out there, but the style she settled on was Abraham Lincoln.

After a few calls, K-State found a costume supplier with 1,000 Abe Lincoln beards and the deal was done.

“We’ve got them in, and a couple people have tried them on,” she said. “They look pretty good.”

Pullen laughed when asked about the fake beards. He isn’t sure how he, or his mother (who he says does not like the beard and will be in attendance) will react to all those Pullen lookalikes.

He still thinks it’s humorous when people stop him on campus just to talk about his facial hair.

“One guy told me earlier today,” Pullen said, “that he was fighting with his wife because he wouldn’t cut his beard and she wanted him to cut his beard. Stuff like that is hilarious to me. I don’t know why he’s fighting with his wife about it. But that stuff is hilarious to me.”

He is also appreciative to the fans who support him and the Wildcats.

“It’s amazing and just shows how they love us so much here,” Pullen said. “A lot of schools wouldn’t do that … I think we have the best student section in the world.”