About half of the 14 contestants wore Americana garb: a shirt with a toile-esque pattern of bald eagles, red-white-and-blue camouflage, shortalls that looked like an American flag. Almost all wore wraparound sunglasses.
Many sipped tallboy cans of beer as they shared tales of barbers, including one dramatic anecdote about a hairstylist being unreachable that morning when one contestant needed a touch up. Conditioners were compared — Tresemmé proved divisive — and tips were shared, including a hunch about how sunshine can add a gloss to hair.
“You see another fellow with a glorious mane, you give a little nod of acknowledgment,” said Bradley Easter, 35, a competitor from Dripping Springs, Texas, whose straight, lanky mullet stood out among the other contestants’ curls and waves. “You’re thinking, you know, he’s probably a good dude,” added Mr. Easter, who owns a landscape and excavation business.
Several people said that patience was crucial to having a mullet, because they take time to grow. But timeliness was never identified as a virtue of the mullet lifestyle. Mr. Begola, the contest’s founder, said “the mullets” — a term that he used to refer to its contestants — are known to “do what they want.” Competitors in Lewisville were given a call time an hour and a half earlier than the event’s 7 p.m. start time.
Looking for a ‘Rock Star’
Even though many contestants had been hanging out for hours in the hot shadow of City Hall, when they were called to the stage by the host of the qualifying event, Sam Barclay, a handful were nowhere to be found, including the first mullet scheduled to appear, which belonged to Danny Earl Perkins.
Mr. Perkins, 31, from Marion, Texas, calls his fluffy mullet the D.E.W., which stands for the Danny Earl Way. He sauntered up to the stage two minutes after the competition was set to begin, and wanted to walk on while smoking a cigarette. But Mr. Barclay stopped him before he stepped onstage.