Q & A: Rob Sparkman of Columbus Ohio Mustache Brethren

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
From the November 8, 2012 edition

Rob Sparkman hasn’t been a mustache enthusiast for very long, but in February he founded Columbus’ first mustache club, Columbus Ohio Mustache Brethren (C.O.M.B.). Initially he just wanted to see what it’d be like to not shave for a month, but now he’s all-in. As C.O.M.B. continues to grow and gain members, Sparkman is looking forward to meeting with his fellow facial hair fanatics and benefitting charitable efforts close to his heart.

I researched Columbus and didn’t find any beard or mustache clubs. I thought, you know what, it’s not that hard to make a Facebook page, I’ll start one and see what happens. Beard Team Ohio, which is the grandfather of all the beard clubs, put on their website, “C.O.M.B., Columbus’ only mustache club.” I thought this is awesome, maybe I have something here.

C.O.M.B started getting a little bit bigger following, and we went to BeardCon this year. I got some shirts made at Skreened, set up a booth and sold some merchandise. There are different categories for the different facial styles. I compete natural. I haven’t placed yet, but I went to a competition in Bellefontaine a few months before BeardCon and got fourth. They gave me a free ticket to BeardCon. I was going to go anyway, but I got to go for free.

I do a competition whenever it pops up on Facebook. I’m in the network of facial hair farmers, whatever you want to call us. There’s something in February in Lexington, Kentucky that I’m probably going to.

C.O.M.B. is going to have a meet-up sometime this month at Meister’s Bar. We haven’t had an official meet-up yet because it’s just a Facebook page. At BeardCon I had a sign-up sheet and got 19 people.

My mustache just came on randomly. Last November, I decided I’m not going to shave. When the month was over, my wife said, “Please, please shave your beard.” When I came out of the bathroom, I left my mustache. And she hated it, but she knows how stoked I am and is just going to let me keep it. She’s awesome.

My two kids are pretty stoked on the mustache too. We do fake mustaches for Christmas, anything mustache. They’ll record “The Marvelous Misadventure of Flapjack,” a pirate cartoon, that has a mustache and beard episode. Every time it comes on, they DVR it for me.

A lot of these beard and mustache clubs have their own different cause. Movember and BeardCon are all toward men’s health. We’re going to participate in Movember stuff and men’s health, but my brother has been diagnosed with a childhood form of bone cancer. He’s terminally ill right now and doesn’t have much time left. Our goal is childhood bone cancer awareness. When we do any fundraisers, that’s what we’re going to put our money toward.