The End of the Road Beard and Mustache Championships, a.k.a The Great Nordic Beardfest was founded in the summer of 2014.
After watching a rerun of Whisker Wars on the Independent Film Channel, event Founder/Organizer Shaun Chosa knew there was potential for a well organized, fun event in Ely, Minnesota. After researching other clubs and learning about beard culture a plan was formed and a date was set for the first annual Great Nordic Beardfest. The event plans received positive community support and sponsorship.
In 2015, the Great Nordic Beardfest found a home at the Boathouse Brewpub in downtown Ely, Minnesota. The first event coincided with Ely's annual Winter Festival and was a single event held over one evening. It was a huge success with standing room only which led to expanding the event to two days in the following years.
In 2016, the Great Nordic Beardfest officially joined the Ely Winter Festival. More categories were added. A second stand alone event called the "Friday Night Throw Down for the Great Nordic Belt" was created as a warm up event before the main competition on Saturday night. The single elimination "Throw Down" was decided by the in house crowd picking the winner in each bracket until one winner remained. By now, the word was out and many participants joined the event from the Minneapolis Beard and Mustache Club (MBMC). Many friends were made and the contest grew in quality and reputation.
In 2017, more categories were added, others were split to be more competitive. An annual theme was adopted (2017 was "Pirates") That same year, the first international team from Manitoba, Canada visited the event. The Manitoba Facial Hair Club (MFHC) sent a small group to compete, and again more friendships were made. The event continues to grow and is becoming a tradition in the Ely area.