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Bikes and beards back in full force at this year's Devils Half Acre rally

KENTVILLE – The Devils Half Acre is back in full swing – and full beard – after last year’s rained-out event was cancelled.

Engines revved and tires squealed as motorcycles drove through Kentville’s downtown area this year, and pedestrians checked out the vendor booths. Event chair Harlon Wood confirmed two new events were added to the schedule this year – the burnout and beard competitions.

Robert Lutes, owner of Fredericton barbershop and beard product business the Artful Dodger, headed things at the beard event, where men lined up to have their hair judged.

He said the two most important things for anyone sporting a beard are taking care of it and having the right attitude while sporting it.

“Using the right soaps and oils – that creates good hair, which creates a good beard,” he said.

“And some guys carry themselves when they have a beard versus when they don’t. It definitely has something to do with it.”

Lutes described how different groups seem to have different styles of beards – tattoo expositions one, barbershops another – and that those with motorcycles seem to have a style all their own.

“I see a total different bearded man here than I do at or other places. Beard culture is very wide and vast, and you see a different beard culture in the bike world,” he said.

Contestants like Pat Steeves, who came to the event from Fredericton, smiled wide through their beards at the event.

Steeves is a member of Crossovers, a bike group that helps veterans, people experiencing homelessness and others with mental illness connect with resources to help them.

He said there is more to motorcycles and rallies than most people see – something he showcases with a badge on his leather jacket that reads, ‘Never assume you know someone’s story.’

“This crowd has such a sense of community. We are mostly big teddy bears, and many of us support other causes. It’s the freedom behind being out on a bike – you experience that, and there’s nothing like it,” he said.

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