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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Leon Valley Councilman Ricardo Ruiz named "Best Facial Hair"

By Kolten Parker
SA Express-News Reporter

A Leon Valley City Councilman's mustache was awarded best facial hair in the country Wednesday by a popular grooming products company.

Ricardo Ruiz, named Man of the Year by Wahl Clipper Corp., beat out 14 finalists from around the country with his “clever handle-bar mustache and goatee combination,” reeling in $1,000 and, more importantly, a claim to facial hair fame.

“With a great mustache comes great responsibility,” said Ruiz, 40, who said he's had the upper-lip fashion statement for 20 years.

Ruiz, who won his seat on Leon Valley's City Council last year, said he believes the 'stache gave him “a slight edge” in his election. His handle-bar was a major part of his campaign poster.But the best benefit of his beard comes from the new, random friends he makes in public, he said.

“It's a conversation piece of sorts,” Ruiz said. “People don't typically come up and say 'hi' to strangers anymore. But something about my mustache creates an emotion inside people that causes them to approach me, usually to tell me how much they like it.”

That keeps his spirits high, he said, and sometimes can lift him out of a grumpy mood. Facial hair popularity is on the rise with six in 10 men sporting it at some point during the year, according to Wahl.

Ruiz, who owns the Mexican restaurant Cha-Cha's in Leon Valley, won the San Antonio regional competition four months ago, and was informed of his national victory Monday, he said.“I was overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” Ruiz said.

Judges for the competition included representatives from Men 's Health Magazine, Beard Team USA, the American Mustache Institute, and the Clinton Lumberkings. Each of the 15 finalists took home $500.

Wahl travelled more than 11,000 miles around the country with a “30-foot mobile barbershop” to provide grooming tips for dudes and select the finalists.

In 2012, Ruiz put is mustache to good use when he participated in a celebrity boxing benefit at the Joe Freeman Coliseum for the South Texas Hispanic Fund program for scholarships.

As for youngsters itching to grow full-blown facial hair, Ruiz offered some simple advice. “Just have patience, let it grow, and don't cut off the tips” he said.

Editor's Note: the thriving metropolis of Leon Valley is located near another suburb, the Red Light Camera Mecca of Balcones Heights.

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