Aussie mullet fans converge for hair-raising event

Mulletfest draws in huge crowds as hundreds of Aussies show off their weird and wacky hairstyles for the ultimate prize

  • Mullet-clad Aussies converge on small town for Mulletfest
  • The pageant in Kurri Kurri crowns the best mullet in 13 categories 
  • READ MORE: Aussie Squid Game player with retro moustache and shaggy surfer hair goes viral

Some of Australia’s most luxurious mullets have descended on a small town to compete in the nation’s premiere pageant for the iconic haircut.

Taking place on Saturday at the Hebburn Motorsport Park, west of Newcastle in the Hunter Valley, Mulletfest attracted hundreds of competitors and fans from across the country to see who would be crowned the best mullet of 2023.

With competitors battling in 13 seperate categories including best vintage, extreme, everyday, grubby and ‘Ranga’ (ginger), the competition was stiff to take home a coveted trophy and become part of mullet history.

The pageant even includes four junior categories with age ranges from new-borns to 17-year-olds with many of them giving the adults a run for their haircut.

Mulletfest has skyrocketed in popularity globally after it’s inaugural year in 2018 as a way to attract tourists to the  nearby town of just 6,000-people, Kurri Kurri, and keep a local pub from closing down.

The competition also helped the hairstyle rise back into prominence in 2020, coined the ‘year of the mullet’, after previously being shunned as a ‘bogan’ haircut.

The Mane Event: Australia’s premiere mullet pageant, Mulletfest, has pitted some of the nation and world’s most luscious business in the front and party at the back haircuts against each other

Attendees braved scattered showers to get to the pageant in Kurri Kurri, west of Newcastle, to watch as competitors compete in 13 seperate categories

This year’s Mulletfest saw a new winner taking home the best everyday and best overall mullet, Mitchell White (pictured), for his wavy brown mullet stretching from his classy fringe all the way back to below his neckline

Those competing on Saturday were the cream of the mullet crop after having won gruelling heats with others hoping to make it to the now internationally renowned competition 

Mulletfest even offers four age ranges for children aged from newborns to 17-years-old who give some of the adults a run for their haircut with particularly luxurious mullets

Those competing on Saturday were the cream of the mullet crop after having won gruelling heats in months prior against others hoping to feature in the internationally renowned competition.

While a large portion of adjudication goes towards conditioning and overall style of the mullet, the showmanship and on-stage presence of contestants is also taken into account in determining a winner.

‘We understand that it’s the man or woman beneath the mane that matters. You need to be willing to look around, celebrate diversity and understand that maybe the heart is as big as the hair,’ the competition’s website reads. 

This year’s competition saw a new champion crowned in Mitchell White, sporting a wavy brown mullet stretching from a classy fringe to back below his neck-line, beating out past champions in the everyday and overall categories.

Mulletfest introduced the best international mullet to cater for those coming from overseas to compete in the now globally-renowned pageant.

This year’s international winner, a military doctor from Bournemouth, England, Alistair Bush, likened his campaign for overall champion to the origins of the Ashes test cricket series between England and Australia. 

‘There’s something quite funny, I think, about an Englishman coming to Australia and winning a mullet competition,’ Mr Bush told the Newcastle Herald.

‘It’s like the Ashes in reverse. You guys came out and beat us, and there was such rancour from us in 1882 that these guys could come from the other side of the world and beat us at cricket. We burnt the bales.

‘If I win this thing, I will burn my mullet and send the ashes back to them in a cup.’

While judges give each mullet a score relating to their conditioning, care and style but also their showmanship while on-stage

Much like other beauty pageants, all competitors were given the chance to show off their comfortability in their mullet and on-stage presence 

The competition has helped the hairstyle rise back into prominence,2020  coined the ‘year of the mullet’, after previously being shunned as a ‘bogan’ haircut

While the rain kept some attendees under cover for the competition, they were treated to a day of flowing mullets, drinks and other entertainment such as a modified ute doing burnouts and The Bogan Games

Mulletfest also allows for whole families to compete in the family division, with the Painter’s taking the trophy back to the family home.

The only woman to receive a win on the day, Lisa Wright, had a large group of friends and family in attendance in matching shirts reading ‘Lisa’s Ladies’ to cheer her on to be crowned best rookie. 

Harley Crampton, the winner of the 8 to 13-year-old competition, has been growing out his mullet for five years and was recently told by his new Catholic high school to tie up the party at the back.

Personifying the rebellious nature of his flowing mullet, he told the Newcastle Herald that ‘Jesus rocked a mullet… I don’t see why I can’t’.

While attendees were entertained by the talent on-stage, they were also treated to a modified ute doing a burnout, impromptu mullet haircuts and even a carnival competition named ‘The Bogan Games’.

Mulletfest was started in 2018 by the Johnson family in 2018 after their pub, The Chelmsford Hotel, was getting close to shutting its doors when a generational employer departed Kurri Kurri and created an economic crisis.

More than 4,000 people arrived at the inaugural competition with news outlets from the United States and United Kingdom covering the mullet pageant.

Attendee figures ballooned in following years and save the pub after drawing mullet-clad patrons from around the world.

Other attendees took the opportunity to get a mullet themselves

Kids who haven’t even celebrated their first birthday are allowed to compete in the competition

Some kids have been growing out their mullets for more than five years in hopes of competing and winning, with some deciding to don the ‘skullet’ style which also includes the top of the head shaved

The only woman to win a trophy this year, Lisa Wright (pictured, centre), was crowned best rookie with a large group of friends and family attending in ‘Lisa’s Ladies’ shirts to cheer her on

While celebrating the misfit haircut, Mulletfest has been raising funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation for research and treatment for those with brain cancer since its conception in 2018 and has helped keep a local pub in business

While celebrating the misfit haircut, Mulletfest has been raising funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation for research and treatment for those with brain cancer since its conception.

A local to Kurri Kurri, Mark Hughes was a celebrated NRL player who was part of the Newcastle Knights’ premiership-winning sides in 1997 and 2001.

He would go on to start the foundation to help those diagnosed with brain cancer after he was diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

The foundation is close to the competition’s organiser, Laura Johnson, whose co-host for the pageant Prousty died from the disease in 2021 while her friend Matt Foster similarly died in 2019.

The best Rookie category is named in Mr Foster’s honour while his widowed wife, Carly, still remains a crucial component to the pageant.

READ MORE: Private school fed-up with mullets threatens to cut student’s hair on the spot when they return to the classroom

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