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Mullet contest crowns winner at Indiana State Fair

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Saturday’s mullet championship trophy went to a man who, at one time, was unable to grow one.

John Poor, of Anderson, was one of 13 people to take part in the State Fair’s second annual mullet contest, part of the USA Mullet Championship. Poor, who once sported the iconic hairstyle during its 1980s heyday, said he decided to grow one again after surviving a battle with colon cancer.

“I realized you only have one life to live. Live it to your fullest. Make people happy,” he said.

The contest drew a small crowd outside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum that included Gov. Eric Holcomb. Contestants were judged based on the appearance of their mullet and the story they told about it. Most said they first grew a mullet during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, when hair stylists were among those ordered to close their businesses. They also had to shake their mullets for the crowd.

The Indiana State Fair’s contest is one of three live events in the championship, along with the Illinois State Fair and Denimfest in Iowa. Christian Hoffer, the emcee for Saturday’s event, said the contest got a great response last year, and has grown far beyond what the founders could have dreamed.

“To say that this thing has taken on a life of its own would be quite an understatement,” he said. “we’re so, so honored that, not only are we able to bring this on a national level digitally, but we can bring it right here into the community at the State Fair like this.”

When the judges’ tallies came in, Poor narrowly won. He said he never expected to win.

“It’s just been a whirlwind. I couldn’t believe I won,” he said.

Poor, an Air Force veteran, said he entered the contest in part to represent local veterans organizations including his American Legion post. The USA Mullet Championship raises money for Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, a non-profit that builds and remodels accessible, mortgage-free housing for wounded veterans.

Poor will advance to the national championship, dubbed the “Mane Event.” Judges will choose from 25 online submissions this fall.