by Corin Hirsch
Bo Muller-Moore wears a lot of hats: He's a prolific T-shirt artist; a folk hero of local agriculture and the fight against corporate bullying; a thorn in Chick-fil-A's side; and a devoted family man and caregiver.
To judges at the American Mustache Insititute, Muller-More also combines a notable mustache with service in such a way that he emerged from 900 nominees as a finalist for the Goulet Award, an honor that annually recognizes a mustachioed gentleman who "best represents or contributes to the Mustached American community during the prior year."
The award, named for blustery actor Robert Goulet, honors the singer's "voice, trademark mustache, sense of humor, and black leather jackets, a quadruple-threat of talent the American Mustache Institute is proud to salute."
With his signature black tophat and oodles of personality, Muller-Moore seems like a shoo-in for the award, but he faces some stiff competition: a U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms; an auto-parts tycoon and NFL team owner; the former CEO of a San Antonio homeless rehab center; and an MIT biology professor who works to decode the human genome.
Muller-Moore was slightly surprised to be nominated. "I don't want to split hairs, but I wear a beard. I would argue that mustaches and beards are two very different critters," he says — but if the insitute isn't worried, neither is he.
Muller-Moore has been inundated with fan mail, media attention and T-shirt orders and mail since he chose to fight Chick-fil-A's efforts to shut down his "Eat More Kale" T-shirt business on the grounds of copyright infringement. (He's also in the midst of filming a documentary about his case, A Defiant Dude, with Burlington filmmaker James Lantz.) As the legal entanglement drags on, he welcomes the dose of whimsy. "It's a trip what this year has brought me, and this is one of the funnier and more unexpected surprises."
If Muller-Moore wins the Goulet award, he'll join the ranks of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Clay Zavada and Florida firefighter Brian Sheets. To vote for him, visit the finalist page for the Goulet Award; the winner will be announced at a 'Stache Bash in Mesa, Ariz., on October 27. Go, Bo!