It was an exciting, come-from-behind cowin for Hanes, who gained widespread attention last summer when he began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Pennsylvania in defiance of state law.
Just days before the online voting ended Oct. 18, Hanes trailed Stine by a few thousand votes, said Adam Paul Causgrove, 29, of Pittsburgh, president of the mustache institute.
On Oct. 16, The Inquirer wrote about Hanes' status as a contest finalist. In the next 48 hours, Causgrove said, a surge of votes came in for Hanes, lifting him to a statistical tie with Stine. The institute gladly awarded two plaques, two crowns, and two sets of grooming supplies.
"It's not often that America is given one mustached American of the year," Causgrove said. "The fact that we have two signifies how special of a time we're living in."
Hanes enjoyed the lighthearted award, which he received Oct. 26 in Pittsburgh. That's no wonder, considering the continuing controversy over his issuance of marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.
There even was a civil-rights undercurrent, mixed with Academy-Award-like graciousness, in his reaction to winning the mustache award.
"I'm proud to live in a country where I can share the same rights and privileges as my clean-shaven fellow citizens," he said. "All the nominees are fine examples of hirsute American altruism, and as AMI understands, it's not about the mustache alone but what you do with the mustache."
BY THE NUMBERS
Percentage of "best mustache" votes for
For David Stine
For Mike Brown
For Bryan Harper
For Ron Burgundy
For Uncle Grandpa