MENOMONIE, Wis. — Menomonie, Wisconsin has an interesting hair history.
Over the years, residents have made it to the finals in the USA Mullet Championship three times. This year, 8-year-old Emmitt Bailey finally brought home the title.
"I wanted to have cool hockey hair,” Emmitt said.
Emmitt’s legendary look was inspired by his favorite sport — hockey — and his dad’s favorite football player.
"I'm a huge Jared Allen fan,” said Eric Bailey, Emmitt's dad. “That's what inspired him to grow the mullet.”
For two years, Emmitt has been sporting these gorgeous locks.
"They're just cool,” Emmitt says.
And his dad thought, why not put them up against the best in the world?
"He had an awesome mullet, and I said, 'Let's enter it because it's fun,'” Eric said.
More than 1,600 kids entered the USA Mullet Championships this year, and about 1,000 didn't make it past the first round.
"It went from six hundred, to a hundred, and then the 25 was the final round,” Eric explained.
In the final round, things didn't start well for Emmitt.
"I did not think I was going to win,” Emmitt said.
But then the votes started coming in, nearly 10,000 of them, earning Emmitt the title of best kids mullet in the nation.
"My favorite hashtag I saw going around was ‘Emmitt the hero we didn't know we needed," Bailey laughed.
Besides bragging rights, Emmitt also won $2,500 which he plans to spend on a go-kart, “Because I want to go fast,” Emmitt explained.
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His parents say half can go to his go-kart fund, the rest has to go to college. But in the end, Emmitt’s parents say even more important than the money is the joy Emmitt's hair has brought to the world.
The countless smiles and laughs that remind people not to take life too seriously.
“This contest isn’t political, it’s not about COVID, it’s not about violence, it’s just positive fun and that was my favorite part,” Bailey said.
So, what’s next for Emmitt?
He’s scheduled to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming Milwaukee Brewers game. He is also scheduled to make an appearance at the preseason hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.
He’s also getting ready for a new school year where he's entering the third grade and plans to keep his mullet the entire school year.
"Why would I cut it off?" he said.
To learn more about the USA Mullet Championships click here.
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