It's official. Wisconsin is home to the best mullets in America.
Four Wisconsin boys made it to the finals of the USA Mullet Championships, with two of them taking home the titles of best mullets in America for the kids' and teen divisions.
Eight-year-old Emmitt Bailey of Menomonie and 18-year-old Cayden Kershaw of Wausau placed first in the competition, meaning the classic Kentucky haircut might need to be renamed the "Wisconsin Waterfall."
The championships are a national competition in which contestants from children to adults submit photos of their locks, trying to crowdsource enough online votes to earn the title of best mullet in the U.S. The competition raises money for a nonprofit in Michigan that provides wigs for children with hair loss due to illness.
Emmitt earned almost 9,900 votes, taking first place in the kids' division by over 1,000 votes — beating out 24 other finalists from 13 other states.
Kershaw won by just 19 votes, having collected over 3,200 by the end of the voting period. The teen division was smaller with only 11 finalists from six different states.
Thirteen-year-old Max Weihbrecht of Lawrence placed third in the teen division with just over 1,500 votes. Axel Wenzel, a 5-year-old finalist from Brillion, placed fourth in the kids' division, about 500 votes short of making it in the top three.
"I had like a tremendous amount of support and that's the only reason why I was able to win was because so many people were sharing it out," Kershaw, a senior at Wausau West High School, said. "I definitely owe it to a lot of people that supported me."
Kershaw started growing his mullet as a joke with his football friends and has kept the flow going for over three years.
"I'm known as the mullet guy at all the football camps and stuff, like that's just who I am. I can't cut it off because of that now," Kershaw said.
Having such luscious locks, Kershaw said he gets a lot of compliments on his hair and some odd requests.
"One of the weirdest questions is, I kinda feel like, people always want to touch it, so it's pretty funny getting that question," he said. "But it's pretty normal by now."
Emmitt's reaction to winning was priceless, said his dad, Eric Bailey. Emmitt and his mom are on vacation, so Eric went on Facebook Live with them to share the news.
"He started jumping up and down, and he could hardly control it he was so excited," Eric said.
Two years ago Emmitt was practically bald his hair was so short, Eric said. After watching the Minnesota state high school hockey championships, where every year the best flows and mullets are named, Emmitt was inspired to grow his own.
"That's when he decided he wanted cool hockey hair," Eric said.
Emmitt, who plays hockey and wrestles, has dubbed his mullet Mufasa after a night of watching "The Lion King."
"We started calling him 'Mufasa' because everyone was calling it his lion's mane," Eric said. "So then it just kind of took off from there, and so all of his wrestling buddies at state wrestling and during the tournaments kept referring to him as 'Mufasa.'"
Winning has thrust these boys into the spotlight with appearances on national television and even a demand for merchandise.
A family friend of the Bailey's mocked up a design for "Mullet Boy" T-shirts with Emmitt featured on the front. All proceeds from the shirt sales will go toward a college fund or Emmitt's dream of being a racecar driver, Eric said.
Another perk of having the best mullet in America is taking home a sizable chunk of cash.
Emmitt won $2,500, and if you ask him, it's going toward a go-kart, his dad said.
Kershaw is donating his $1,000 prize money to Peyton's Promise, an organization near Wausau that works to stock food pantry shelves and raise awareness about hunger.
The organization has worked with Kershaw's school, but with his busy schedule of school and football, he hasn't been able to help as much as he would like.
"It's been very hard for me to donate my time to their food pantry and all that, and I've always wanted to," he said. "But I've just been so busy with football and everything, so I feel like this is my opportunity to give back to the community and Peyton's Promise."
"I definitely would like $1,000, but I'm really excited for this," Kershaw said.
As he wraps up his senior year, Kershaw is looking to play college football and study physical therapy in the future. But the mullet is here to stay.
"It's not a lifelong thing. I'll have to cut it eventually," he said. "But I'm going to keep it throughout college because that's what I'm known for, and if I'm going to play college football, I definitely want to have a mullet."
Danielle DuClos covers k-12 education in the Green Bay area as a Report for America corps member. She is based at the Press-Gazette in Green Bay. To contact her, email email@example.com or call 907-717-6851. Follow her on Twitter @danielle_duclos.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Wisconsin mullet champions: Teen from Wausau, boy from Menomonie win