Santa David Bates, beard master


Santa David is one of several Tulsa gentlemen featured in a January 12, 2014, story in the Tulsa World, on the front page of the style section, "Beard masters talk about manly art of growing, maintaining facial hair." The story was by reporter Jerry Wofford. The photograph was by photo editor Christopher Smith, using a vintage Graflex Speed Graphic large format camera. The story includes many other photos and sidebars on the care and feeding of long beards.

David_Bates_Santa_Tulsa_beard-20140112.jpgFor David Bates, the beard is an essential part of his career. Bates plays Santa Claus in Tulsa during the holiday season. When kids pull the long white beard, they know it's the real deal.

Bates' beard is stark white and about a foot long. While the beard sells the Santa look, Bates' glasses and rosy cheeks and nose complete the picture.

Bates started growing his beard in the winter of 2005 after he retired. By the fall, he was ready to play Santa.

"I got my first gig to substitute, and they kept me ever since," Bates said.

Maintaining his Santa appearance does take some work, though. He regularly has to trim the beard and even must dye part of it during Santa season.

"It does grow fast, and I do have to do some artwork on it," Bates said.

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This page contains a single entry published on January 13, 2014 12:05 AM.

"Tulsa's Kris Kringle" profiled in Tulsa People was the previous entry in this blog.

What Santa did this summer is the next entry in this blog.

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