Local barbers prepare to put their skills to the test at Omaha competition

Aug. 3, 2023, 4 p.m. ·

Alejandro Morales
Beauchamp Alejandro Morales (Courtesy Photo)

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Just off of O Street in central Lincoln, on the second floor of a multipurpose building, sits Oasis Barber Shop. Inside, the barbers and their customers chat away about the latest goings on while music alternates between hip-hop and R&B in the background. In the third chair to the left, barber Derrick Hull is finishing up a cut.

When he finishes, Rusty Andresen, a new customer, is impressed by the result.

“I like it a lot,” Andresen said.

It may not look like it between the smiles and the small talk, but Hull is training for a contest of skill in the upcoming Battle of the Barbers: Beauty N Art Expo.

The event, scheduled for August 6 in Omaha, will have him competing in the timed, “best fade and beard trim” category -- something he considers a strong suit.

“The total minutes of that is going to be 45 minutes, and I think I can knock it out within like, 35, maybe 40 minutes tops,” he said.

The battle will feature a few dozen barbers from around the Midwest. They will compete in a number of hair style-related competitions, including fastest fade and best tag-team haircut.

“We don't really get a lot of barber battles on this side of the nation,” Hull said. “So I think whenever you get a chance to have a barber battle on this side of the country, nation, you know, go for it.”

The main organizer of the event is Beauchamp Alejandro Morales – or “Beau” for short. Speaking at his barbershop, Evoluxion, in Omaha, Morales said that in his time within the profession, he noticed a lack of hair design focus events within the region.

Derrick Hull.JPG
Derrick Hull (Courtesy Photo)

“I don't see it happening in the Midwest,” Morales said.

He says he organized a similar event in 2016 and has the know-how to make the battle successful.

“I've been to like, 12, you know, 13, just this year." Morales said. “I'm just like, Yo, I'm gonna bring that to my own, you know? I'm gonna bring that to Omaha.”

While the battle is part of the event's draw, Morales said his main goal is to provide a chance for barbers and observers to learn the latest industry styles, techniques and practices – without having to travel too far from home.

“For me to have this type of education, I had to go to Kansas, Chicago, Colorado, you know, Texas - anywhere, except for Omaha. So like, for this education to come here, it's rare.”

Morales says he’s been networking to drum up support. He is particularly proud about the lineup of keynote speakers he’s gathered for the occasion, including the multi-award winning J Armando Garcia of Harlingen, Texas.

Garcia said he’ll be speaking about the importance of punctuality.

“If you’re not punctual and word gets around town, your reputation - and thus your business - will sour fast,” according to Garcia. “If you’re 100% customer service and you’re always on time and you do what you have to do to communicate with your client, you’ll start building a reasonable, respectable clientele list."

Garcia said speaking engagements like Morales’s expo takes him across the country; something he never thought possible when he first started out. He said these events are unmatched in not only the amount someone can learn, but also networking opportunities.

“It's marketing. Marketing, for your business, marketing for yourself personally,” Garcia said. “If you own a barber shop, it's really good to go because you get to market it with a lot of people.”

Garcia said his success is a testament to what can happen if you work hard and learn what you can, however you can.

“Keep pushing, no matter what,” he said. “That's one thing a lot of these kids don't know about. Things get rough, they get hard, and they give up so easily. That’s one thing I’ll probably speak about in the class as well.”

Andrew Foreman.jpg
Andrew Foreman (Courtesy Photo)

At the College of Hair design in downtown Lincoln, barber-in-training Andrew Foreman said he got interested in the battle a few weeks ago, when Morales came in to lecture. He said he’s not sure if he’ll enter the battle himself, but he is looking forward to learning.

“I'm going to take this piece I heard from this person, and this piece I heard from this person. I'm going to merge them together to make a new skill set, for me, that works for me. And next thing you know, you have an entire method of something that you came up with,” he said.

A former aircraft mechanic for the military, Foreman said he doesn’t regret trading in his wrenches for clippers.

“When I was in the military, they didn't have too much of a need, for like, an artistic talent,” said Foreman. “So this is the best of both worlds where I can display attention to detail, artistic creativity, while helping people look good and feel good.”

Whether through battling or a lecture, Morales said that if people like Foreman and Hull walk away more informed and excited about the future of hair design, the event was worth the time and money,

“They can take all your clothes, and they can take all your money, but they can't ever take that education and that knowledge.”

Fore more information about the Battle of the Barbers: Beauty N Art Expo, click HERE