Every morning Jayce Bowers uses his favourite brush on his luscious, ginger mullet.
"I've got a special barber that I can trust with my hair, and a specific shampoo and conditioner," he said.
The 12 year-old's locks were judged to be best in show at a central Queensland competition earlier this year Jayce will now see if his 'do can cut it at the national level.
After four years of growing, his mane is 40 centimetres long.
Jayce, who lives in Gladstone, is entering the under-13 competition at Mulletfest.
The event, born in regional New South Wales, attracts competitors from across the globe and entrants from the United Kingdom and the United States will be there to vie for mullet crowns this Saturday.
"Mulletfest has shown that it's more than a haircut," founder Laura Johnson said.
"We're really breaking that stigma of 'nothing more than a bogan.'"
'How grubby is it?' Ms Johnson said the event at Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley began annually since its inception in 2018.
"My father's pub … was struggling and the town itself had lost a generational job provider and we really needed to create a tourism injection," she said.
Ms Johnson said young and old would compete at Mulletfest this weekend.
In the past, the event has attracted as many as 8,000 people.
Ms Johnson said points were assigned based on the cut, condition and category.
"So, if it's a grubby mullet, how grubby is it?" she said.
"If it's an everyday mullet, is it an adaptable style you can wear every day? Can you dress it up to go out, can you tie it back for work?"
Ms Johnson said award-winning hairdressers and aficionados with lived experience of sporting mullets would be on the judging panel.
Ms Johnson said mullets were popular in the 1980s, but had fallen out of fashion by the time she began her hairdressing apprenticeship in the '90s.
Nonetheless, she received specific training to help clients grow out their mullets.
"They are so back and so fashion-forward at the moment," Ms Johnson said.
'Out of his shell' Sam Bowers, Jayce's mum, said her boy began cultivating his long locks as part of a wager.
"I bet him $50 that he wouldn't grow a mullet … then once it started growing, he started to get a bit of recognition for it and it just kept going from there," she said.
"As a mum it's great as well because he's easy to pick out in a crowd."
It has also become a conversation starter for her son, who Ms Bowers described as shy.
"He gets lots of comments — we'll be at random places and people just ask to have photos taken with him, they're always pointing and looking," she said.
"It's great to see him come out of his shell a little and get up on stage with people and make friends."
Ms Bower said after Mulletfest was over Jayce planned to cut and donate his hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer sufferers.
She said Jayce had already raised more than $3,300 for Kids with Cancer.
"I might have a bit of a tear when he cuts it off," Ms Bowers said.
"It's been part of him for so long."
Story by Jasmine Hines
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