Clean-shaven men during Charro Days should beware of the Order of the Brush, unless they’re willing to give to a good cause.
The Beard Posse is easily spotted. They’ll be wearing blue jeans, white shirts emblazoned with “Order of the Brush” on the back, red handkerchiefs around their necks and full beards.
And if they catch a beardless man, he’s going to jail and it’s going to cost him to get out.
But all bail money goes to benefit the Historic Brownsville Museum, which has the Order of the Brush’s original certificate from 1939 on display at the museum right now.
“Every year we raise $5,000 to $6,000,” longtime Beard Posse member Danny Loff said.
Generally, he said, they make about 20 arrests a day during Charro Days while conducting raids at different businesses and Charro Days events. Overall, the group makes probably 100 arrests throughout the week, Loff said.
The posse has been around as long as Charro Days; their certificate is signed by Charro Days founder Ken Faxon.
After trailing off some over the years, the Beard Posse really regained traction when the Sunrise Rotary Club revitalized it about six years ago, Loff said.
“In the early ’60s, you know, the guys were getting a little loco and dragging people around,” he said. “You know the old days.”
However, the modern-day posse draws Brownsville professionals into the mix, and the goal is to have a good time and raise money for the museum.
Museum Interim Executive Director Maribel Guerrero said funds raised by the Beard Posse are crucial to the museum’s mission.
“Those funds are vital to the programs we provide to the community,” she said. “They provide funding to help us keep our programs available to the community and to showcase Brownsville history through our archival collection.
“It’s something that we’ve come to depend on.”
Here’s how it works: Get-out-of-jail cards can be bought at the Historic Brownsville Museum for a $25 donation to the museum.
“If they catch you, it could be more,” Guerrero said. “They can provide an additional penalty or put you in circumstances that are, you know, um-m-m, unprecedented.”
Posse members also are known to embarrass people caught without the get-out-of-jail-free card, she said.
Oh, and don’t try to run.
“They will come and find you, and if they don’t find you they’ll stake out your place,” she said. “They’re hilarious.”
“We’re always one step ahead,” he said with a laugh.
A group of posse members at Cobblehead’s last Saturday told stories about sneaking into businesses through multiple entrances or showing up in force.
“One of the funniest ones we had is this guy who has a fake beard,” Loff said. “And when he sees the posse, he’ll put it on.”
They eventually busted that person by sneaking into his office through multiple entrances, he said.
As for group force, a person’s ability to resist can affect the outcome.
“It depends on the size of the individual,” one posse member chimed in. “One in the front and one in the back — you’re going in.”
The posse’s stories were endless and hilarious — especially the lengths some people go to avoid being arrested and thrown into the pokey.
“One time we found a guy hiding under a table,” Loff said with a laugh.
But for the Historic Brownsville Museum, the Order of the Brush provides much more than fun entertainment during Charro Days.
“I just think they are a great group of men who feel commitment to community stewardship,” Guerrero said. “We appreciate the Beard Posse and their efforts for the museum. I want to really stress how grateful and thankful we are.”
So grow those whiskers, acquire a get-out-of-jail-free card from the Historic Brownsville Museum or have some bail money because the Order of the Brush is on patrol for the beardless from Brownsville.
Mark Reagan writes for The Brownsville Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.