As the clippers started buzzing his hair off, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard said mournfully, "Goodbye." Sitting in the next barber chair was Pinellas County Commissioner Ronnie Duncan, whose eyes widened as a hairstylist began to shear him like a sheep.
Politicians can be uptight, and economic times are tough. So Hibbard and Duncan each got a Rayhawk on Wednesday in a lighthearted show of support for the Tampa Bay Rays and to raise money for a local charity.
And we're not talking about fake Rayhawks — a bunch of moussed-up hair shaped like a fan. We're talking real Mohawks, died blue.
The two Republicans bantered back and forth as cosmetology students at the Pinellas Technical Education Center took the clippers to them.
"I look like a squirrel," said a grinning Hibbard, who envisioned his Mohawk photo showing up on the brochures of future political opponents: Do you trust this man?
"Is that glue you're using?" Duncan asked his stylist as his wife and young children watched with glee.
The two raised $2,500 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County. Each collected donations through the nonprofit's Web site. The one who collected the most was to be spared the clippers. Hibbard raised slightly more money, but both men went through with it.
They called out St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and WFLA-AM 970 radio host Jack Harris for not taking their challenge. The whole thing started weeks ago on Harris' radio show when Hibbard said that if the Rays made it to the World Series, he'd get a Mohawk if Harris would, too.
"Mayor Rick Baker says his mother wouldn't let him get a Rayhawk," Duncan said in a tone of mock disbelief. "Jack Harris wussed out."
After the clippers came the blue dye. Finally the two stood up, checked out their new 'dos in a mirror, shook hands and said in unison: "Go Rays!"
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.