It was a moment of shear joy, at least for everyone in the room except Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.
After two weeks of highly publicized anticipation, Strimling finally made good on a Super Bowl LII bet and parted ways with his impeccably manicured salt-and-pepper mane.
Strimling’s well-coifed wave was shaved in front of a cheering crowd of about 250 students at Presumpscot Elementary School on Friday afternoon. Also in attendance was Lance Prator, the mayor of Portland, Pennsylvania, a borough of less than 600 people, who made the bet with Strimling.
“Does it look good now?” Strimling shouted. “Keep going! … yeah!”
Strimling and Prator, who are both New York Giants fans, made a wager on the outcome of Super Bowl LII, after the mayors of Bangor in their respective states did the same. Strimling bet on the New England Patriots, while Prator took the Eagles, who prevailed, 41-33.
It was Prator’s idea to wager their hair, in addition to local goods. Strimling later found out that Prator’s hairline is already receding and suggested it wasn’t a fair bet. But he made good on his promise anyway.
In addition to witnessing Strimling lose his hair, Prator will also receive roughly $200 worth of local food and alcohol donated by local businesses. Shipyard Brewing Co. donated a case of its Export ale; Rising Tide Brewing donated four-packs of IPA Soundings and Back Cove Pilsner; Hardshore Distilling Co. donated a bottle of gin; and Ready Seafood Co. plans to ship six lobster to Pennsylvania next week.
Strimling said that Prator brought him a case of Yuengling beer, which is brewed in Pennsylvania.
Last Friday, Strimling decided to turn an otherwise embarrassing moment into a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.
The move generated a week of positive press for the mayor. But it’s unclear whether that goodwill will last, keeping him a cut above the political fray in Portland City Hall, or quickly recede.
This story will be updated.
Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at: