After claiming 22 percent of more than 500,000 online votes, Brian Sheets, a firefighter from Orlando, FL who founded a mustache-based charity, was named the American Mustache Institute’s “Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year” for 2010.Sheets outdistanced a strong group of well-deserving candidates including North Dakota Governor and U.S. Senator-elect John Hoeven, Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, documentarian and frequent McDonald’s customer Morgan Spurlock, and former professional basketball player and current Sacramento (Calif.) Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Sheets, the 2010 Goulet, is crowned

The award was announced Saturday in St. Louis at the American Mustache Institute’s annual ‘Stache Bash charity benefit which was held at Mike Shannon’s Outfield before a raucous crowd of Mustached Americans and other lesser clean-shaven attendees. The event raised money for cancers affecting men through Movember, an international charity that encourages men to grow mustaches.

The ruggedly handsome Sheets, upon being handed the Goulet Award plaque and a dapper $3 crown in recognition of winning the honor, was overwhelmed.

“Winning is a great honor for me, as well as for all the firemen who have served under the influence of the mustache,” a humbled Sheets said with tears in his eyes.  “A man without a mustache — is he really a man? I believe not, considering the command presence and extraordinary power that comes with one. And this great honor tells me my beliefs are taking me in the right direction.”

A firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), and EMT instructor for the Central Florida Fire Academy in Kissimmee, in 2010 Sheets founded Firemen with Mustaches, which builds awareness about firefighter fatalities and seeks to raise funds for the families of fallen colleagues.

With more than a half-million people weighing in, voting this year reached a record high for the three-year-old Goulet award, and Sheets clearly caught the eye of the voters.