PARK RAPIDS, Minn. — Joe Grisamore is a patient man. He’s been growing his hair out for six years, and as of Sept. 20, he hopes he smashed the record for the tallest full Mohican mohawk in the world.

Since November 2008, the current record holder has been another American, Eric Hahn of Omaha, Neb. His mohawk measured 27 inches.

Grisamore’s 'do reached 42 inches. It took about two hours, a couple of foot stools, several assistants and less than one full can of göt2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray.

Grisamore teamed up with Kay Jettman at Family Hair Affair in Park Rapids. Jettman has been a professional hairstylist for 30 years.

They made three practice runs before Friday’s official attempt.

“Joe doesn’t even cry when I pull his hair anymore,” Jettman joked.

Initially, they tried fanning his hair out while he laid on the floor. “Then, of course, I was trying to make it pretty,” she said.

Once they realized it didn’t have to be sleek, “that’s when we decided to backcomb it,” Jettman said. “We were trying to do it with just the product. Once we figured that out, it just got better every time.”

The two-hour process included washing, drying and straightening Joe's tresses before hiking it up into a record-breaking Mohawk.
The two-hour process included washing, drying and straightening Joe's tresses before hiking it up into a record-breaking Mohawk. Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

On the second attempt, they bought six cans of Rave hairspray. It proved too wet, and the mohawk wouldn’t hold. The third try worked like a charm, staying upright for 50 minutes.

According to Guinness World Record rules, nothing may support the mohawk other than hair styling products.

Joe originally stumbled across the idea in 2006. That year, he attempted to set a record for the tallest mohawk spike, but didn’t meet Guinness' newly established official guidelines.

“And then I don’t like to fail – not really. It’s been in the back of my mind because I failed. But it’s just for fun,” he said.

Jettmand and Grisamore discovered that teasing, or backcombing, the hair helped support the Mohawk.
Jettmand and Grisamore discovered that teasing, or backcombing, the hair helped support the Mohawk. Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

By 2013, Joe’s hair was approximately 6 feet long when he married Laura, who owns Lauralee Photography Studio.

“He looked like Cousin Itt when he had it all out,” Laura recalled. “It would go all the way to the ground because he is 6 foot.”

It took two hours to wash, and a lot of conditioner, she said.

Unfortunately, salt water from their honeymoon in Aruba significantly damaged the hair. When he returned to Minnesota, he had to shave his head.

For six long years, Joe has regrown his dark tresses.

When he first approached Jettman about the project, she said she was not confident it could be done.

“Oh, no. I even said to him, ‘I think we need to cut some’ because his ends were kind of thin. He said, ‘Let’s try with every inch of it, just see if it will work,’” Jettman recalled, telling Joe he could cut off 8 inches and still beat the world record.

After getting the mohawk to stand up independently, Jettman said she knew they could accomplish it. And they didn’t trim anything.

On this final run, Jettman washed, dried and straightened Joe’s hair. Layer by layer, she teased it to create a kind of “webbing,” particularly at the base of the Mohawk.

“It’s all about the base,” Joe said.

Jettman discovered that backcombing Joe's hair created a "webbing" that could support the Mohawk.
Jettman discovered that backcombing Joe's hair created a "webbing" that could support the Mohawk. Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Laura and mom Katy Grisamore stood on foot stools, holding hair strands sky-high while Jettman generously administered hairspray.

The measuring had to be carried out on one occasion by a qualified medical practitioner – in this case, it was Dr. Todd Officer, a 6-foot-tall family doctor at Essentia Health Clinic.

Hairstylist Kay Jettman blasts Joe Grisamore's 42-inch Mohican mohawk, with the assistance of wife Laura Grisamore, at left, and mom Katy Grisamore.
Hairstylist Kay Jettman blasts Joe Grisamore's 42-inch Mohican mohawk, with the assistance of wife Laura Grisamore, at left, and mom Katy Grisamore. Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

The mohawk was measured at the top, crown and nape three times. The average of three measurements will become the accepted figure.

Park Rapids City Planner Andrew Mack and Park Rapids Police Officer Joe Rittgers served as the two independent witnesses.

“It’s the most unusual thing I’ve done in my entire career as a city official,” Mack commented.

Dr. Todd Officer took the official measurements, while a friend and Wayne Eimers recorded the entire affair, as required by Guinness World Records.
Dr. Todd Officer took the official measurements, while a friend and Wayne Eimers recorded the entire affair, as required by Guinness World Records. Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

“I feel like I gave birth to a mohawk,” Jettman said.

All the documentation – the video recording, photos, media article, signed paperwork, a cover letter and Joe’s birth certificate – will be submitted to Guinness World Records. According to www.guinnessworldrecords.com, the evidence will be reviewed, which can take up to 12 weeks.

“I’m excited that it’s over. It was super fun. It’s a goofy thing, it’s just for fun,” he said. “Maybe we’ll bring the title to Park Rapids, Minnesota.”

He was appreciative of everyone’s help, especially Jettman’s.

And Joe won’t be cutting his locks anytime soon.

“If I give it another year, I can go for the other world record, too,” he said.

His next goal: A repeat try for the tallest mohawk spike. That current record – 4 feet – has belonged to Kazuhiro Watanabe of Tokyo, Japan since April 2014.