2014 Bracket of Steez: Curly-white wigs, letter jackets and an ultrasound. Whoa.

Upsets, underdogs and some of the most stylish clothing you’ll ever see in a bracket. It’s time for Bracket of Steez 2014, and this year’s grouping looks as strong as ever.

The annual Yooper Steez competition got started Monday as the 32 competitors were announced and put into action, including many things you’d never expect to see: Curly-white wigs, letter jackets and an ultrasound. Whoa.

Through the first round of action, it’s quite obvious some favorites have surfaced, including Houghton Region’s fish-eye lens, lightning bolt-catching selfie by Stef P. in South Africa, Claire K.’s beautiful shot from Dead Horse Point, Utah in Ironwood Region, Mackinac Region’s rainbow suspenders and the bright pink cross fit shot from the Escanaba Region.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support of my friends, family, cross fit community and fellow Yoopers,” said Alyse H., who got by skiing Rachel in the first round, and has a tough second round matchup against Terry S. “I think I bring something unique to the competition with my CrossFit-inspired picture. Yooper women are known for being strong, and I think my photo depicts that. I think I have a shot.”

Other day one winners from the Esky region included Hillary Vamstad, who’s photo comes from Rome, and Steve Timble, who pulled off a huge round one upset over thought-to-be favorite Erin G. The upset was especially surprising as Timble positioned himself in front of non-U.P. Lake Superior Ice Caves. The shot could end up setting up a Wisconsin-on-Wisconsin regional title.

In second-round action in the Mackinaw Region, we’ll have two photos from California as Kevin C. and Carlee M. both earned victories, both of which are considered upsets by most experts, especially with matching letter jackets involved in one of the matchups. The favorites won the region’s other first-round matchups as PATTYFOGGRPH won comfortably repping rainbow suspenders, and Patrice S.’s super flannel selfie defeated the only Team Finn shirt to enter the competition.

It was a disappointing run for Cole P. in the Ironwood Region. L.R. Larson, who submitted a photo taken in downstate Michigan, routed him in the opening round.

“I was honored to be a part of this tough matchup, and proud to represent the Yoop everywhere I go,” Cole said. “I look forward to next year’s competition, to once again see all the great places Yoopers have conquered.”

Elsewhere in the Ironwood region, Joel Fraki, Pants less Lauren K. and traveling Claire K. all got first-round victories.

In what might be the deepest region from top to bottom, it was four matchups of pairs vs. singles, and the only single that survived? Stef P., who submitted the bracket’s only shot from the continent of African. She’ll have to defeat two more pairs of Steezed-out Yoopers to win the region, including a second-round matchup against Kristin J. The other two first round winners were Minneapolis’ Michelle and Eric C. in a classic photo reproduction and Jane K., who’s joyful photo was shot right on top of Lake Superior… while wearing Lake Superior.

Rock the vote today folks, and enjoy March Madness, the best time of the year.

Suggested reading: Babcock’s 2013 bracketology analysis

Michael H. Babcock is Yooper Steez’s senior bracketologists. His writing and opinions come from years of experience in the field. Aside from being an expert in U.P. shirt brackets, Michael is a marketing professional, writer and freelancer in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

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