Iowa football’s Paulsen brothers lose their locks at Dance Marathon

UI football players and other students cut their hair ‘for the kids’ at Dance Marathon.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Landan (left) and Levi Paulsen (right) get a trim during Dance Marathon 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, February 2, 2019. After Landan’s girlfriend Alexis Henry raised over $10,000 for the Big Event, the twins committed to losing their locks.

Andy Mitchell, News Reporter

As the clock struck 4 a.m., the razors and scissors came out for the tradition of Dance Marathon’s “Short Hair, Don’t Care” event. Hawkeyes waved goodbye to their heads full of hair for a good cause.

Eighteen students took to the main stage to have their hair cut in front of a cheering crowd. The stylists from local business Thompson and Company prepared them backstage by tying participants’ hair into ponytails.

Among the students were University of Iowa football players Levi and Landan Paulsen, twin brothers distinguished by their long hair and thick beards. The brothers were asked to participate in this event last year, but their hair did not reach the length requirements. Over the summer, the brothers raised more than $15,000 for Dance Marathon, and they were set to donate their hair.

“It’s going to be a humbling experience,” Levi said before taking the stage. “It’s our last year at the university and we raised a lot of money for a good cause.”

Wyatt Dlouhy
Landan (left) and Levi Paulsen (right) hold up their hair during Dance Marathon 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. After Landon’s girlfriend Alexis Henry raised more than $10,000 for the Big Event, the twins committed to losing their locks.

Landan said he felt nervous because of how he felt attached to his hair over the years.

“We haven’t seen what’s under there in four years,” Landan said.

After their manes were trimmed on the stage, Levi said it felt like walking outside during the winter without a shirt on.

While some, like the brothers, just got haircuts, others parted with all of their hair. Simeon Smith, Nick Hulsing, and Ammon Smith were among those who left the stage with shaved heads. They said they chose to shave off all of their hair to show solidarity with kids without hair. All three had their heads shaved in their previous years at Dance Marathon.

Simeon said he was a fellow survivor of a medical condition that cost him his hair.

“It’s OK to not have it,” he said.

Backstage, students with fresh cuts shared their excitement with each other and posed for photos while holding their locks or showing off their shaved heads.

For the last four years, Kayla and Bobby Thompson, the owners of Thompson and Company, brought teams of their stylists to Dance Marathon for the hair cutting and shaving.

“Just being involved in the community and involved with the kids at the hospital and at the university having the passion and drive to put this much work into something so special is awesome to be a part of,” Kayla said.

Wyatt Dlouhy
A Thompson and Co employee sweeps up hair during Dance Marathon 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.

UI senior Olivia Gunn, who organized this year’s “Short Hair, Don’t Care” event, said it is a simple, unique, and physical way of giving back to the community.

“We’re all about the fundraising and definitely drives is what we do every year,” Gunn said. “But this is just kind of an extra thing, an event that makes it really special.”

After the main stage event, the stylists set up in the River Room of the Iowa Memorial Union to take more donations.