cityoftriumphs  International Mr. Leather turned thirty this past week. What a changed look this Granddaddy of leather contests has taken. Although the 51 contestants this year professed their love of leather, and what it stood for, several new descriptive word have been added to the leather vocabulary.

The term “old guard” has been pushed back to the rear of the definition book of leather terminology. Replaced with words like leather fetish, tribes, Kink and youth. Hardcore leather men as they were once called, are becoming extinct. Once upon a time there were definitions and  codes the leather man and those who wanted to be, followed nearly religiously.. Past leather men and leather titleholders almost took a vow, and had an agenda which was followed during their entire title year. Their Character and commitment, made anyone proud to think and say the titled leather man represented them.

For many hardcore leather men attending IML 30, thoughts and questions ranged from; is this a costume party? to, what has cartoon characters and spider man dress ups have in common with leather? The curious came in droves and departed with their mouths hanging open. Hardcore leather men, spent most of the weekend shaking their head and ‘ trying to remember if ever in their life had they ever dressed like who they were looking at. Leather has taken on a completely new look with the youth of today. Our future leather leaders will have their work cut out for them in attempting to bridge the gap from yesteryear to the future.

The contest went on as scheduled. It was very obvious to this observer that some contestants were missing guidance, mentoring, and fashion critique…What a shame that some of the sponsors of those contestants spent little if any ‘ time with their men. On the other hand, when mentoring and advice was offered from  former titleholders to some contestants, and the offer was refused, then there is no one to blame but themselves.

On May 25, 2008, in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hyatt, a long overdue spell was finally broken. A person of color was selected as International Mr Leather 2008. Gary Iriza, Mr Palm Springs Leather grabbed the title. A truly handsome young Latino with a beautiful smile. Gary hails from Venezuela. the last person of color to attain the title of IML was 17 years ago when D Cannon, IML 1991 was selected. Incidentally he was a title holder from Palm Springs, CA.

First Runner up honors went to Bob Firth-Tessier, M Cuir Montreal 2008. Second runner up was Scott Melton, Mr. Ramrod 2007, Ft Lauderdale, FL.

The New International Bootblack  2008 is Bootdog, from Oakland, CA.

The top twenty were: Ross Wood, Mr Los Angeles Leather, Ron Balos, Mr SF Leather, Kristopher DeBlase, Mr MD Leather, Donald Palmore, Mr. Mid States Leather, Scott Mellon, Mr Ramrod Leather, Ft Lauderdale, Brian Heinen, Juan Ramon Alfaro, Mr. Texas Leather, Kenneth Anthony Mr Cellblock, Phoenix, Jake Anderson, Mr Bolt Lthr, Sacramento, CA Mike Anderson,Mr Calgary Eagle, Canada, Martin Grimm, Bavarian Mr Leather, Munich, Richard Hubley, Mr. Ottawa Leather, Canada, Joe Barlow, Mr Boston Leather, Lee Butler Mr San Diego Leather, Alexander Rose-Grein, Mr. Leather Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bob Firth-Tessier, Mr Cuir Montreal Canada, C.J. Smith Mr Club XS, York,PA Russ Woolmore, Mr Hoist Leather, London, Gary Iriza, Mr. Palm Springs Leather, Paul Stagg, Mr Leather UK.

Although the attendance at IML was very high, and I am sure the vendor market cash registers were humming a money, money, money tune, it was the shocked look on many newbies faces, at the cost of things at that hotel like food and drinks….With the nations economy being in the sad state of affairs that it is in, IML has become a very expensive weekend…However a great time was had by all who attended. Next year the IML host hotel will move to a new location. The Chicago Hilton will be the new location. rumored to be the largest hotel in the Windy City. Start saving your coins now.


Imagine holding a leather contest, with only one contestant. No sound system so not one person could hear what was being said. Imagine how surprised the outgoing titleholder was when he was not even asked to be a judge. He was given 10 min to say Adios… The new owner of that Intl contest has vowed that will never happen again.

When are those khaki, cotton, denim, and sometimes leather kilts ever going to go out of style? Also known as San Francisco Brunch skirts.Most of the ones who buy them shouldn’t and the ones who should don’t. Surprised leather culottes aren’t all the rage.

Imagine wanting to be such a part of Mama’s Family, that you had your own brass pin made and had the nerve to wear it at a function that Mama attended. Do you not think she would know who she has given pins to? Members of her family sure do. Is that ballsy or stupid or both?

To that former titleholder in a large east coast city….Remember when you hold a fundraiser and do not give the money to the organization for which you advertised it was intended for several months, don’t be surprised if members of your community will ever be inclined to donate another dime to you. Especially when the announced amount raised was far less than what was finally received…

Will there be a boycott by several former ILSb titleholders when the contest debuts in the city by the Golden Gate later this year? New rules and policies have some people highly upset.

In Chicago the popular well attended Onyx party caught some people by surprise this year, when they discovered there was a cover charge to attend this year. Things are tight all over so it seems, but it would have been nice to have put that on the posters and flyers that were out and about.

Say what you will, however one thing that has not changed at IML regarding competing contestants. The crowd loves a contestant who has gone to the GYM and who has a toned defined body. I am positive the judges took note as well. Hint, hint those who are considering becoming a part of the class of 2009 should take note. You might want to invest $3.95 in a can of boot polish also.

The Wicked Witch……..


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