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Story and photos by Dave Rhodes

When the dust settled around 9 PM or so at the Harris Theater in Chicago, IL on Sunday, May 29 Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016 David "Tigger" Bailey was named International Mr. Leather 2016 by IML Executive Producer and Founder Chuck Renslow. Not long befor, Andrew Bootdog Johnson announced that Erick Joseph was International Mr. Bootblack 2016.

It is notable that IML 2016 first runner-up Mr. Chicago Leather 2016 Todd Harris and second runner-up Mr. Midwest Leather 2015 Adam "Pup Vino" Henderson reside in Chicago.

59 IML contestants and four IMBB contestants vied for the coveted titles, representing the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel and Europe.

Officially, IML 2016 began on Friday, May 27, but a Roast of the stepping down IML 2015 Patrick Smith and IMBB 2015 Bamm Bamm at the Leather Archives and Museum on Thursday night, and parties and other activities started before, such as those at Touche, Leather64TEN and the Jackhammer. The host Congress Hotel was already filling up and the halls and lobby were full of hot, horny men. Women made a strong showing with probably the highest percentage in attendance in IML history.

The International Mr. Leather Opening Ceremonies at Park West saw contestants introduced in groups by country or state. Their numbers were selected on Thursday during the Contestant Orientation.

Pecs and Personality, held at Park West on Friday night gave the contestants an opportunity to share how they can react on stage as each dressed minimal wear answered questions which were related to information they supplied in the contestant. The mostly humorous questions were created by IML staff.

The weekend had so many events that it was virtually impossible to attend them all. There were the big night parties at the Congress Plaza Hotel including the San Francisco Party and Gear Blast Party on Friday night and International Bootblack Reception on Saturday night. The huge ONYX party was held off campus this year. The Chicago Hellfire Club held play parties at the club house throughout IML 2016 weekend as well as a cocktail reception on Saturday afternoon at the Congress Plaza.


Earlier on Saturday the That Puppy Thing saw a panel of several community leaders explain the puppy phenomenon. Not long after was Puppy Yoga. Off Leash: The Pup and Handler Romp was the big puppy mosh party. The vendors took note of the popularity of the puppy scene a few years ago and almost all of them had puppy paraphernalia on sale in their booths. Just about anywhere one looked at anytime of the day at the Congress Plaza and at Park West and the Harris Theater puppies were visible wearing dog masks and puppy tails.

Following tradition, the staged portion of the contest opened with an address from Chuck Renslow. He closed his statements by urging everyone to "vote Democratic, up and down the ticket, from President to Dog Catcher."

The International Mr. Bootblack contest added judges a few years ago and there were three - International Mr. Bootblack 2015 Bamm Bamm, International Ms Bootblack 2016 Meghan and Ms Alameda County Leather 2006 Joan Norry.


The Bootblacks have been judged by popular vote solely, but now that balloting among IML IMBB attendees accounts for only part of the scores. IMBB 2015 Bamm Bamm lamented on what he and many others feel is that IML treats the Bootblack contest as an aside, citing several reasons why he felt that was the case.

Bootblack stands were set up behind the escalators on the second floor of the Congress Plaza where IMBB 2016 contestants worked boots for votes Friday, Saturday and early Sunday.


Bootblack winners

International Mr. Bootblack 2016
4 Erick Joseph, Anchorage, AK

First Runner-up
3 Bootblack Beta

Second Runner-up
2 Brooklyn

Brotherhood Award
1 Fuzzybuns

International Mr. Leather 1992 Lenny Broberg and International Mr. Leather 2013 first runner-up Thib Guicherd Callin teamed up as the emcees and they were brilliant working together. Both had great senses of humor and neither denigrated any of the contestants - a class act indeed. Thib is from San Jose and Lenny is from San Francisco, both are in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A dance tribute to Chuck Renslow's late partner Dom Etienne Orejudos titled La Danse Apache En Cuir was performed by Joe LaChance and Peter Navarro and dancers. The crowd was in awe of the presentation, making no noise during the dance and a powerful applause at the end.

There was a strong tribute to the Leather Archives and Museum which will celebrate its 25th Anniversary the third weekend of September. The Centaur Motorcycle Club's Patrick Grady presented a check in the amount of $20,000 to Leather Archives Director Rick Storer and several Leather Archives notables shared moments of history from the discussion of the founding of the Leather Archives by Chuck Renslow and Tony DeBlase, the catchphrase "Located in Chicago and serving the world" by Joseph Bean, the move to the Greenview address and other milestones in Leather Archives history. The funds will be used by the Museum to preserve and provide access to Leather history and art. With this contribution, Centaur MC has donated over $60,000 to the LA&M.

The IML 2016 judges were International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, Mr. Boston Leather 2008 Joe Barlow, Mr. Northwoods 2011 Jeff Gruenberger, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2012 Derek Harley, Seattle Leather Grand Dad 2012 Jeff Henness, Women's International Leather Legacy 2015 Penelope Jones, Mr. North Florida Drummer 2000 Steve Laviolette, Secretary of Geared Ireland John O'Brien and International Master 2014 Michael Shorten. The tally masters were Great Lakes Leather Sir 2002 Don Leach and past president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of ONYX Dominion ONYX.



International Mr. Leather 2016
28 David "Tigger" Bailey, Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016, Howell, NJ.

A Massachusetts native, Tigger grew up on the east coast and attended MIT graduating with a degree in Management Science. He is currently a senior retail executive. Tigger lives in Howell, NJ with his husband Cubby and their three dogs, and is a proud Sir to his extended Leather family.


First Runner-up
53 Todd Harris, Mr. Chicago Leather 2016, Chicago, IL

At 54, 6' 210 pounds, Todd Harris is a large animal veterinarian and owner of Stonewall Construction, Inc. He's been lucky and blessed to be in the community since 1987 - and live to tell about it. Chicago native, sports fan, gear head. tequila man; Dom top, flag red, yellow, black and grey on the left.


Second Runner-up
16 Adam "Pup Vino" Henderson, Mr. Midwest Leather 2015, Chicago, IL

Adam "Pup Vino" Henderson is a Virginia native. He moved to Chicago in 2013. A Leatherman at heart, he became heavily involved in the pup community. He is a member of the Chicago Puppy Patrol, the North Star Kennel Club, BLUF Chicago and is a Titan of the Midwest. He has also volunteered at IML doing ticket sales and CLAW. He is the founder of the Midwest Kink Alliance, a group of titleholders and non-titleholders who are involved in the kink community and sharing events and keeping people informed.


Top 20 Finalists - Numerical Order

3 Conor Vaughan-Buggy, Mr. Geared Ireland 2015, Clonee, Dublin, Ireland

5 Danny Kaylor-Hawkins, Mr. DC Eagle 2016, Washington, DC

10 Tim Ball, Sydney Mr. Leather 2015/16, Neutral Bay, Australia

11 Christopher Durbin, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2016, Palm Springs, CA

12 Jeffrey Erdman, Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2016, Los Angeles, CA

15 Rob "Papa Bear" Anderson, Mr. Iowa Leather 2016, Binghamton, NY

19 Dave Hughes, Mr. Tri-State Leather 2015, Louisville/Jefferson County metro go, KY

22 Jason Black, Mr. ICON Detroit Leather 2016, Waterford, MI

30 Brett Baldwin, Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2016, Oklahoma City, OK

39 Jim Rios, Mr. San Diego Leather 2014 - 2015, San Diego, CA

41 Todd Leavitt, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2016, Arlington, VA

49 Steve Morgan, Laird Leatherman 2015, Melbourne, Australia

50 Thorsten Buhl, Mr. Leather Europe 2015, Graz, Austria

51 Jason Hall, Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2015, Philadelphia, PA

56 Codybear Elkin, Mr. San Francisco Leather 2016, San Francisco, CA

57 Q Ellis-Lee, Mr. Eagle NYC 2016, New York, NY

59 Sir Shawn Fox, Mr. Alamo City Leather 2016, Austin, TX


Remainder of Contestants

1 Tom Matt, Mr. Connecticut Leather 2016, Berlin, CT

2 Kippy Marks, Mr. Friendly 2016 SF/Bay Area, San Francisco, CA

4 Alpha DJ, Mr. Harbor Room 2015, Milwaukee, WI

6 David Saban, Isreal Mr. Leather 2015, Tel Aviv, Israel

7 Joël Royal, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2015, Long Beach, CA

8 Eric Masters, Mr. 501 Eagle 2016, Indianapolis city, IN

9 Ray Sherwin, Mr. Bolt Leather 2016, Sacramento, CA

13 Rick Boehle, Mr. CMEN Leather 2015, Burbank, CA

14 Russell Waisanen, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2016, Woodbury, MN

17 Jim Drew, Washington State Mr. Leather 2015, Seattle, WA

18 Jay Blackshire, Mister Leather Ottawa 2016, Woodlawn, ON, Canada

20 Darran Mazaika, Mr. Ramrod 2015, Fort Lauderdale, FL

21 Gregory James, Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2016, Green Bay, WI

23 Element Eclipse, Mr. Powerhouse 2016, San Francisco, CA

24 Kelvin Davis, Mr. Ohio Leather 2015, Swanton, OH

25 James Tyrcha, Mr. Leather 64TEN 2016, Chicago, IL

26 Eric Alden, Mr. New England Leather 2016, Boston, MA

27 Khalid El Bey, Leatherman of Color 2016, Washington, DC

29 Emerson Kellogg, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2016, St. Paul, MN

31 Bill Spencer, Mr. Oregon Bear 2015, Portland, OR

32 Tony Salvat, Mr. Firedancer Dallas 2014 and 2015, Houston, TX

33 Danny O'Leary, Mr. Phoenix Leather 2016, Tucson, AZ

34 Sylvain Deparpe, Mr. Leather France 2015, Migne-Auxances, France

35 Jeremy Feist, Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

36 Mark Nelson, Mr. Nebraska Leather 2016, Omaha, NE

37 Dave Barnett, Mr. GNI Leather 2015, Arlington, VA

38 Brian Mailley, Mr. Michigan Leather 2016, Royal Oak, MI

40 David Eisentraut, Mr. Queensland Leather 2015, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

42 Randal Zotigh, Mr. Route 66 Leather 2016, Oklahoma City, OK

43 Werner Hall, Bavarian Mr. Leather 2016, Munich, Bavaria, Germany

44 Daddy Rick, Mr. Compound Leather 2016, Elbert, CO

45 Tim Goodman, Mr. Louisiana Leather 2016, New Orleans, LA

46 Drake Edward Sherbert, Mr. Texas Leather 2016, Dallas, TX

47 Harry Kong, Mr. San Francisco Eagle Leather 2016, Pacifica, CA

48 Elie Darling, M. Cuir Montréal 2015 (Mr. Leather Montreal), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

52 Eli Onyx, Mr. Maryland Leather 2016, Hyattsville, MD

54 Justin Herren, Mr. Jackhammer Fetish 2015, Chicago, IL

55 Ty Portell, Mr. Missouri Leather 2016, Woodson Terrace, MO

58 Austin Epps, Mr. Austin Leather 2016, Austin, TX

The Congress Plaza Hotel played host as it did in 2015 and will in 2017. The halls, lobby and outside front of the Congress were busy at almost all hours - and the stair wells and out-of-the-way areas were occupied by those involved in extra curricular activies. There were heaps of praise for the hotel staff, complaints of elevators being stuck, door locks not always working which led to at least one room with an intruder asleep in the bed when the rightful hotel guest entered the room, toilets not flushing and bathtubs not draining properly. Many love the Congress because so much is available for those on the prowl. For many the $33 price for the dinner buffet was the last straw - people felt they were being gauged and the restaurant was empty other than for breakfast. Rumors spread by so many claiming to be in the know as far as where IML will be held in 2018. There has been no official statement as to where IML will be held two years from now.

The religious zealots were there of course. "Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) held a peaceful Christian truth outreach against the homosexual “International Mr. Leather” (IML) conference Saturday night (May 28, 2016), across the street from the Chicago’s Congress Plaza Hotel, which hosted the perversion-fest." was that organizations account. Several IML attendees walked across the street, pulled out their cellphones and took selfies with the protesters who left once they realized that they were being played. Their guilt trip did not work and once they realized it was not working, they simply left.

The Leather Market had approximately 50 vendors. Because of the layout of the Congress Plaza vendors were spread out on three floors. Every vendor with whom we talked reported strong sales. That is good because most of the time there are a few that leave disappointed. The Congress can accommodate so many due to size, but those vendors did quite well.

Leather64TEN was celebrating its 10th Anniversary and is open all hours. On Friday night after the Bear party the store was full like one would expect around Christmas.

Touche' had its own bus carrying visitors between Touche' and the Congress Plaza. There were bar events by the hour as bar manager David Boyer created a busy IML weekend schedule. Other bars and establishments around Chicago were swamped, too.

A bit of history about International Mr. Leather, excerpted from www.Wickipedia.org - "The forerunner of the competition was the 1970s 'Mr. Gold Coast' bar contest held at Chicago's Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. The 'Mr. Gold Coast' contest became one of the bar's most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (1979), and title change to International Mr. Leather.[3] The International Mister Bootblack Competition was added (1993) to the IML program.

The Leather Archives and Museum has placed IML in a trust (May 2009) with event profits to benefit the museum. [4]

IML established (July 2009) the policy that IML Leather Market participation would exclude "any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking."[5]

In 2010 IML was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame."

The massive circuit parties, IML Victory Celebration at the House of Blues on Sunday night and the Black and Blue Ball at the Sound-Bar on Monday night at drew several thousand attendees each. Noted deejays rocked the walls to their foundations and the IML and IMBB 2016 winners were introduced.

Until next year - congratulations to IML 2016 David "Tigger" Bailey and IMBB 2016 Erick Joseph.






By Vonn Tramel, Photos by Rich Stadtmiller and Muffin
IMsL Weekend 2016 the “Dirty 30" Celebration was held in San Jose, CA, April 14-17. Seven contestants competed for the titles of IMsBB and IMsL 2016, but Saturday night it was Bootblack Meghan and Lascivious
Jane who came out on top of each class.

The weekend was a culmination of a year of travel for slave Tabitha and her Master who were only separated on three trips and over 93,000 miles of travel for IMsL 2015 Sarge – travel which included Northern Alaska and the southern most tip of Africa, four continents and over 10,000 selfies.

Tabitha’s “last shine” opened the festivities, followed by Queer happy hour and the opening reception. However, Thursday night’s Seduction was again the highlight of the weekend for me. With performances by hot butches and super femmes, and of course the eternally-hot Peggy Sue. Who would choose to miss this IMsBB and IMsL travel “fun”rasier? The runway was longer, the lights were darker, and the women hotter than ever, dancing their way into the attendees' wettest dreams.

Friday was chock-full of amazing classes and intensives, receptions and hot bootblacking.

New this year was a Jamberry nail salon, hosted by IMsBB 2009 pony girl with a percentage of proceeds for the entire month of April benefiting the IMsL Foundation.

The vendor and auction spaces were open and chock full of delicious and devious devices and duds for dolly’s and Daddy’s to do with as they please.

Friday and Saturday night’s show’s were judged by a panel of firsts … the first Ms World Leather Annie Romano, first American Leather Woman Sara Humble, International Mr. Bootblack Pasken Burrel, Producer Gen 1 Sky Renfro, and Metis Black owner of the first sex toy company to mainstream silicone sex toys ensuring industry material safety, IMsL judges were joined by Head Judge IMsL 2014 Patty.

IMsBB judges were first IMsL Judy Tallwing McCarthy, International Mr. Bootblack Bamm Bamm, International Ms Bootblack 2014 Dara Bryant.

The Contest nights were simulcast to the contestant’s hometowns by The Leather Journal for IMsL and recordings of all four ballroom events will be donated to the IMsL Foundation for historical record. Friday’s show featured roll call for all four generations of contestants.

Saturday night, an announcement of all IMsL’s and IMsBB alumni was presented during the Contest Finale. The Mama's Family photo included over 100 members, including two new members: IMsL Staff member Oliver Clothes Off is now Mama’s Left Shark and Ms San Diego Leather 2016 Jae Marie is now Mama’s Cold Hands.

Saturday Night's contest featured fantasies and formality. Bubblinsugare performance as Emcee was downright sassy. Each contestant brought fantasies, which reflected their own brand of kink and desire. IMsL runner-up Aurora Lee’s musical tribute to back-alley gang-bangs and Lascivious Jane’s Victory Girl domination of Uncle Sam brought down the house.

The bootblacks spoke with a common conviction and clarity of purpose during their speeches. The Leather Archives & Museum and The Carter/Johnson Leather Library were on hand each displaying special pieces that had not been out of private collection in almost 10 years. The Carter Johnson Leather Library’s centerpiece was a Bootblack quilt with boot patches chronicling titleholder names through 2005. The quilt was acquired in 2005, during an auction. IMsL Weekend was the first time it had been seen since then.

Reuniting many titleholders with a piece of their history, each IMsL and IMsBB wore their sashes Saturday night during Alumni introduction.

Emcees Tristan Taormino and Bubblinsugare kept the stage alive throughout the weekend, each with their own special brand of wit, snark and sexy stamina.

Hospitality was hoppin’ as usual and was hosted by Portland Bad Girls, SFgoL, ACLC and Mama’s Family, The Exiles, The Canadian’s Bevies with Beavers, Dragon Tear Tribe hosting the Cigars and Boots Social on Saturday Night, a Disney Social hosted by The Little Scouts, and the Pajama Party in lieu of the traditional Afterglow party. Bootblack Scout was on hand with pancakes and peanut butter to supplement a wonderful continental Saturday morning spread during the SFgoL’s Brunch. Mama’s family pinning’s and Volunon patching by Rich during which my partner PuP~ and I were patched by Rich Stadtmiller during the ACLC and Mama’s family reception.

Master George and slave bren also took the opportunity to appoint Teagan as the 2016 Southern California Leather Bootblack during Mama’s reception.

Sunday morning, Mama Vi’s keynote was told in storyteller fashion. With her “grand children” gathered at her feet. She spoke about the history present in the room, giving us a taste, but skillfully, leaving us wanting to know more about each of the hero’s she spoke of. After her keynote, the applause continued until Emcee Tristan Taromino called her back to the stage and she pulled a tearful Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt with her, for a full 120 seconds of thunderous applause for the two women.

Sunday afternoon I was lucky enough to be the only press at the meet the titleholders press conference, scoring some much unexpected one-on-one time.

Meghan hopes to continue working to elevate Bootblack status and Jane will continue to bring the men’s, women’s and queer communities together. Meghan looks forward to traveling outside the US and meeting bootblacks from other countries and Jane wants to learn more about bootblacking and the care of her Leathers. Something tells me this dynamic duo will make some memorable moments and bring some great stories to share next April 20-24 in San Jose, CA.

Read more about this years contestants, winners, parties and see video highlights online at https://www.theleatherjournal.com/home/imsl-news





The Leather Journal welcomes our readers to our annual preview of the International Mr. Leather contestants. There are 52 who made it by our latest deadline and a couple more that did not make it. Word had it that byt the end of April that there would be at least 60 men

Enjoy - and select your favorite.

If you are going to International Mr. Leather make note of your favorite. Maybe you will met him and he will turn out to be everything you hoped he would be. Hands off for the weekend because each man is going to have what might be the busiest weekend of his life.

The IML 2016 judges are International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, Mr. Boston Leather 2008 Joe Barlow, Mr. Northwoods 2011 Jeff Gruenberger, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2012 Derek Harley, Seattle Leather Grand Dad 2012 Jeff Henness, Women's International Leather Legacy 2015 Penelope Jones, Mr. North Florida Drummer 2000 Steve Laviolette. Secretary of Geared Ireland John O'Brien and International Master 2014 Michael Shorten.

The tally masters for IML 2016 are Great Lakes Leather Sir 2002 Don Leach and past president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of ONYX Dominion ONYX.

International Mr. Leather 2016 will be held Friday, May 27 through Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Chicago, IL. The Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL will be the host hotel for IML 2016.

For complete bios and photos of the judges and tally masters, and weekend information go to http://www.imrl.com

It was announced that Tyesha Nicole Best will be the social media coordinator for International Mr. Leather 2016.


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International Mr. Leather 2016 Contestant bios and photos


Mr. Alamo City Leather 2016 Shawn Fox

Shawn Fox is a California transplant who is now an Austin resident. His involvement in the Leather and BDSM community spans 16 years. He’s a founding member and current president of GULP, a gear and fetish group in Austin and a member of Discipline Corp for 12 years. Fox has dedicated himself to educating people about many varieties of kinks and is dedicated to educating and mentoring the next generation of Leather men and women.


Bavarian Mr. Leather 2016 Werner Hall

Born and raised in Germany. I was elected on February 25th, during the famous Munich Starkbierfest to the Bavarian Mr. Leather 2016, by the members of the MLC - Munich and representing the fetish and Leather community of Bavaria, since that moment. My key sentence for my year as the title holder is "Together we are powerful" so therefore I want to bring the power of the complete LGBTIQ community together to one point, that we can fight together for our rights. Photo by Taco D. Smit.


Mr. Bolt Leather 2016 Ray Sherwin

Ray Sherwin joined the Leather Community more than a decade ago. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, and is currently working towards a Nursing degree. Ray resides in Sacramento, CA. Ray was first introduced into the Leather Community as the boy of two amazing Leathermen, Earl Grist and Jake Andersen. He was quickly to become intimate with Triad/Polyamorous Relationships, Motorcycle Clubs, Gear, Fetishes, Boots, Cigars, and Leather Families/Tribes. Photo by Robert Weaver.


Mr. Chicago Leather Todd Harris

I am 54, 6' 210 pounds, a large animal veterinarian and owner of Stonewall Construction, Inc. Been lucky and blessed to be in the community since 1987 - and live to tell about it. Chicago native, sports fan, gear head, tequila man; Dom top, flag red, yellow, black and grey on the left. Photo by Colin Davis.


Mr. CMEN Leather 2015 Rick Boehle

Rick Boehle, from Los Angeles, California, won the title of Mr. CMEN Leather 2015 at CMEN's West Coast Gathering in Malibu on September 10. Rick has actively volunteered as part of West Coast Gathering leadership for the last decade. He is looking forward to representing CMEN at local Leather community events.


Viola M Johnson giving the keynote address at the 30th Anniversary of the International Ms. Leather Contest Victory Brunch. Her topic was "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants".  Gramma Vi introduced a new generation to those that came before, who were present with them ... in that moment.