When the dust settled at the Harris Theater in Chicago, IL on Sunday night, May 24 Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015 Patrick Smith was chosen to be International Mr. Leather 2015 from a field of 52 contestants and Bamm Bamm was best of six competitors in becoming International Mr. Bootblack 2015.
IML 2015 first runner-up was Mr. Ireland Leather Kevin Murphy and second runner-up was Mr. Tri-State Leather Brian Donner. IMBB first runner-up was Bootblack Zach from Cleveland, OH and second runner-up was Brooklyn from Dallas, TX. The contestants chose 13 from Queensland, Australia to receive the Brotherhood Award.
To see the IML 2015 Photo Gallery scroll down and then click on the link.
The Congress Hotel, site of IML for several years during the 1990s, was the host hotel with several others handling the overflow. While some loved the hotel because a lot of sleaze play could go on, its near-proximity to cultural attractions and the beautiful park in front with Lake Michigan in the background, many others were not amused at being stuck in defunct elevators or waiting for them as well as cold water for showers. They changed the curtains and painted a few walls since the 1990s - so it appeared. Their computerized technology was up to speed and we never heard one kvetch about WiFi.
For only the second time in the 37-year history of IML a collection from the audience was raised, this time for the Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian non-profit organization which rescues GLBT people from countries and situations where their lives are in danger. At least $4,200 was collected. The other time was to help pay for the down payment on the Leather Archives and Museum.
International Mr. Leather 2014 Ramien Pierre's step down speech. Photo by Dave Rhodes
International Mr. Leather 1992 Lenny Broberg was the emcee for IML 2015 and was he ever smooth. It does not seem that there was even one glitch in the three nights of the contest that caused a delay. All three shows, Opening Ceremonies on Friday and Pecs and Personality on Saturday at Park West, and the Contest on Sunday, moved at lightening speed. The Voice of IML or "voice of God" was Jamie Krohn. International Mr. Leather 2014 Ramien Pierre gave his rousing stpe down speech during the Opening Ceremonies.
As with IML tradition, the contest evening started with an address to the crowd by IML founder and Executive Producer Chuck Renslow. Their was no featured entertainers and no one we came across complained. The contest itself provided enough of that. With technology of today, tally masters Danny Tamez and Don Leach had the scores added up pronto.
All 52 contestants were introduced on stage then the judges were presented before the Top 20 Finalists were announced by past IML titleholders Joe Gallagher, Larry Everett and Mike Gerle. The tension mounted as it came to naming the 20th man to advance to the Finals and the announcer paused to ad to the suspense. The last one named was Mr. Palm Springs Leather Clifton Tatum.
It was down to business as the 90-second Speech and Physique categories proceeded. The speeches, almost all of them, were top notch with two garnering long standing ovations. Mr. Ireland Leather hit the first home run with the audience when he proposed to his partner Robert on stage. Only the day before, the people passed same sex marriage by popular vote, becoming the first nation to do so by popular vote. Robert said "yes."
The second and perhaps the longest ovation was for Mr. Phoenix Leather Pup Tugger. He reveled in his feminine nature and stood up to the notion that all Leathermen have to be masculine. He was loud and proud and people ate it up. It seemed that every segment of the community was on their feet wildly cheering. If there was a dry eye in the house it would have been hard to find. There was some loud booing from some who disapproved of Tugger's presentation.
Not receiving a standing ovation, but who did receive strong applause, was Mr. SA Learther Herman Groenewald. His humor was great during his speech and question om Sunday and also during Pecs and personality. His wit, warmth and sexy accent made him a charmer. He is the oldest man to ever compete at International Mr. Leather and finished among the Top 20 Finalists.
Three contestants had their mothers in attendance. The winner, International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, had his mother and sisters accompany him on stage after he won. IML is becoming a family affair.
During his address for the Leather Archives and Museum, Rick Storer noted that four protesters carrying hate signs in front on Friday were met by locals who basically ran them off. One woman with a baby in a stroller really told the protesters off. This was the first time that the Leather Archives had ever been picketed by protesters.
IML 2015 Top 20 Finalists
International Mr. Leather 2015
Patrick Smith - Mr. los angeles Leather 2015, los angeles, CA
Kevin Murphy - Mr. Leather Ireland 2015, Geared Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Brian Donner - Mr. TriState Leather 2014, Cincinnati, OH
4. Greg Bearskin - Mr. Leather UK, London, United Kingdom
5. Pup Tugger - Mr. Phoenix Leather 2015, Phoenix, AZ
6. Dan Ronneberg - Mr. DC Eagle 2015, Washington, DC
7. Trevor Black - Mr. San Francisco Leather 2015, San Francisco, CA
8. Clifton Tatum - Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015, Palm Springs, CA
9. Matthew Birkhoff - Mr. Big Easy Leather 2015, New Orleans, LA
10. Bas Stronks - Mr. Hoist 2015, London, United Kingdom
11. Andreas Moore - Bavarian Mister Leather 2015, Munich, Germany
12. Brett Murden - Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2015, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
13. Ren Rushold - Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2015, Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis, MN
14. Daniel DeLage - Mr. Powerhouse Leather 2015, San Francisco, CA
15. Herman Groenewald - Mr. SA Leather 2015, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
16. Rob Kreisinger Denk - Mr. Iowa Leather 2015, Des Moines, IA
17. Luis Tipantasig - Mr. Chicago Leather 2015, Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
18. Greg King - Mr. Maryland Leather 2015, Baltimore, MD
19. Arnaud Amsterdam - Mr. Leather Europe 2014, Amsterdam, North-Holland, The Netherlands
20. Alex Ruiz - Mr. Leather Chile 2014, Santiago, Chile
The judges who made the decisions were International Mr. Leather 2014 Ramien Pierre; Mr. Cellblock Phoenix Leather 2008 Kenneth Anthony; Secretary of ECMC Daniel Dumont from Brussels, Belgium; owner of Northbound Leather George Giaouris, Toronto, Canada; Chairman of Mid Atlantic Leather Patrick Grady; teacher and activist Midori; Mr. North Florida Drummer 2000 Master Bruce Ross; Great Lakes Bootblack 2007 Riley Johnson and Mr. Chicago Leather 2005 Jeff Willoughby.
International Mr. Bootblack 2015 contestants
1. Bamm Bamm - Phoenix, AZ
2. Bootblack Zach - Cleveland, OH
3. Astro - Louisville, KY
4. Brooklyn - Dallas, TX
5. 13 - Queensland, Australia
6. Fuzzybuns - Cathedral City, CA
The judges for the 23rd International Mr. Bootblack Competition were International Mr. Bootblack 2014 Scout, International Ms Bootblack 2015 slave tabitha arie and Daddy Tony.
An introductory slide show gave a brief view of ICBB contests from the past and contest founder Harry Shattuck was recognized. ICBB producer Bootdog Johnson announced the winners.
2015 International Mr. Leather Contestants
1. Laney Ballard - Mr. Eagle NYC 2015
2. Pup Tank - Mr. Alamo City Leather 2015
3. Rob Kreisinger Denk - Mr. Iowa Leather 2015
4. Steve Bianchi - Mr. Ohio Leather 2014
5. Clifton Tatum - Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015
6. Will Boyd‐Bohaczek - Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2015
7. Ren Rushold - Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2015
8. Keven Allen - Mr. Leather Ottawa 2015
9. Erik Taylo - Washington State Mr. Leather 2014
10. Jeffrey Donnell Williams - Mr. SECC Leather 2015
11. Dalton Flint II - Mr. New England Leather 2015
12. Andreas Moore - Bavarian Mister Leather 2015
13. Woodie Barnes‐McWhirter - Mr. CODE Florida 2014
14. Arnaud Amsterdam - Mr. Leather Europe 2014
15. William Nabors - Mr. Camp Mars Leather 2015
16. Brian Donner - Mr. TriState Leather 2014
17. Herman Groenewald - Mr. SA Leather 2015
18. Greg King - Mr. Maryland Leather 2015
19. Scott "Big Red" MacLaren
20. Al Parso‐York - Mr. Alameda County Leather 2014
21. Dennis Woods - Mr. CMEN Leather
22. Daddy Dave - Mr. Mid‐Atlantic Leather 2015
23. Woody Stiner - Mr. Prime Choice 2014
24. Daniel DeLage - Mr. Powerhouse Leather 2015
25. Matthew Birkhoff - Mr. Big Easy Leather 2015
26. Michael Pacas - Mr. Leather 64TEN Chicago
27. Bas Stronks - Mr. Hoist 2015
28. Josh Fortuna - Mr. Michigan Leather 2015
29. Thomas Fincannon - Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015
30. Doug Dick - Mr. Long Beach Leather 2014
31. Steven Patton - Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2015
32. Jay Johnson - Mr. Midwest Leather 2014
33. Jason Ashford - Mr. Louisiana Leather 2015
34. Alex Ruiz - Mr. Leather Chile 2014
35. Luis Tipantasig - Mr. Chicago Leather 2015
36. Greg Bearskin - Mr. Leather UK
37. John Skopoes - Mr. GNI Leather 2014
38. Richard Ziese - Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2015
39. Patrick Smith - Mr. los angeles Leather 2015
41 Miles "Milo" McDonald - Mr. 501 Eagle 2015
42 Mark "BigDaddy" Hurte - Mr. Bluegrass Leather 2015
43 Trevor Black - Mr. San Francisco Leather 2015
44 Mister Sir Steven - Mr. Oregon State Leather 2014
45 Frank O'Brien - Mr. Quench Leather FL
46 Pup Tugger - Mr. Phoenix Leather 2015
47 Brett Murden - Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2015
48 Eli Correa - Mr. San Diego Leather 2013
49 Dan Ronneberg - Mr. DC Eagle 2015
50 Russell McDaris - Mr. Heartland Leather 2015
51 Max Mackenzie - Mr. Queensland Leather 2014
52 Andy Struckhoff - Mr. Missouri Leather 2015
In the early hours of Monday morning word went around with the news that Sir Greg Slaven had committed suicide after arriving home from International Mr. Leather. Slave held the International Mr. Olympus Leather 2012 and Mr. 501 Eagle 2014 titles. Sir Greg was at IML and so many people remembered seeing him only a few hours earlier. The news was doubly hard on the IML Class of 2014 because another contestant from then, Mr. Ottawa Leather Jon Nizzy, took his life last year.
A roast for International Mr. Leather 2014 Ramien Pierre and International Mr. Bootblack Scout was held on Thursday night, May 21 archives and Museum. The roast was emceed by International Ms Leather 2014 Patty.
The IML Leather Market covered two floors of the Congress hotel and several rooms. Approximately 17,000 people made their way through Friday through Monday. There was approximately 50 vendors ranging from an Authors' Table to Leather Werks of Fort Lauderdale.
Large sponsored parties at the Congress Hotel were the San Francisco Party on Friday night and the ONYX Party on Saturday night. There was exactly no room to move in the close quarters each party had and many did not get in and enjoyed the music in the hall nearby. The music was loud enough in the hall and no one appeared disappointed - they just had fun until the last drink was served.
The Chicago Hellfire Club held their cocktail party on Saturday and hosted several play parties at their clubhouse during the weekend. The Centaur Motorcycle Club had their party on Sunday morning where member Patrick Grady was pinned into Mama's Family as Mama's Leather Centaur by Dave Rhodes.
Touche', the Jackhammer and Leather 64TEN Chicago were busy all weekend including Monday up north not far from the Leather Archives and Museum. The Leather 64TEN Chicago store was open all hours for several days.
We could go on and on about the many parties and socials. There are far more kinksters who attend IML events without going to the contest. It's been that way since the early years at the Congress Hotel.
Play parties held at the Congress Hotel included Woof Camp Full Circle for pups and handlers which was a winner.
The Leather Archives and Museum President's reception at the Congress Hotel and a CLAW Nation Silent Auction benefit gave the Leather Archives high visibility. The Leather Archives also had a huge exhibit in the IML Leather Market.
The big dance-style parties, the IML Victory Celebration at the House of Blues on Sunday night following the contest and the Black and Blue Ball at Sound Bar on Monday night, drew their usual huge crowds. The IML 2015 winners were introduced on stage at the House of Blues on Sunday night.
IML 2015 weekend was full of the usual debauchery including official and unofficial parties, a roast of the outgoing titleholders, social and cocktail parties, play parties, auctions as fundraisers, circuit parties, bar nights, a 12-Step program, church services and the huge International Mr. Leather Leather Market.