About 2,000 IML fans cheered the results announced by Lenny Broberg at The Auditorium in Chicago, IL on Sunday night, May 28 as IML Executive Producer and founder Chuck Renslow was not able to attend and thus not be able to announce the winners as he has done in each of IML's previous 38 years Joe Cervantes, a member of Chuck's family, delivered Chuck's opening address.
Emcees Lenny Broberg and Thib Guicherd-Callin got the show started exactly on time and in ended at 9 PM as planned.
The Auditorium is across the street from the Congress Plaza Hotel so the bus-schlep was not needed.
Opening Ceremonies were on Thursday night in the Florentine Room at the Congress. Contestants drew their numbers and were seen as an entire group for the first time during the weekend. Bootblacks drew their order of appearance first.
IML 2017 had 63 contestants from 24 states and 10 other countries and three IMBB contestants.
2017 was the 25th Anniversary of the International Mr. Bootblack contest. A video screen displayed a retrospective of highlights of the title founded by Harry Shattuck.
The Top 20 Finalists, in numerical order and not by their placement were:
International Mr. Leather 2017
Ralph Bruneau, Mr. GNI Leather
Geoff Millard, Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017
Joe King, Mr. Leather Europe
Mr. Michigan Leather 2017 Kenn Kennedy
Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2017 Jeff Wilcox
Mr. Midwest Leather 2016 Daddy Jeff Henken
Mr. CMEN Leather 2016 Esteban Bartholo
Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2017 Ryan Coit
Mr. Leather64TEN 2017 Tj Howard
Mr. Louisiana Leather 2017 Ross Ransom
Mr. Leather Ireland 2016 Cathal Mulvany
John Brittain, Mr. Classic Leather
Mr. Leather Belgium 2016 Georges "The Mountain" Peeters
Leatherman of Color 2017 Kai Anderson
Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2017 Chad ‘Pup Chomper’ Schuld
Mr. XXX Leather Amsterdam 2015 Nick Dawson
Mr. Maryland Leather 2017 Peter Pup Orpheus
Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2016 Rudy Flesher
Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2017 Randy Boyd
Mr. Leather Brasil 2017 Luiz Krasner
Mr. GNI Leather 2016 Ralph Bruneau, IML 2017 to-be, during the Pecs and Personality category.
Ralph Bruneau's speech focused on shame, and Conversion Therapy and the extremely negative effect it has on the young. " I have no shame....We are all born perfect."
https://www.facebook.com/ralph.bruneau.7 The link to his speech is broken. Go to his Facebook page and scroll way down to find his speech. A pain, yes, but worth the effort. When we get a working link we wil ledit it into the article.Ralph Bruneau represented Gay Naturists International, the largest naturist organization in the world, as Mr. GNI Leather. He is a member of Avatar Club los angeles and the Southern California Bondage Club. Dr. Bruneau has a sex-positive, kink-positive practice in LA. Nationally recognized for his contributions to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy in California, he has taught and lectured about intimacy and sexual expression for over two decades. He is actively involved in the campaign to end Conversion Therapy and, as a titleholder, has raised over $5,000 for #BornPerfect. He flags black, grey and houndstooth on the left.
Mr. GNI Leather dates back to 2000 when Michael Lazor of Clearwater, FL became the first titleholder for that organization. History of Mr. GNI Leather at http://gaynaturists.org/leather/ including the answer to, "how can a nudist win a Leather contest?"
Mr. Long Beach Leather 2016 Ali Mushtag drew a lot of attention as he is the first Pakistani to compete at International Mr. Leather. The New York Times' Eric Piepenburg held an interview with him.
This year's International Mr. Leather judges were International Mr. Leather 2016 David Bailey, Nick Elliott, Lance Holman, Aaron Matthew Laxton, Tina MacKay, Patty Patty, Matt Wolf, Phillip "Boymeat" Wolf and Esa Yykooän.
The 25th Annual International Mr. Bootblack contest had its three contestants shining boots on the second level of the Congress. The contest also had segments that were judged by a panel which included International Mr. Bootblack 2016 Erick Joseph, David Hawks and International Ms Bootblack 2017 Elisa. Spitshine: The Bootblack Party on Friday night was a gathering for all bootblacks around the world to meet.
See video footage from IML 1982 - 1989 supplied by the Leather Archives & Museum IML at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uxowggoxgI&feature=youtu.be
Big news for the Leather Archives & Museum was that Rick Storer resigned his Executive Director position and it was announced at the LA&M Brunch on Saturday that Christina Court would be the Interim Executive Director. Rick's resignation was announced a week earlier. He will still be in Chicago and his partner, Jeff, will continue to work at the Leather Archives. The Centaur Motorcycle Club presented a $40,000 check to the Leather Archives is in the middle of its 25th Anniversary and there was a documentary Short shown in the Florentine Room at the Congress. There was a huge silent auction to benefit the Archives on Friday night.
The LA&M released this video of Rick Storer's farewell address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIoUBTPxCxs
The huge San Francisco Party packed the Florentine Room on Friday night. Earlier, the Chicago Rubbermen and Mr. International Rubber meet and greet was a hit on the second floor outside the vendor rooms.
On the North Side of Chicago, Touche' Leather64TEN, the Jackhammer and the Leather Archives and Museum were busy. Dave Boyer of Touche' had buses riding to and from the Congress Plaza Hotel on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights as well as all day Monday for their big Memorial Day party. Leather64TEN was full of shoppers from beginning to end of IML Weekend.
Off Leash, the puppy mosh pit in the Buckingham Room at the Congress had about 150 pups, handlers and friends fill the room to capacity. Puppy visibility grows by leaps and bounds each recent year and there were plenty of puppy opportunities including Puppy Yoga and A Good Pup in a Crazy World panel discussion with International Puppy 2016 Pup Rex and moderated by Pup Rococo.
The Titans of the Midwest is in its fifth year and headed up classes and workshops under their Kink U banner.
The Chicago Hellfire Club's cocktail party on Saturday afternoon easily passed the 100 attendance mark. The club had play parties on several days at their club house. Chicago Hellfire Club colors and members were visible all weekend as many were staff, volunteers, presenters, vendors and just about everything that was International Mr. Leather.
Since it was hard to get Mama's Family in one place at the same time, two Family photo shoots were held with one on Saturday afternoon and the other with more International Mr. Leather contestants and staff on Sunday afternoon.
Most of the vendors with whom The Leather Journal visited reported strong sales.
See the list of IML 2017 contestants at https://www.theleatherjournal.com/news/international-news/item/1942-iml-and-imbb-2017-contestant-bios-and-photos We now have all 63 IML and IMBB 2017 contestants' photos.
International Mr. Leather 2018 will return to the Congress Plaza Hotel and the IML IMBB contest will be at The Auditorium as per The Leather Journal's discussion with International Mr. Leather Executive Director Joey McDonald. For more information go to http://www.imrl.com
The winners: IML 2017 second runner-up Joe King, International Mr. Bootblack Ryan "Pawlish" Garner-Carpenter, International Mr. Leather Ralph Bruneau and first runner-up Geoff Millard.
Emcees Thib Guicherd-Callin and Lenny Broberg were superb.
The International Mr. Leather Executive Staff were introduced during the Thursday, May 25 Opening Ceremonies.
International Mr. Leather Contestant Coordinator Jeff Tucker.
The International Mr. Bootblack 2017 contest was judged by David Hawks, International Ms Bootblack 2017 Elisa and International Mr. Bootblack 2016 Erick Joseph.
The Centaur Motorcycle Club of Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend fame, presented a $40,000 check to the Leather Archives & Museum.
Christina Court was named Interim Executive Director of the Leather Archives & Museum by stepping-aside Executive Director Rick Storer.
Off Leash: The Pup and Handler Romp attracted about 150 pups, handlers and fans on Saturday afternoon.