Friday, December 4, 1998

Thomas Smith is Int’l Mr. Rubber 1999

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #92, December 4, 1998)

The Twin Cities can now lay claim to another international titleholder: Thomas Smith of Minneapolis won the Mr. International Rubber 1999 contest during the Rubber Blowout Weekend in Chicago, Illinois on November 14, 1998. First runner-up honors went to Michael Ryan of Cincinnati, Ohio; Stephan Krayse from Munich, Germany was the second runner-up.

Smith’s victory was celebrated by over a dozen other Twin Citians who made the weekend trek to Chicago. He told me he appreciated their support and believes their presence had a definite effect on the judging.

Contest events included an interview with the judges, a “rubber image” segment, a combination Q&A and speech category, and a “rubberplay” category which was judged on how the audience reacted to each of the contestants in a shower scene. Smith’s attire for this segment of the contest consisted of a rubber fireman’s hat and coat, thigh-high rubber waders, and a latex jockstrap with spikes.

Judging the contest were Christof Lehner, Mr. International Rubber 1998; Bill Bailey, founder of New York Rubbermen; Tim Brough, publisher of Vulcan America magazine; Thom Dombkowski, head judge for International Mr. Leather; and Rich Villagracia, Mr. Vulcan Rubber 1997.

Smith, who also holds the title of Mr. Kentucky Leather 1997, is active in the Black Guard of Minneapolis, the American Uniform Association, Gay Male S&M Activists, and is an associate member of the Bluegrass C.O.L.T.S., Lexington, Kentucky and the Louisville Nightwings, Louisville, Kentucky. He serves on the Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee and is a past Board member and Vice President of the Philanthrofund Foundation. He is on the Finance Committee of the Minnesota Council on Foundations and is active in All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church. He plans to travel extensively and be visible nationally as a representative of the rubber and macho fetish community.

Incidentally, the Smiths are now a two-title household: Thomas Smith’s partner is Joshua Smith, who is the current Mr. Minnesota Leather.

Upcoming Leather Events

Atons Holiday Fundraiser
Sunday, Dec. 6, 6-10 pm, The Saloon
If you’re not in a holiday mood yet, this should do it. Photos with Santa, bootblack, and prizes galore. $5 at the door; net proceeds will benefit Every Penny Counts. Also, please bring non-perishable food items for the Aliveness Project.

Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather Meet and Greet
Saturday, Dec. 12, 6-10 pm, Minneapolis Eagle
Meet the contestants and bid in the Bear Auction benefiting the winners’ travel fund: Live bears will be auctioning off stuffed bears. $5 at the door includes free shot.

Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather Contest
Sunday, Dec. 13, 7-10 pm, The Saloon
$10 at the door includes free shot. If you want to compete, contact contest producers Joshua or Tom Smith. Prizes include airfare to New Orleans for Pantheon of Leather and the International Mr./Ms. Olympus Leather Contest.

Ongoing Leather/SM Events (clip & save)

The Twin Cities leather/SM community includes many events which happen every week, every other week or every month. Space limitations don’t allow us to list them in every issue, so clip this list and save it for future reference.

Black Guard Fundraiser: 3rd Sunday of each month, various locations.

Dykes on Bikes: Meets every other Monday at District 202.

Hanky Social: Formerly the Red Hanky Social, the scope has been broadened to include all hanky colors and all interests represented by those colors. Time and location have been changed to the last Wednesday of each month from 8 to 10 pm at the Minneapolis Eagle. Next dates are Dec. 30 and Jan. 27. FFI: e-mail

Knights of Leather: Women’s leather club meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month, Sabathani Community Center. FFI: e-mail

Leather Roundtable: This newly-formed group of leather/SM community titleholders, club officials, event organizers, and other interested folks meets first Monday of each month at 8 pm to plan and coordinate leather events. Meetings are open, so if you have time, talents or ideas to contribute, call Joshua for more information.

Leather Spirituality Discussion Group: Every Wednesday, 7 pm, All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church, 3100 Park Ave., Minneapolis. FFI: Call Joshua, or call the church.

Sober Leather: All-inclusive club dedicated to “safe, sane, consensual, sober” meets 3rd Monday of every month at Cafe Zev, 7 pm.

T.I.E.S. (Tremendously Intense Erotic Situations): All genders/orientations. The TIES Munch (a non-play social gathering for the express purpose of meeting people in a non-threatening environment) is held on the last Wednesday of every month at Legends Cafe, Minneapolis. The Munch starts at 7:30 pm; there is no set ending time. TIES also sponsors two monthly discussion groups in private homes, one for dom(me)s and one for subs. FFI, see the TIES website at TIES membership is not required for attendance at the Munch or discussion groups.

(Un)leashed: Loosely-organized club for women and transgendered persons meets 2nd Sunday of the month. FFI: Minneapolis, MN or e-mail

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