Friday, November 3, 2000

Minnesota Olympus Leather Contest Coming Up

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #142, November 3, 2000)

PHOTO: I have many photos of Cori and David from which you can choose. I’ll drop the prints off at the Lavender office as soon as I can.

The Mr./Ms Minnesota Olympus Leather contest happens next weekend, Nov. 10-12 (see schedule details at the end of this column). This will be your only chance this year to see (or compete in) a state-level leather contest; at this time, to my knowledge, the other “traditional” leather titles—Mr. and Ms. Minnesota Leather and Mr. Minnesota Drummer and Drummerboy—are all on hiatus.

The winners of the Minnesota Olympus Leather titles go on to compete at the national Mr./Ms. Olympus Leather contest (which is part of the Pantheon of Leather community-service awards) in New Orleans next February. Minnesota residents have brought home a national Olympus Leather sash twice in the last two years: Cori Ander was Ms. Olympus Leather 1999, and David Coral (aka Jazz Thomas) is the current Mr. Olympus Leather 2000.

I asked Cori and David what makes the Olympus Leather titles different than the other titles mentioned above. Both agreed that the Olympus Leather title takes the leather community’s traits of diversity and inclusivity to new heights. David liked the fact that both Pantheon of Leather and the Olympus Leather contest “are probably the only leather events that really honor and acknowledge the entire community—men, women, bi, straight, gay, pansexual, pangender, everything. It’s for the whole leather community. I think the trend of the leather/SM community is toward a mixing of the disciplines, a mixing of the sexes, a mixing of the genders—I think that’s the wave of the future. The reason I believe so strongly in the Olympus Leather title is because it’s on the cutting edge of that. It’s been at the forefront of that trend for its entire history, whereas IML, IMsL, and Drummer have traditionally been gay titles.”

What Cori finds refreshing about both the Olympus Leather title and Pantheon of Leather is that they’re “pan-practice.” That’s a term she has recently started using to connote that whether you’re a heavy BDSM player or are just starting to get into it (or are just curious about it), everyone is welcome. She appreciates the freedom to interact with people in a leather/BDSM setting in many different ways: “You don’t have to be a heavy player, and it doesn’t have to be only about hard-core sex. It can be at whatever level and whatever practice people feel comfortable with.”

David told me he’s been having a great title year—even though he hasn’t traveled as much as expected, “The travel that I’ve done has been really quite extraordinary, and I’ve met fantastic people. The diversity in this community is amazing. Having this title opens all kinds of doors to places I never would have gone, people I never would have met, and experiences I never would have had otherwise. You know, I competed in the contest, and I had fun with it, but I didn’t think I would win. I thought, ‘I’m not this huge heavy player, I’m not this big leather guy—there are other people who are way more qualified for this than I am.’ I’m just this regular guy, and all of a sudden all these doors get opened just because I happen to have this title attached to my chest.”

Cori agreed that holding a title creates opportunities; in her experience, many of the opportunities have been chances to learn. “Just because I have a title doesn’t mean I know everything, and I love it that I continually get to learn from people. Big things, little things, it doesn’t matter—I love the variety. And I love the creativity of some of the people I’ve met, and the different styles. Creativity is very important to me, and one of the reasons I got involved with this community is because it’s so creative. And it’s always evolving—anything that involves people and their wants and their likes is going to evolve, and I like being part of that evolution.”

You can meet Cori Ander, David Coral and other leather luminaries at the Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather contest next weekend (Nov. 10-12) at a location yet to be determined. Tentative schedule: Meet and Greet Friday night, contestant interviews Saturday during the day (not open to the public), and the contest and show on Sunday night. This contest is presented by the Knights of Leather; for further information, or if you want to compete, call the Knights of Leather.

Another feature of this weekend will be the Bizarre Bazaar, a leather/BDSM/fetish vendor boutique tentatively scheduled for Saturday from noon-7 pm at the Club Metro Underground in St. Paul. The Bizarre Bazaar is presented by local kink group MSDB (Minnesota Stocks, Bonds and Debentures).

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