Friday, March 13, 2009

Mr. Iowa Leather 2009

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #360, March 13, 2009)

And coming soon, Mr. Mpls. Eagle 2009

Every year the International Mr. Leather (contest draws over 50 contestants from across the U.S. and Canada and around the world. Where do all those contestants come from?

Most if not all contenders for International Mr. Leather come to Chicago as winners of local, state or regional contests. This year, as in years past, one of those contenders will come to Chicago from Iowa. The Mr. Iowa Leather contest is a co-production of The Blazing Saddle Bar, which has been serving Des Moines for 25 years, in cooperation with The Corn Haulers Leather and Levi Club of Iowa, which has been around for 32 years.

This year’s contest took place Friday through Sunday, Feb. 13-15, at The Blazing Saddle Bar. Your humble columnist was part of a group of Twin Cities leathermen who traveled south to Des Moines for Valentine’s weekend to attend the contest and to visit our leather brothers in Iowa.

The weekend got underway with Friday evening’s Judges & Contestant Mixer. The judged portion of the contest started on Saturday afternoon, when each contestant was privately interviewed by the weekend’s judges. Contestants were Frank Platt of Des Moines; Shawne Goodman of Ames, Iowa; and Greg Mace of Des Moines. They were queried by an impressive lineup of five judges, two of whom were local (Mike Ferry, Corn Haulers vice president, and Dan Bell, a Corn Haulers associate member). The other three judges were current or former international leather titleholders who traveled to Des Moines from one coast or the other: Mike Gerle, International Mr. Leather 2007; Mark “Sir Y” Burton, International Mr. Deaf Leather 2008; and Gary Iriza, the current International Mr. Leather.

Saturday evening’s contest and show played to a completely packed house at The Blazing Saddle. The fast-paced evening started with a fierce production number by three young leathermen. Following that, all three contestants were introduced, and then brought back on stage one by one for the Minimal Wear and Formal Leather/Speech categories.

Entertainment between competition segments was provided by drag performers Iris Aspire, Stinketta and Lana Caine, who also was the evening’s emcee. Stinketta enlisted Iriza’s presence onstage for two numbers, while Lana Caine was assisted in one of her numbers by a blindfolded member of the Minnesota contingent.

Finally, the contestants were brought back to the stage and the winners were announced: Greg Mace was sashed as Mr. Iowa Leather 2009, with Shawne Goodman taking runner-up honors. As the new Mr. Iowa Leather, Mace will be competing in the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago this coming Memorial Day weekend (May 21-25).

During Sunday’s victory brunch at The Blazing Saddle (great food, delectable home-baked breads and pastries), I had the opportunity to talk to Mace and to get a close look at the Mr. Iowa Leather title sash, which has become a piece of local leather history that is passed from one year’s titleholder to the next. On it are recorded the names of many of the previous Mr. Iowa Leather titleholders, some of whom your humble columnist recognized and remembered. Kudos to Blazing Saddle owner Bob “Mongo” Eikleberry and manager Bryan Smith, as well as to all the Corn Haulers members who keep this contest going and who made this year’s edition such a great experience.

Mr. Minneapolis Eagle contest is back!

After having such a great time at the Mr. Iowa Leather contest, it was very good to hear the news that the Mr. Minneapolis Eagle contest is back after a year’s hiatus. Saturday, April 11 is the contest date.

There’s still room for more contestants, so if you’re interesting in competing, contact The Minneapolis Eagle for a contestant application. (If you win, you’ll travel to Chicago to compete alongside Mr. Iowa Leather 2009 Greg Mace, and about 50 other leathermen, in the International Mr. Leather contest.)

Even if you aren’t competing, be sure to be at The Minneapolis Eagle April 11 to cheer on your favorite contestant.

PHOTOS: Choose from these, which will be uploaded to Lavender’s website.

PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL: Marric Photography


Greg Mace, Mr. Iowa Leather 2009


Gary Iriza, International Mr. Leather 2008 (left), congratulates Greg Mace, Mr. Iowa Leather 2009 (right).


Left to right: Gary Iriza, International Mr. Leather 2008; Greg Mace, Mr. Iowa Leather 2009; and Marc “Sir Y” Burton, International Mr. Deaf Leather 2008.

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