(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #367, June 19, 2009)
First, the statistics: Over 15,000 people partied in Chicago at the 31st annual International Mr. Leather (IML) contest Memorial Day weekend (Thursday, May 22-Monday, May 26). The competition included 54 contestants from 26 states and six countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom and United States). Contestants ranged in age from 20-something to 60-something. The IML Leather Market featured 120 vendors.
Now, the photos:
(1) Thursday’s contestant introduction ceremony opened with a procession of contestants’ national and state flags. Shown here is David Gevaert, Mr. Fetish Boots Belgium, waving the Belgian flag.
(2) Some of this year’s IML contestants during the introduction ceremonies.
(3) Host hotel for the weekend was The Chicago Hilton, which for the weekend became the world’s largest leather bar.
(4) Also part of the weekend was the 17th annual International Mr. Bootblack competition. Six bootblacks competed for the title. Shown here shining boots is Greg McDowell (aka “McG”), who competed as Bootblack Toronto. McDowell went on to win the International Mr. Bootblack 2009 title.
(5) This year, for the first time, the Pantheon of Leather Community Service Awards were presented during IML weekend. 34 awards were presented to winners chosen from 343 nominees.
(6) A group of contestants wearing as little as possible during Saturday evening’s “Pecs & Personality” Physique Prejudging event.
(7) Entertainment at Sunday night’s Contest and Show was provided by legendary singer/songwriter/diva Linda Clifford. Also featured was “Madame with an E,” another legendary diva.
(8, 9, 10) The top 20 IML semifinalists strutted their stuff. Shown here: Ken Hearst, Mr. L.A. Leather 2009; Mike Lunter, Mr. Missouri Leather 2009; and Alan Penrod, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2009.
(11) And the winners are: from left, IML second runner-up, Alan Penrod, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2009; the new International Mr. Leather 2009 Jeffrey Payne, who competed as Mr. Texas Leather 2009; and IML first runner-up Brendan McGovern, Mr. Leather Ottawa (Canada) 2009.
(For many more photos of IML 2009 visit <gallery.me.com/leatherlife>.)
PHOTO CREDIT INFORMATION:
Photos 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10: Marric Photography
Photos 2, 3(vert), 3alt(horiz), 5, 6, 11: Steve Lenius