Mr Midwest Leather Contest and Midwest Puppy Contest, all part of the Midwest Leather Weekend, would not be possible without the help of generous volunteers. For those new to Contests, here's a brief rundown of who and what it's about.
The Judges are individuals with experience and history in the Leather Community who do interviews with contestants on Saturday during the day, putting together questions and judging during the contest Saturday evening.
The Mr Midwest Leather Contest and the Midwest Puppy Contest will be held at the same time, before the same panel of judges. This means more work for the judges, but we are sure they are up for it.
Judges (in alphabetical order)
Drawn to leather at an early age, Andy has been part of the leather community since 2009 and, once introduced, has never looked back. He was proud to be selected as 1st Runner Up at Mr. Missouri Leather 2013 and as Mr Missouri Leather 2015.
Living on a small farm in rural Missouri, Andy enjoys hunting throughout the year and is actively involved in numerous volunteer activities. As a volunteer at St. Louis' Food Outreach, he supports their services for those living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Always ready to strip down for a good cause, he has been a member of St. Louis' Balloon Brigade for four years, raising money and awareness for PAWS, helping those living with HIV/AIDS keep their pets.
Discharged from the U. S. Air Force under DADT, then Captain Struckhoff has experienced first hand the results of discrimination and feels a grass roots approach, combined with political activism is necessary. Towards that end, Andy works to subtly change prevailing attitudes about his LGBT brothers and sisters in his hometown. As a founding member of the local Friends of the Washington library and volunteer at fund-raisers for a local home for the developmentally challenged, he strives to project a positive message about gays and lesbians. Employed by a major, international company, in 2012, he started a chapter of the company's gay and lesbian support group to benefit the 1500 employees in his hometown.
Andy's latest challenge is promoting the positive message of recovery. Please join him in giving a helping hand to those struggling with any addiction.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading and working with the various animals to be found on the farm.
He would like to thank his friends and especially Michael Lunter, Mr Missouri Leather 2009, for the years of support on his journey of discovery and self expression.
Puppy Helmut, a St. Louis native, has been involved in the kink community for three years. His start there was a quick one as his interests in kink grew, owing his education and introduction to the community to many, now, life-long friends and figures.
He started his leather journey as a boy, until his first IML in 2013 where he discovered puppy play. This new dimension of his kink identity brought him to understand more about himself and his place in the community, where he was best able to relate to those around him and to understand himself
Helmut recently relocated to Chicago where he is enjoying getting involved with the Chicago Puppy Patrol, and finding his numerous pup brothers there. In his spare time, Helmut enjoys cooking, baking, rocking out to every jam that comes on, and exploring fun and new places in his new hometown!
Jay is the current title holder for Mr. Midwest Leather. Born in Southern Illinois surrounded by cornfields, he led his whole young life bored but turned on by bikers and leather. When he finally came out of the closet, the leather bars are what drew him in first.
After years of playful exploration, he found his way into the lifestyle as a boy to his Sir, Robert, who challenged him to think about running for a title. A pros and cons list sealed the deal, and he competed for Mr. Midwest Leather 2014. The rest you know, because here he is at the end of his title year, ready to become a title dad to the next lucky Mr. Midwest Leather.
Jay currently lives in St. Louis Missouri where bicycling, grad school and fetish nights take up most of his time. Now happily collared to his Sir, Jay has been organizing his own leather events, Guerrilla Leather Bar, and working hard to stay in touch with his 51 IML brothers.
A 20-year career in video production has brought him across some amazing people, but none as nice as those he's met in the last year. The bonds of brotherhood are strong, and no experience can cement those bonds like the camaraderie of the IML experience.
“Title years are a learning year, not just about politics, leather history and culture, but more importantly, you learn about yourself.” - Jay Johnson, Mr. Midwest Leather 2014
Karen Ultradom, Leather Icon
The illegitimate love child of Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker, Karen Ultra is no stranger to the competition stage. She’s gone from being first runner up Ms. World Leather 2004 and Mr and Ms Global Leather ( and Bootblack) 2004 to being the Master of Ceremonies for American Brotherhood Weekend, International Master/slave 2012 and 2013 , Great Plains Olympus 2010, and International Mr. Leather 2010 and SouthEast Leatherfest to name a few. Her customary sharp, glittering wit and attire secured her an invitation back to the IML stage in 2012. Recently freed of a great deal of baggage, she is currently holding auditions to find someone to carry her luggage.
She is a founding member of NLA-I Philadelphia, an Associate Member of The Men of Onyx as well as a member of Mama’s Family and the “Middle Aged Guard (thanks to Laura Antoniou). She was honored to be a part of the illustrious contestant wrangler crew at IML. She was also Judge’s Coordinator, and Tally Master. She has two glass rocks ( Pantheon Awards)
She has judged at Great Plains Olympus, Mr. Cleveland Leather, OLA, and SouthEast Leatherfest, ICBB 06, Southwest Bootblack 07 and Mr. Missouri Leather 07. She was head Judge for Mr. Midwest Leather 2010 and judged MLT in Toronto. Actually, she’s judgemental all the time…..
She heads a Leather Family founded on the traditions of Honor and Service; Responsibility and Duty.
Sir ( Daddy ) Ron lives in Cincinnati and has been involved with the Leather Community for the past 17 yrs. He is the producer and owner of Tri-State Leather/Rubber/Pup contest. He is also a founding member and the past President of Scorpius of Cincinnati, He competed in the OLA contest in 2009, where he won Mr. OVR Leather Pride 2009.
He serves on the Board of Directors of CARACOLE, INC., where he serves as Secretary and is the chair of their Program Committee. He is also a board member for Bluegrass Leather, Inc. He is a featured columnist in the Indianapolis Word, writing the monthly column, Panther’s Perspective.
He is also a past board member of the 1809 LGBT Alumni Association at Miami University. He was a programmer on ALTERNATING CURRENTS, 95.7fm, Cincinnati’s LGBTQ radio program.
He is a photographer, having photographed many of the Drummer Contests in Columbus, Ohio and the earlier Tri-State Leather Contests produced by Nigel Cottrell and Andrew Keisker. His work has been published in OUTLOOK, The WORD, Gay Peoples Chronicles and LGBT News. His images have won several awards including, The Center for Fine Art Photography, DIA International Art Show 2006. His artwork has been used by The Drop In Center and CARACOLE in their fundraising efforts.
In addition to photography, he is trained as a therapist, specializing in individual, family and group counseling. He also does program, organizational and board development, staff training, team building and program assessment. He conducts seminars on issues of aging in the LGBTQ/Kink communities. He holds a bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work and has an Independent License in the State of Ohio.
He also has an associates degree in Photography.
He has made many friends and his family continues to grow. He is excited to see the resurgence of the Leather Community in our area. He is looking forward to exploring the Daddy Stage of his life.
The Masters of Ceremony are up there at the podium keeping things moving, introducing and explaining (and often entertaining).
The Talley Master has the important task of keeping track of the scores from the judges. Throughout the contest the Judges Runner will be taking the score sheets to the mathmatical wizard, the Talley Master, who totals them up and figures out the final scores.
The Den Daddy has the vital job of wrangling the Leather Contest contestants. He is in charge of herding the contestants around. He keeps them on schedule, makes sure they are where they need to be, getting ready for what they need to do, and dealing with any issues.
The Den Puppy has the equally vital role of herding the Puppy Contest contestants and making sure they are where they need to be, looking good and ready for action. He's the go-to Pup for any issues that arise for the Puppy Contest team.
The contest BootBlack is on hand to provide bootblacking service for everyone attending the contest Saturday night. He will be keeping boots and leather clean and polished and looking good. The Contestant BootBlack is there to take care of the contestants of the two contests and make sure they look their best.
The Judges Runner is the contact between the Judges and the Talley Master. The person in charge of making sure talley sheets from each category get to be counted. And sometimes in charge of getting drinks if there's time.
Bruce Karmazin and Steve Neely, Masters of Ceremonies
Dr. Bruce Karmazin, Mr Midwest Leather 2006
Dr. Bruce Karmazin is Mr Midwest Leather 2006 and was a Top-10 finisher in the 2006 IML Contest. Bruce is founder and owner of Gateway City Animal Clinic in St Louis, Missouri. He has been a fundraiser and volunteer for PAWS, Dellwood Christmas Fund, JDRF CAR Wash, St. Louis LGBT Center and other charitable organizations.
Bruce has attended numerous CLAW weekends, Folsom Street Fairs and IMLs. Past judging events include Mr Madison Leather Contest 2007, Mr Midwest Leather contests 2007, 2008 and 2012, Mr Missouri Leather 2009 and Master of Ceremony for Mr Missouri Leather 2010 and 2011. He was featured as Mr September 2012 in the charity Homorodeo.com calendar and currently the February 2013 Kat Daddy, a charity cat rescue calendar. Last month he was a judge at the Great Lakes Sir/Boy/Ms Contest in Indianapolis.
Recently Bruce has joined the St Louis Jägermeister promotional team and has been a proud member of the St Louis gay community for over twenty years. This is the second year he and his husband have emcee'd the Midwest Leather Weekend contests.
Steve Neely owes the Leather community a great deal. Almost 9 years ago, to the day, he cautiously entered Bad Dog Saloon during a Leather fundraiser with the hopes of getting its patrons to drink a few Jäger Bombs. Little did he know that he would meet someone who would expose him to the Leather lifestyle, kink play, and ultimately, change his life forever. Steve continues to be a supporter of the Leather community, and can be seen around the Midwest promoting Jägermeister herbal liqueur. Each year, he is involved with raising money for Thirst4Life, United Way, & J.D.R.F. (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund). Steve is honored to co-emcee this year's Mr. Midwest Leather Competition. This is the second year he and his husband have emcee'd the Midwest Leather Weekend contests.
O. John, Den Daddy
This is O. John's sixth year to serve as Den Daddy for Mr. Midwest Leather. He is a native St. Lousian, but spent 14 years in San Francisco and was active in community service and leather community in the Bay Area. He is a founding member of the Castro Lions Club, the first openly LGBT Lions club in the world. Upon returning to St. Louis in 1997 he was active in the South Grand neighborhoods and house tours and restored a historic home in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.
Now living on four acres of land in Jefferson County, he enjoys more privacy and is active in the nudist community in St. Louis. He is an avid collector of nude male art. O. John is heavily tattooed and always looking for new ink ideas to add to his skin.
Pup Soul identifies as a kink based sub puppy who has been in the community for 5 years. He has spent the last 3 years attending events throughout the Midwest and volunteering across the Midwest Community. He enjoys being behind the scenes and taking on support roles. He is always willing to rise to the occasion when the need is there. He's happiest when he is busy and giving comfort and support to his fellow kinksters, being a tightly bound puppy is a close second.
Mark Bozif was Mr. Missouri Leather in 2003, recipient of the 2004 American Brotherhood Golden Eagle Award, 2005 Midwest Pantheon of Leather Award, and the 2006 Washington State Leather Emerald Award.
Part of the Dragon Clan, he is now retired residing in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s been in the lifestyle well over 25 years and still teaches classes on the subjects of: S&M 101/102 (general safety and techniques), Bondage, CBT, Electric Play, Fire Play, and Impact play. He has judged and emceed at many feeder contests for Mr. International Leather, International Leather Sir/boy, and American Brotherhood Weekend (bridging communities by also judging contests for the Continental Pageant system). He is a full member of Seattle Men in Leather, associate of the Hellfire Club (Chicago), Fetish Lifestyle Open Group (FLOG), an Honorary Member of Gateway MC (St. Louis), and a voting member of the Leather Archives and Museum. ... and wishes all the contestants good luck!
Boi Ashley is a recent transplant to St. Louis from the Central Texas area. She loves licking boots of all kinds and is definitely a boot fetishist! She has been bootblacking for seven years, mostly with her club, the Central Texas boys of Leather, as well as at a variety of national and local events, such as Northwestern Boot Weekend, Thunder in the Mountains, and Spitshine, the annual bootblack party at IML. She currently bootblacks regularly on Thursdays for fetish night at JJ’s Clubhouse in St. Louis. Ashley is also an academic, so her other interests include gender and sexuality theory and reading. She is the author of the “feminist leather boi” found at feministboi.blogspot.com
Rick Hulvey / aka Phill Thybeast is a Guard for the Gateway Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. A long time volunteer for the St Louis LGBT center, Rick is the founder / convener of The Gateway Dads - a support group for gay men who have children (biological and adopted) who are divorced or separated, some in commited relationships.
Rick is Navy Veteran of the Desert Storm Campaign currently employed by the Veteran’s Administration. He uses his contacts there to coordinate education opportunities for disadvantaged and diabled veterans.
A Leatherman for more than a decade, Rick raises money to benefit his favorite St. Louis charities: Project Ark, PAWS, and Doorways. On the personal side he is currently single -he flags Rust, Navy Blue, Black, Orange, Grey, and Hunter Green.
Pup Terp, Interpreter
Pup Terp has been interpreting for a few years and has enjoyed inserting himself into the leather community. Interpreting large events, like this one, are his specialty. He interpreted last years' Mr. Midwest Leather and CLAW 2015. Terp is incredibly excited to be back again this year, and looks forward to meeting everyone. Anyone interested in an interpreter for an event should find him during the weekend.