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)
Adam "Pup Vino" Henderson is the current Mr. Midwest Leather 2015, 2nd runner up International Mr. Leather 2016. He is also former Imperial Court Puppy 2016 and persistent advocate for all walks of life walking together as one. A Virginia native, Vino moved to Chicago in 2013. A leatherman at heart, he became heavily involved in the pup community. He is a strong enforcer of the possibility of puppy and leather walking hand in hand and will defy anyone who claims otherwise. He is the founder of the Midwest Kink Alliance, a group of titleholders and nontitleholders who are involved in the kink community and sharing events and keeping people informed. Feel free to like the Midwest Kink Alliance Facebook page.
Joey McDonald has been an active member of the BDSM/Leather community for nearly 40 years. In 1977, as a sailor in the US Navy, Joey was introduced to the scene when his ship made a visit to Bremerhaven, Germany. Two years later while visiting family in Chicago, he volunteered at the first International Mr. Leather competition and has been a part of the IML family since. He currently serves as IML’s Executive Director.
In addition to his work with IML, Joey enjoys serving on speaker panels among the LGBT, Leather/BDSM, 12-Step Recovery, HIV/AIDS and African-American communities where he shares his knowledge and thoughts on Mentoring, Kink in Recovery, ‘Safer’ Play, Racism & Sexism, and HIV+/- (sero-discordant) Relationships. He has also judged contests in and out of leather. In 2009, he was honored with the Pantheon of Leather Lifetime Achievement Award and was also inducted into Chicago’s Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Joey currently works for a non-profit that puts school supplies into the hands of underprivileged youth across Illinois. In his spare time, he indulges his fondness for honey, travel, honey, gingers, honey, pups, honey, electricity and honey…. go ahead and ask!
Joey is honored to be on the judging panel for Mr. Midwest Leather 2016.
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.
Rex Shephard is the current International Puppy 2017. A Chicagoland native and currently a naturalized Texan in greater Austin, he has identified as puppy for at least 15 years and has participated in BDSM play for more than 25. In addition to founding and sponsoring AUS-PAH (Austin Pets and Handers), he is a full member of Discipline Corps and Austin Gears, and an associate member of both North Star Kennel Club and Chicago Hellfire Club. Rex is a strong believer that the puppy and larger kinky communities must be fully inclusive and open to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Rex encourages pups to play and be themselves honestly and openly everywhere, in a manner respectful of all, with a key principle being that puppy play and kink should be fun – and we shouldn’t be doing it if we’re not enjoying it. In addition, he has a passion for those pups in depression, suicide awareness, and PREP education. Rex is also part furry, and an avid SCUBA diver, backpacker, and mountaineer.
Pup Scout (Nick Kirsch) is an active member of the Chicago, regional and national puppy and handler community. Identifying as a Husky and an Alpha pup, Pup Scout gets much satisfaction from nurturing and helping other pups and trainers. He is co-founder of the Inter-Fetish Coalition of Suicide Prevention and Awareness (IFCSPA) and has spoken in many venues across the Midwest and online forums about suicide prevention, including the Jackhammer Complex, Cellblock Chicago and ABDL Cams as a moderator. Pup Scout is the 2014 holder of International Best in Show (Bill "Trooper" Boyd memorial award) from the International Puppy Club and the current Illinois Leather Alliance Puppy 2016. He loves playing video games and practices Krav Maga.
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.
Mike Lunter, a native of St. Louis is happy to return as Emcee for the Mr. Midwest leather and puppy contests. He holds the title of Mr. Missouri Leather 2009 and has been active in the community for a many years helping to develop non-profits such as Food Outreach, Inc. Mike has been Emcee and judge for several events and always impressed with the energy and commitments the contestants bring to the stage. He credits his own motivation and passion to his ex husband Andy, his Uncle Charlie, and also to his boy, Adam.
O. John, Den Daddy
O. John has been honored to serve as Den Daddy for Mr. Midwest Leather for several years and was honored to be named Honorary Mr. Midwest Leather in 2015. 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!
Titans of The Midwest at Large South Region
John Owen is a Nebraska-born leather country boy, currently living in Omaha. His first experience with leather was a visit to the Omaha Mining Company, after being invited there by a sexy leather daddy on Scruff, and it’s been a ride of curiosity and exploration and growth ever since. John joined the Titans of The Midwest as a full member In February/March of 2015, and since then, has been to several contests/events, like: Iowa Leather, Missouri Leather, Twin Cities Leather, IML, CLAW and more. In April of 2016, John took over as Titans of the Midwest At Large South region, covering the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma with KinkU workshops and new membership. Just recently He was pinned into Mama's Family as mama's ginger leather boy. He volunteers with Titans, Olympic Swim Trials, and Nebraska Leather, as well as many other events. He loves super heroes, video games, hanging out with friends, art, dancing, singing, Husker sports, biting, nipple play, flogging, bondage, and paddling ,boot licking, a bit of cbt, rimming , double penetration (just to name a few). But boy John loves visiting different communities throughout the midwest and making new friends the most. John is a boy to Sir Neil and Sir Gerard and enjoys his leather family for their mentoring, support and love.