International Mr. Leather
The International Mister Leather conference spans several days, and includes the International Mister Leather competition, as well as other events, such as speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market. Most, but far from all, attendees are gay men. BDSM enthusiasts also have a presence at the event.
IML is an independent contest in that there is no contract or formal connection with feeder contests. To qualify, IML contestants must either be the winner of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather bar, business, club, or organization.
IML's forerunner was the 1970s "Mr. Gold Coast" bar contest held at Chicago's Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. As the "Mr. Gold Coast" contest became one of the bar's most popular promotions, it expanded to a larger venue in 1979. Along with the change of venue came a change in name to International Mr. Leather.
Since 1993, a second contest, the International Mister Bootblack Competition, has been added to the IML program.
In July 2009, IML announced that "it will no longer allow participation in the IML Leather Market by any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking."
IML contest criteria
First, all contestants are judged in a preliminary round. Second, the top 20 contestants from the preliminary round move on to become IML finalists. In each round, there are nine judges and two tally masters.
The preliminary judging consists of two parts:
- The preliminary interview, up to 8 minutes in length and held in private, which accounts for 60% of the preliminary score.
- Stage presence and personality at a Saturday "Pecs and Personality" event, which account for 40% of the preliminary score.
The highest and lowest scores by judges for each contestant in each part are dropped, and the contestant's remaining seven scores are added together. The 20 contestants with the highest combined scores are announced as finalists at the Sunday IML contest event.
In case of a tie for 20th place, the dropped scores are added back for the two tied contestants. If that does not resolve the tie, then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the two contestants.
No scores from the preliminary judging are carried forward.
Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in this order:
- Leather image, which accounts for up to 40 points.
- Presentation skills, which account for up to 40 points. Each contestant must give a short speech.
- Physical appearance, which accounts for up to 20 points.
The highest and lowest scores for each finalist are dropped, and the remaining seven scores are added together. The finalists with the top three scores are the second runner-up, first runner-up, and winner, International Mr. Leather.
In case of a tie for the winner position, the dropped scores are added back for the two tied contestants. If that does not resolve the tie, then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the two tied contestants.
IML contest winners
|IML #||Date||IML winner||Winner's preliminary title or sponsor||Winner's city||Field of contestants||Contest's Location and Host Hotel|
|1||1979-05-20||David Kloss||Mr. Leather Brig||San Francisco, California||12 men from 6 U.S. states||Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel|
|2||1980-05-10||Patrick Brooks||Mr. Leather Australia||Sydney, Australia||18 men from 7 U.S. states and Australia||Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel|
|3||1981-05-09||Marty Kiker||Sponsored by The Brig & The Phoenix||San Francisco, California||36 men from 3 countries including 11 U.S. states||Park West|
|4||1982-05-08||Luke Daniel||Mr. Drummer||San Francisco, California||46 men from 14 U.S. states and Canada||Park West|
|5||1983-05-07||Coulter Thomas||Mr. Texas Leather||Houston, Texas||44 men from 15 U.S. states and Canada||Park West & Allerton Hotel|
|6||1984-05-27||Ron Moore||Mr. Leather Colorado||Denver, Colorado||30 men from 14 U.S. states and Australia||Park West & Allerton Hotel|
|7||1985-05-26||Patrick Toner||Mr. Chaps San Francisco||San Francisco, California||27 men from 3 countries including 14 U.S. states||Park West & Allerton Hotel|
|8||1986-05-25||Scott Tucker||Mr. Philadelphia Leather||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||28 men from 14 U.S. states||Park West & Lake Shore Hotel|
|9||1987-05-24||Thomas Karasch||Mr. Leather Europe||Hamburg, Germany||31 men from 3 countries including 14 U.S. states||Park West & Days Inn|
|10||1988-05-29||Michael Pereyra||Mr. Leather San Diego||San Diego, California||42 men from 3 countries including 20 U.S. states||Clubland at the Vic & Executive House Hotel|
|11||1989-05-28||Guy Baldwin||Mr. National Leather Association||Los Angeles, California||48 men from 22 U.S. states and Canada||Clubland at the Vic & Executive House Hotel|
|12||1990-05-27||Mark Ryan||Mr. Boston Leather||Boston, Massachusetts||42 men from 3 countries including 22 U.S. states||Clubland at the Vic|
|13||1991-05-26||D Cannon||Mr. CC (of Palm Springs)||Hollywood, California||50 men from 3 countries including 24 U.S. states||Clubland at the Vic & Executive House Hotel|
|14||1992-05-24||Lenny Broberg||Mr. San Francisco Leather||San Francisco, California||56 men from 22 U.S. states and Canada||Aragon Ballroom & Executive House Hotel|
|15||1993-05-30||Henri ten Have||sponsored by Motor Sportclub Amsterdam (MSA)||Amsterdam, Holland||51 men from 5 countries including 23 U.S. states||Aragon Ballroom & Congress Hotel|
|16||1994-05-29||Jeff Tucker||Mr. San Jose Leather||San Jose, California||43 men from 5 countries including 21 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|17||1995-05-28||Larry Everett||Mr. Oklahoma Leather||Collinsville, Oklahoma||50 men from 6 countries including 26 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|18||1996-05-26||Joe Gallagher||Mr. Leather New York||New York, New York||49 men from 6 countries including 25 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|19||1997-05-25||Kevin Cwayna||Mr. Minnesota Leather||Minneapolis, Minnesota||53 men from 5 countries including 24 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|20||1998-05-24||Tony Mills||Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather||Washington, D.C.||62 men from 7 countries including 24 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|21||1999-05-30||Bruce Chopnik||Mr. Rocky Mountain Leather||Denver, Colorado||52 men from 5 countries including 23 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|22||2000-05-28||Mike Taylor||Mr. Heartland Leather||Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio||60 men from 7 countries including 25 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Congress Hotel|
|23||2001-05-27||Stefan Müller||Bavarian Mr. Leather||Munich, Germany||63 men from 7 countries including 27 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Palmer House Hilton Hotel|
|24||2002-05-26||Stephen Weber||Mr. Texas Leather||Dallas, Texas||66 men from 7 countries including 28 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|25||2003-05-25||John Pendal||Mr. Hoist||London, United Kingdom||58 men from 5 countries including 25 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Palmer House Hilton Hotel|
|26||2004-05-30||Jason Hendrix||Mr. DC Eagle||Washington, D.C.||58 men from 5 countries including 23 U.S. states||Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|27||2005-05-29||Michael Egdes||Mr. Ramrod||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||52 men from 6 countries including 25 U.S. states||Navy Pier Skyline Stage & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|28||2006-05-28||Bo Ladashevska||Mr. Leather Montreal 2006||Montreal, Quebec, Canada||51 men from 5 countries including 18 U.S. states||Chicago Theatre & Palmer House Hilton Hotel|
|29||2007-05-27||Mikel Gerle||Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2007||Los Angeles, California||53 men from 5 countries including 23 U.S. states||Chicago Theatre & Palmer House Hilton Hotel|
|30||2008-05-25||Gary Iriza||Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2008||Palm Springs, California||51 men from 6 countries including 21 U.S. states||Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|31||2009-05-24||Jeffrey Payne||Mr. Texas Leather 2009||Dallas, Texas||54 men||Hilton Chicago Hotel|
|32||2010-05-30||Tyler McCormick||Mr. Rio Grande Leather 2010||Albuquerque, New Mexico||52 men||Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|33||2011-05-29||Eric Guttierez||Mr. Leather Europe 2011||Paris, France||53 men||Harris Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel|
|34||2012-05-27||Woody Woodruff||Mr. Michigan Leather 2012||Waterford, Michigan||49 men||Hyatt Regency Hotel|
|35||2013-05-26||Andy Cross||Mr. SF Leather 2013||San Francisco, California||51 men||Harris Theater & Marriott Michigan Ave. Chicago Hotel|
International Mister Bootblack Competition
The International Mister Bootblack (IMrBB) Competition runs throughout the IML weekend. Contestants are given a location in the IML Leather Market at which they perform bootblacking services. Weekend ticket package holders (as well as judges, contestants, and vendors) are each provided with a bootblack ballot which is redeemable for one shine by the bootblack of the voter's choice. Bootblacks are free to shine the boots of any person, regardless of whether that person has a ballot, although it is made clear that the ballots are the means by which the winner will be determined. Tipping is not required, but is quite common.
The bootblack contestants work during the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of IML during the time that the Leather Market is open, a total of approximately 20 hours over three days. In previous years, the bootblacks were allowed to shine boots and collect tickets at all times during the weekend. Since 2001, the bootblack contestants have established a gentlemen's agreement at the start of the weekend that they will not shine boots or accept ballots except during the established competition hours. This agreement was conceived to give the contestants the freedom to take time to enjoy the weekend without feeling the pressure to always be bootblacking.
At its inception in 1993, the competition was properly titled the International Bootblack Competition, and both men and women were allowed to compete. In 1998, it was announced that the competition would be changed to the International Mister Bootblack Competition and that a separate competition solely for women would be held at International Ms. Leather. This change was made largely because it was commonly held that women had a significant disadvantage competing for ballots from the mostly gay male IML attendees, who often base their bootblack selection at least partly on their sexual attraction to the bootblack. Since 1999, competitors for IMrBB are restricted to persons over the age of 21 who can provide a valid government-issued form of identification that identifies them as male.
The winner of the International Mr. Bootblack Competition is announced (along with the first and second runners-up and the winner of the Brotherhood Award, on which the IMrBB competitors vote and which is roughly analogous to the Miss Congeniality Award from various traditional beauty contests) at the Sunday contest, immediately following the announcement of the top 20 IML finalists.
In recent years, largely because of coordination of the contest by David Hawks, International Mr. Bootblack 2000, the Bootblack Competition has begun to develop adjunct activities. An IMrBB party is held in a hotel function room on Saturday night, offering food, music, and a silent auction, the proceeds of which go to the travel fund of the winner. Likewise, during the competition hours in the Leather Market, volunteers man a table to answer questions and sell IMrBB Travel Fund pins, which also adds to the travel fund. These sources of revenue have provided the various titleholders with significantly more money to aid their travel to distant events during their title years. The money is controlled by the contest coordinator, and any access to the funds must be accompanied by proof of the travel outlay.
Starting in 2013, the IMrBB contest has implemented a judging system to select the winner. Contestants will be evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of their technical bootblacking skills, how they present themselves on stage and in public and what they say in an interview with the judges. Ballot voting still makes up a percentage of the contestant's total score. 
IMrBB contest winners
The following is a table of IMrBB contest winners:
|Date||IMrBB winner||Winner's preliminary title or sponsor||Winner's city|
|1993-05-30||David Morgan||DC Eagle||Washington, D.C.|
|1994-05-29||William Shields, Jr.||Chicago Eagle & Chicago Hellfire Club||Chicago, Illinois|
|1995-05-28||Tim Cousins||DC Eagle||Washington, D.C.|
|1996-05-26||Todd Nelson||The Cuff||Seattle, Washington|
|1997-05-25||"Driller"||SF Eagle & Daddy's Bar||San Francisco, California|
|1998-05-24||Matthew Duncan||Centaur MC||Washington, D.C.|
|1999-05-30||Robert Ehrlich||DC Eagle||Washington, D.C.|
|2000-05-28||David Hawks||Centaur MC||Washington, D.C.|
|2001-05-27||paksen||Centaur MC||Washington, D.C.|
|2002-05-26||Michael Lanzini||The Lure||New York, N.Y.|
|2003-05-25||Richie Chameroy||Daddy's Bar & Powerhouse Bar||San Francisco, California|
|2004-05-30||Alan Tunstall||The Barracks Bar & Avatar Club||Los Angeles, California|
|2005-05-29||"BooBoo"||Great Lakes Leather Alliance and Laws Leather||Cleveland, Ohio|
|2006-05-28||Benjamin Palmer||PumpJack Pub & Priape Vancouver||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|2007-05-27||"Spot"||Great Lakes Leather Alliance||Lansing, Michigan|
|2008-05-25||"Bootdog"||Alameda County Leather Corps||Oakland, California|
|2009-05-24||"McG"||Bootblack Toronto 2009 - MLTC Inc.||Toronto, Ontario|
|2010-05-30||Tim Starkey||Boston Ramrod||Boston, Massachusetts|
|2011-05-29||Jim Deuder||NYC Bootblack Roundtable, Leathermen NYC, and the Eagle NYC||New York City, New York|
|2012-05-27||Nick Elliott||Oregon State Bootblack||Portland, Oregon|
|2013-05-27||"Oil Tan Sam" Sklover||Oregon State Bootblack||Portland, Oregon|
- Leather Pride flag
- LGBT culture
- Steve Maidhof, an unsuccessful candidate for International Mr. Leather who later founded National Leather Association International
- ^ Bean, Joseph W. (2004). International Mr. Leather: 25 Years of Champions. International Mr. Leather, Inc. and The Leather Archives and Museum (1st edition ed.). Las Vegas: Nazca Plains. ISBN 1-887895-38-8.
- ^ Davolt, Robert (2003). Painfully Obvious: An Irreverent & Unauthorized Manual for Leather/SM. cover design by Steve Diet Goedde. Los Angeles: Daedalus Publishing. p. 212. ISBN 1-881943-19-4.
- ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "Contestant Application" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2005-12-21.
- ^ "Leather Archives & Museum Announcement". Twitter. 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- ^ "IML Makes History". Will Clark World. 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "Official IML Scoring Procedure". Archived from the original on 2005-12-22. Retrieved 2005-12-21.
- ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "IML 2004". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2005-12-18.
- ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. (2005-05-30). Michael Egdes Named International Mr. Leather 2005 Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. (Microsoft Word). Press release.
- ^ "International Mr. Leather - Bootblack Contest". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
- ^ "International Mr. Leather - Past Bootblack Winners". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
- ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. (2007-05-27). Mikel Gerle Named International Mr. Leather 2007. (Microsoft Word). Press release.
- ^ "International Mr. Bootblack 2013 Press Release". Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- ^ Source for 1979 to 2003: Bean, Joseph W. (2004). International Mr. Leather: 25 Years of Champions. International Mr. Leather, Inc. and The Leather Archives and Museum (1st edition ed.). Las Vegas: Nazca Plains. ISBN 1-887895-38-8.
- ^ Source for 2004 to 2008: "International Mr. Leather - History". Retrieved 2009-03-15.
- Official website
- IML Winners
- International Mr. Leather 1996: Joe Gallagher
- International Mr. Leather 2003: John Pendal
- International Mr. Leather 2004: Jason Hendrix
- International Mr. Leather 2005: Michael Egdes
- International Mr. Leather 2007: Mikel Gerle
- International Mr. Leather 2008: Gary Iriza
- International Mr. Leather 2009: Jeffrey Payne