by Toby Noon
Mr. & Ms. Leather Organization
The Washington State Leather Community will be celebrating the 36th anniversary of the Washington State Mr./Ms. Leather and Bootblack Contest along with the 26th anniversary of the Washington State Leather Pride Week this month. The Washington State Leather Pride Week will be held March 15-25, with numerous events at several locations. (More details below.) The contest will be held on March 24 at The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave.) Doors will open at 6pm and the contest will begin at 7pm.
It was 36 years ago at the J & L Saloon (now The Seattle Eagle), that the first Washington state contest was held. It was 1983, and several men competed for the title of Washington State Mr. Leatherman (the contest/title name would later be changed to Washington State Mr. Leather). That evening Mark Sauer was the first winner, for what has become an annual celebration of Leather Pride across the state. Each year following several men have vied for the honor to represent the Leather Community around the state and then representing the Organization and community at various national leather competitions.
In 1989 Vik Stump, a local women's leather community leader, began the first Washington State Ms. Leather competition. The competition was held at Club S. That year Lauren Burch became the first Washington State Ms. Leather.
In 2000, the title of Washington State Ms. Leather was sold to the Washington State Mr. Leather Organization, finally bring both titles under the same parent organization. The Organization adopted using the M in WSMLO for mutual recognition of both titles.
In 2014, with the ending of the Northwest Bootblack competition, WSMLO began the title of Washington State Bootblack and the competition for this title is now merged into the Washington State Mr./Ms. Leather Contest.
Travis Williams, Washington State Mr. Leather 2017, Carla Whitehurst, Washington State Ms. Leather 2017, and Caleb Kohutek, Washington State Bootblack 2017, will end their very successful year of fundraising, extensive travel and community service the weekend of March 23-25, celebrating their year with a Meet and Greet for all guests of this year's contest on Friday, March 23, at 8pm at The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave.). Additionally, they will all speak about their year as leaders in the Washington State Leather Community at this year's contest on March 24.
We have a distinguished Panel of Judges for this year's contest, who will choose the new Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather and Bootblack 2018. The following members of the leather community, both locally and nationally, are the selected judge's. They include, Head Judge WSMLO Board Member Tia, Washington State Mr. Leather 2014, Erik Taylor, Washington State Ms. Leather 2016, Thea, Washington State Bootblack 2016, Brynn, Oregon State Mr. Leather 1999, Thom Butts, Northwest Leatherboy 2004, Timm Briggs, Oregon Bootblack 2015 Mickey Rebel, and Seattle Mr. Leather 1998 Billy Lane.
We are thrilled to have as our Emcees, from Menlo Park, California, IML 2013 1st Runner-up, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012, and the Emcee for IML 2018, Thib Guicherd-Callin, and our own International Ms. Leather 2009 & Washington State Ms. Leather 2008, Lamalani Silverts.
On Sunday morning, March 25, a Victory Brunch will be held for the newly selected Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather, Bootblack 2018, along with the bestowing of the Leather Emerald and Community Service Awards. Brunch will start at 11:30am, at Purr Cocktail Lounge (2307 24th Ave E), with the award presentation beginning at noon. In addition, several other organizations and groups will be presenting their annual awards at this event, including the Seattle Men in Leather, Generic Leather Productions of Washington, Seattle Girls of Leather, Seattle Women in Leather, Sea-Pah, to name a few.
Following are some of the local events scheduled for Washington State Leather Pride Week:
The Seattle Men In Leather will host the kickoff event for Washington State Leather Pride Week with their Leather Social at Diesel (1413 14th Ave.) on Thursday, March 15, 7-10pm. A new event this year, the 'Leather is a Drag' show, will be held at R Place (619 E Pine St.) on Friday, March 16, at 9:30pm. On Sunday, March 18, WSMLO will host the Leather Community Barbecue at The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave.), 4-7pm. Later that evening The Crescent (1413 E Olive Way) will be hosting Leather-Okie, 8pm-2am. Pony Bar (1221 E Madison St.) will host a Leather Beer Bust on Tuesday, March 20, 5-9pm. In conjunction with Washington State Leather Pride Week, the past Seattle Leather Daddy titleholders and Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather Organization will be holding a Leather Tag Sale on Wednesday, March 21 at The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave.), 7-10pm, with the proceeds benefiting the Leather Archives & Museum. Donations may be made year round. Contact Daddy Jeff at Daddy@doghouseleathers.com to make a donation. For more information on the Leather Tag Sale visit https//seattlemeninleather.org/ The Seattle Eagle (314 E Pike St.) will host the closing celebration on Sunday, March 25, 9pm to close. For more information on these and other events taking place during Washington State Leather Pride Week, check out the WSMLO website at www.WSMLO.org.
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