Friday
March 23, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 12
 
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World's Leather community descends on Seattle for 2007 Mr. & Ms. Leather content
World's Leather community descends on Seattle for 2007 Mr. & Ms. Leather content
Local Leather organization celebrates 25th anniversary

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Washington State Mr./Ms. Leather Organization (WSMLO) is proud to present it's annual Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather Contest, to be held on March 24, 2007. The contest will be held at The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave., Seattle), with doors at 6:00 p.m. and the contest beginning at 7:00 p.m., with a donation of $8.00 at the door. This years contest benefits the Scott Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Fund (administered by the Pride Foundation), and other local charities to be announced.

It was 25 years ago at the J & L Saloon, that the first Washington State Contest was held. It was the early 80's, and several men competed to be named Washington State Mr. Leatherman (the contest/title name would later be changed to Washington State Mr. Leather). That evening Mark Sauer was named the first winner, for what has become an annual celebration of Leather Pride across the state. Each year following, several men would vie for the honor to represent the leather community around the state and then follow up representing the organization and community at various national leather competitions. In 1989, a women's competition with the same purpose was added.

Rob Grant, Washington State Mr. Leather 2006, and LuYing, Washington State Ms. Leather 2006, will end their very successful year of fundraising, extensive travel and community service this weekend. A celebration of their year will begin with a Meet and Greet for all guests of this year's contest, to be held on Friday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m., at the LGBT Community Center (1115 East Pike St., Seattle). Additionally, both will speak about their year as leaders in the Washington State leather community at this year's contest.

Returning for their twelfth year, Miller Brewing Company and their local distributor, Young's - Columbia Distributing Company will be sponsoring both the Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather Contest and the 15th Annual Washington State Leather Pride Week (which will be held March 16 - 25).

A distinguished panel of judges will choose the new Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather 2007. WSMLO is pleased to announce the following members of the leather community, both locally and nationally to be part of this year's program.

As a special guest speaker at this year's contest, WSMLO is pleased to welcome from Montreal, Canada, the present International Mr. Leather, Bo Ladashevska.

Emceeing this year's contest will be the Leather Grand Slam MC Himself, Mr. Frank Nowicki, from Washington D.C. Mr. Nowicki has emceed most of the premier leather events in the world including the International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago, International Drummer Contest, Mr. Europe Leather Contest, Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest and is proud again to return to emcee this year's Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather Contest for his 11th year. He is also a past recipient of the WSMLO National Leather Emerald Award, an award that goes to a person, who has either assisted the Seattle leather community in the present/past and has provided positive leadership to the leather community in general.

On the Judging panel this year is truly a collection of some of the most esteemed leather and community leaders both locally and nationally. They are Judy Tallwing-McCarthy, International Ms. Leather 1987, as head judge; Rusty Jones, American Leatherman 2006; Shelley Denton, American Leatherwoman, 2006; Benjamin Palmer, International Bootblack 2006; Linda Coomas - a past Seattle Leatherwoman; Mark Nunley - WA State Mr. Leather 2003; and Imperial Princess of both Seattle and Portland, Ronda Vandermeer.

Returning for her sixth year, Judy Tallwing-McCarthy was International Ms. Leather 1987, Co-Chair of NLA International from 1987 until 1989 and again in 1990, presenter at Black Rose 2000, permanent Head Judge of the American Brotherhood Weekend contests, American Leatherman, American Leatherwoman and American Leather Boy and Board member of WSMLO. She has been involved in the leather community for many years and has given many workshops, talks and demonstrations. She presently leads the Dandelion Animal Rescue Services.

Hailing originally from Spokane, Shelley Denton has been involved in the Seattle community since 1995, with involvement both in the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle and the leather community. Additionally, Shelley was known to many people in Seattle as the Door person at The Cuff for numerous years. Shelley was elected Ms. Gay Seattle 1995, Ms. Gay Washington, 1997-98, and Emperor of Seattle in 2000. She then went on to compete and win the title of Washington State Ms. Leather 2005. After a successful year as Washington State Ms. Leather, Shelley went on to compete at the National level and brought home to Seattle the title of American Leather Women 2006. Shelley was nominated for two Pantheon of Leather Awards this year, including Woman of the year and Community Service. Shelley has judged several contests including Seattle Daddy/Daddy's boy, Northwest Leather Sir/boy, Oregon State Mr. and Ms. Leather and was the head judge for the 2006 Mr. and Ms. Vancouver (B.C.) Leather contest. Shelley now resides in Portland, Oregon, where her community involvement keeps going strong

After leaving the confines of Western Kentucky, Rusty Jones burst onto the leather scene in 2004 by placing 1st-runner-up in the Leather Sir/Boy contest. Soon after, Rusty was asked to compete in the Seattle Men In Leather Daddy/daddy boy Contest. Winning SML's Daddy's boy title gave Rusty an opportunity to serve his new community and get to know it at the same time. In 2005, with his Daddy's boy title nearing its end, Rusty made the decision to continue service to his community.

In 2005, Rusty was named Washington State Mr. Leather, and sought to continue the traditions of past WA Mr. Leathers by having fundraisers and traveling. Rusty wanted to bring greater national attention to the Washington State leather community. By winning Washington State Mr. Leather 2005, Rusty was presented with the opportunity to represent Washington State at either the International Mr. Leather Contest or the American Brotherhood Weekend for American Leather Man.

After doing his homework, Rusty choose to compete for American Leatherman. American Brotherhood Weekend best embodied the ideals that Rusty had come to know as leather. Competing at ABW was an experience Rusty will never forget. Bringing the American Leatherman title home to Washington State was unbelievable. For his platform as American Leatherman, Rusty lends his voice in support of the often forgotten Transgender community.

Benjamin Palmer lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his partner Andrew. He is proud to be the winner of the 14th International Mr. Bootblack contest. His title year has taken him far and wide, and he values the opportunity to meet people from other communities.

Benjamin actively advocates raising the profile of the bootblacks in the international leather community, and mentorship between older and younger generations of leather folk. His leather interests include an intense variety of play styles.

Linda Coomas lives in Seattle, Washington and has been involved in the S/M community since the 80's. She was a founding member of the women's leather group, Outer Limits, and helped plan the first PowerSurge, a leatherdyke conference. Linda has been working in HIV/AIDS since 1988 and started women's safer sex workshops. In addition to facilitating these workshops for large and small groups, Linda produced a safe play/safe sex event called the "C**T Carnival" which was a forum for women to explore and learn about various aspects of S/M. From March 2003 - March 2005, Linda was on the Board of Verbena, an LBT health access, education and advocacy organization in Seattle, and she is a current member of the WSMLO Board.

Mark Nunley started his community involvement over 10 years ago in Bellingham, Washington, with the court of Bellingham. In 1999 he moved to Seattle and started his involvement in the Seattle community. He first stepped into the spotlight in the leather community in 2001 as the last Northwest Drummerboy, then went on to become Washington State Mr. Leather in 2003. Mark now sits on the Board of Directors for the Washington State Mr. & Ms Leather Origination, and treasure for Dandelion dog rescue. Mark has also been Den Daddy for International LeatherSir/boy contest. When not working in the community, Mark works as a store manager for the nation's third largest drug store chain

Ronda Vandermeer was the 20th elected Imperial Princess of the Court of Seattle (celebrating her 10 year anniversary this April) and returns for the 4th year as a judge. She has long been involved in the leather community and is a past member of Generic Leather Productions. She has assisted with past leather title contests and served as the Tally Mistress for The Washington State Mr. and Ms. Leather Contest and the Oregon State Mr. & Ms. Leather Contest. Ronda now resides in Portland, Oregon, where she served as an Imperial Rose Princess.

Following the contest a Victory Celebration for the newly selected Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather 2007 will be held at The Cuff.

On Sunday Morning, March 25, a Victory Brunch will be held for the newly selected Washington State Mr. & Ms. Leather 2007, as well as, the presentation of the Leather Emerald Awards and Community Service Awards, which is also sponsored by Miller Brewing Company and Columbia Distributing Company. The Continental Brunch will start at 11:30 a.m., at The Cuff. The award presentation will begin at noon at The Cuff.

A WSMLO press release
photo top; WA State Mr. & Ms. Leather 2006 Rob Grant and and LuYing ; Guest Speaker Bo Ladashevska International Mr Leather;Judge Rusty Jones, American Leatherman 2006

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