International Mister Leather

International Mister Leather (IML) is an international conference and contest of leathermen and leatherwomen held annually since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois.

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.

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.

Over the years, a whole conference and another contest, the International Mister Bootblack Competition, have arisen around the IML contest.

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.

Preliminary round

The preliminary judging consists of two parts:

  1. The preliminary interview, up to 8 minutes in length and held in private, which accounts for 60% of the preliminary score.
  2. 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.

Final round

Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in this order:

  1. Leather image, which accounts for up to 40 points.
  2. Presentation skills, which account for up to 40 points. Each contestant must give a short speech.
  3. 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

Source for 1979 to 2003:

IML conference

Of all the IML conference events listed below, only the IML contest itself and the Black and Blue Ball have been held since IML's beginning in 1979. As IML evolves over time, other events have been added to the conference. The newest event is the presentation of the IML Flag, a tradition started in 2005.

IML Flag

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. A 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.

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 New York, N.Y.
2006-05-28 Benjamin Palmer PumpJack Pub & Priape Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2007-05-27 "Spot" Great Lakes Leather Alliance Lansing, Michigan

IML contest

IML Victory Celebration Party

Black & Blue Ball

Event schedule 2006

Below is the conference agenda for 2006. It is similar to IML event schedules in recent years.








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See also

External links

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This article is based on "International Mister Leather" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: