(Above, from left) AJ Perdew is the first Mr. Iowa Bear, Mike O’Donnell is Mr. Iowa Leather 2017, Alexandra Gray is Ms. Iowa Leather 2017 and Pup Nibbles is Iowa Puppy 2017.
DES MOINES — The Iowa state capital hosted Iowa Leather Weekend 2017 and saw the sashing of four new titleholders to represent the state.
Mike O’Donnell won Mr. Iowa Leather 2017 and Alexandra Gray won Ms. Iowa Leather 2017. This year saw two new contests with AJ Perdew winning the first Mr. Iowa Bear title and Pup Nibbles winning the first Iowa Puppy. Mike will represent the state at International Mr. Leather on Memorial Day Weekend 2017 in Chicago. Alexandra will go on to compete at Women’s International Leather Legacy in Dallas next June. AJ will compete at North American Bear Weekend in Lexington, Ky. in February.
The event has grown over the past four years to become one of the largest in the Midwest. In fact, ILW producer Jeremy Morris said the contest itself had to be moved to a concert venue, Wooly’s in East Village, to handle the crowd. Organizations like Titans of the Midwest, Des Moines’ Capital Bears, the Cornhaulers, the Imperial Court of Iowa and the Chicago Puppy Patrol.
Judges for this year included Ms. Iowa Leather 2016 Tink, Mr. Iowa Leather 2016 Rob Anderson, community leader Tobin Britton of Portland, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010 Chandler Bearden, Team Friendly founder Dave Watt, Mr. International Rubber producer Rubberwilli, International Ms. Leather 2009 Lamalani, Twin Cities Leather & Latte co-owner Karri Plowman and American Brother Weekend producer Dean Ogren. Karen Ultra was the emcee. Tallymasters were Mr. TriState Leather 2015 Brian “Bolt” Donner and Randy KMA of Des Moines.
Iowa Leather Weekend achieved another first along with the new titles. Alexandra, who spoke about how the Des Moines community welcomed her during a difficult time, became the first trans woman to win the title.
The winners came out of a strong class of contestants with five men competing for Mr. Iowa Leather, two women competing for Ms. Iowa Leather and three men competing for the bear title. Pup Nibbles was the only contestant for the puppy title, but he did have to get at least 70% of possible points to take the title home.