Luis Wins Mr. Chicago Leather 2015

First runner-up Stitch, Mr. Chicago Leather 2015 Luis Tipantasig and second runner-up Michael. (Photos by Ruff Wray)

First runner-up Stitch, Mr. Chicago Leather 2015 Luis Tipantasig and second runner-up Michael. (Photos by Ruff Wray)

CHICAGO – Luis Tipantasig of Chicago won the 2015 Mr. Chicago Leather contest in front of a packed crowd at the Leather Archives & Museum. First runner-up was Stitch and second runner-up was Michael, both of Chicago.

After last year when the bar hit capacity, the contest portion was moved over to the LA&M’s Etienne Auditorium. Even with a $10 donation to the Archives, the seats sold out with about 25 people lined up outside hoping to get last minute seating.

Luis was the winner out of a field of five contestants this year from the city and suburbs. IML 2003 John Pendal was once again the emcee for the contest and providing much of the entertainment during the contest itself. Judges for the contest included outgoing Mr. Chicago Leather 2014 Miguel Torres, IML 2014 Ramien Pierre, International Slave angie, Mr. Midwest Rubber 2014 Joe Spaceman and ONYX/Midwest President Sir Volt. The roast for Miguel had taken place the night before along with the formal introduction of contestants and judges. Somehow, cheeseheads became involved.

[flagallery gid=72 skin=minima_jn align=center]

The contest was the cap of what has become a new event weekend, with classes and a leather swap taking place Saturday during contestant interviews and parties and dinners taking place from Friday through Sunday.

There were six categories for the contest: formal leather, cruise wear, speech, interview, jockstrap and fun question. For speeches, each contestant spoke on different topics. Contestant 1, Michael, spoke out on being active in the political process and giving voice to gay rights. Luis, who was contestant 2, spoke about his first leather experience and about how guiding others into kink and leather. Shadi, contestant 3 who came in from suburban Bolingbrook, said the community had an obligation to reach out to gays and lesbians in rural and suburban areas. Contestant 4 Clint spoke on fighting meth addiction in the community and the last contestant, Stitch, talked about being inclusive of all members of the leather community.

[flagallery gid=73 skin=minima_jn align=center]

During intermission, John did give a plug for Mr. Friendly and being a PrEPWarrior. Touche bar manager and MCL producer David Boyer announced that this year’s recipient of the Chuck Windemuth Mentor Award would go to William “Rubberwillie” Schendel. The Windemuth Award goes to a community member who has reached out and mentored new members of the leather and kink community.

Ramien spoke about his connection to bar title contests such as Mr. Chicago Leather. He said that they were a celebration of leather spaces and that it was a privilege to have started his title journey with a bar title. He also said that responsibility came with that privilege, and that it was their job to welcome and encourage people to join the leather community. He also spoke about an organization called, an organization dedicated to helping LGBT people in Africa and the Carribean who are victims of antigay violence and getting them to safe countries.

Luis will represent Chicago at International Mr. Leather at the Chicago Hilton during Memorial Day weekend.