Michigan’s Woody Woodruff wins IML 2012!

Woody Woodruff, IML 2012, (center) with second runner-up Kevin Jordan (left) and first runner-up A.C. Demidont (right). Photo by pup ruff

CHICAGO – Woody Woodruff, Mr. Michigan Leather 2012, came out ahead of 49 men from five countries on three continents to bring home the title of International Mr. Leather 2012!

Woody was joined on the podium by first runner-up A.C. Demidont, Mr. Eagle New York 2012, and Kevin Jordan, Mr. DC Eagle 2012. Nick Elliot of Portland, Ore. took home the International Mr. Bootblack title. Woody is also the first contestant from the Great Lakes region since Mike Taylor of Ohio won in 2000.

Excitement was high for the contest with more than 2,000 people packing the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Singer Sharon McNight supplied musical entertainment and the live portion of the intro to the contest. IML 2003 John Pendal and leather diva Karen Ultra served as co-emcees, riffing off each other and occasionally scoring good natured hits on the contestants.

The weekend itself had a few firsts in its 34th year with two legal gay weddings (civil unions became legal in Illinois in July 2011) on Friday and Saturday and two of the contestants being legally married to each other. Another contestant, Mr. CODE Florida Stephen Hendrick, was the first openly gay AND active member of the military to compete. In fact, he gave his speech in his Navy uniform. (Speech in video at right)

All of those firsts were the core of  IML founder Chuck Renslow’s annual state of the community speech. With the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and President Obama publicly endorsing equal marriage rights, the right wing will be working overtime to vote Obama out of office. Chuck called on all members of the community to get passionate and work to support the President’s re-election.

Sharon was joined on stage during the tabulation by comedian and writer Bruce Vilanch in a surprise appearance. The two did a live “reading” of the new erotic bestseller 50 Shades of Gray to a very entertained audience.

pup ruff
Chicago Den

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