By Tony Esquivel, Jr.
CHICAGO – Ah, the aroma of Leather, skin, and cigars. Is it IML? No, it’s Friday night, April 7, 2006, for the Mr. Midwest Leather 2006 Meet ‘N’ Greet at the Chicago Eagle.
The Master of Ceremonies for contest was Jon Krongaard of Chicago. He is Vice President of the Leather Archives Museum in Chicago as well as Marketing Sponsorship Coordinator for IML. The Eagle was packed with a variety of hot leather men and the contestants were hot too. The Mr. Midwest Leather contest represents 13 states (as Jon pointed out if you don’t know, consult your Atlas). This year there were eleven contestants.
Head Judge was Philip Dietch from St. Louis, Missouri. Special guest judge for the event was from San Francisco, Mr. Marcus Hernandez, Leather editor of the Bay Area Reporter. Other judges were David Rhodes, editor of The Leather Journal from Los Angeles; Dr. Alan Bowers, IML 2005 2nd runner up and Mr. Louisiana Leather 2005; and Michael Edges the current International Mr. Leather 2005, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Don Leach of Chicago was a last minute fill-in. The final judge was the current Mr. Midwest Leather 2005, Wes Kassulke of St. Louis, Missouri. Two judges, Thom Dombkowski and Dodger Allen, were unable to attend.
The tallymasters were Chuck Windemuth, coordinator of the Chicago Leather Kennel Club and road show director for the Leather Archives Museum in Chicago, and Dean Ogren, American Leatherman 2000 and the current contestant support coordinator for IML 2005. Both are from Chicago.
The Den Daddies were Mark Bozif, Mr. Missouri Leather 2003, and Joee Arteaga, Mr. Chicago Leather 2004. The judges’ boy was Jake Lucas, first runner-up from Mr. Missouri Leather 2006 contest. John Prather was the event coordinator. George Brown, Cellblock Leatherman 2005, and Adrian Williams, Cellblock Leatherman 2003, lent a helping hand. Last but not least was the contest founder and producer Kurt Pierce. He was Mr. Pistons Leather 2003 (Long Beach/Orange County CA.)
Here is the order of the contestants after they have picked their number for the Mr. Midwest Leather 2006:
- Bryan Smith, from Chicago, IL. Sponsored by Leather Sport, Chicago, IL.
- Jorge Areo, from Chicago, IL. Sponsored by Prue Pride.
- Dr. Bruce Karmazin, from St. Louis, MO. Sponsored by Barbwyr Leather, St. Louis, MO.
- Glen William McDade, from Illinois. Sponsored by Hunters Dance Club, Elk Grove, IL.
- Patrick Kerin, from Crystal Lake, IL. Sponsored by McHenry County Pride, McHenry County, IL.
- George Kriwkawich, from Davenport, IA. Sponsored by Club Level, Davenport, IA.
- Tim Wayne Gimzo, from Des Moines, IA. Sponsored by Blazing Saddle, Des Moines, IA.
- Billy Stevend, from Wisconsin.
- Chase Lindberger, from Madison, WI. Sponsored by The Barracks Bar, Madison, WI.
- Michael Weise, from Detroit, MI. Sponsored by Tribe Detroit Inc., Detroit, MI.
- Dan Miller, from Cleveland, OH.
I wanted to talk with the contestants, ask them a couple of questions, but it was so crowed, dark and loud. It made it very difficult to talk with all of them. But, from the few I was able to talk with, I can say the overall feeling from this hot diverse group of leathermen was a group that wanted to further the unity in the leather community and to reach out to the smaller areas in the Midwest.
Saturday April 8, the Mr. Midwest Leather 2006 contest
It’s Showtime; the big night was finally here. It started at 9:00 pm. Jon was very entertaining. It looked like a lot of people came but it filled up as the night progressed. Jon stated this was the biggest contestant turnout for any leather contest in the U.S. this year.
He then explained the order of the night. First would be the formal Leather Wear, then Bar Cruise wear and a question, and then the popular Jock/Physique also with a question that they pick.
He then announced the first contestant in the Formal Leather wear. It was hard to read the audience’s reaction to the men in the formal leather. They seemed very quite as the men walked up on stage. #4, 9 and 7 received the biggest applause for that portion of the contest. Then it was on to the bar wear. More people have arrived and the audience woke up. Now it felt like a heavy leather contest. This was such a strong group of men the crowd seemed to love them all cheering for there favorite as he walked on stage made it hard to tell who would be the top contenders. But I could tell #3,6 and 9 were the strongest.
A quick break and back for the flesh. The jock competition has arrived. The room went wild as the hot guys strutted their stuff on stage. My favorite was #9, he appeared very comfortable and he had a very hot and firm backside, YUM. This one was hard (pun intended) all the guys looked great and the crowd loved them. # 3,7 and 9, to me seemed to be the ones that the audience loved. The men exit the stage after a wonderful display of skin and their full moon salute, and the judges and tallymasters got to work. And we get a little show provided by Serena De Carlo and Brian X from CA.
After the entertainment Wes Kassulke gave his touching and humorous step down speech.
And the winners are.
2nd runner up was #4 Glenn William McDade, from Illinois.
1st runner up was #9 Chase Lindberger, from Madison, WI.
And Mr. Midwest Leather 2006 was #3 Dr. Bruce Karmazin, from St. Louis, MO.
Then it was on to the celebration downstairs at the Eagle.