Mr. North American International Bear and Cub Contest

North American International Cub Sean in Madison.

North American International Cub Sean in Madison.

MADISON, Wisc. – On Sunday February 24th, I had the displeasure of attending what I thought would be a great contest, Mr. Gay North American International Bear and Cub. Produced by Harmony, Milano and Windy Breeze, and Joey Conti-Wilford.First off, congratulations to the winners, Hunter X of Milwaukee, your International Bear 2013, and Sean Moroz, of Madison, Wisc., your International Cub 2013.

I had every intention of writing a positive piece about this event, unfortunately there was not much to say that was positive, and after giving the producers some advice, including not lying to the public about the turn out (they claim it was a packed house 40-45 people is not a packed house), I ended getting banned from their Facebook page.

I will give the producers credit for attempting to try and bring a viable Bear/Cub contest to the area, but that is about it.

I was also told not to show up for next year’s event. I was also told to produce an event, I have, and I was involved in producing the Milwaukee Pride parade from 2005 to 2010, and was one of the founders. I have also produced a Drummer/Drummer boy contest in 2000 at the Milwaukee Eagle, (Now closed). It takes a lot of work and research to put on a contest, something these girls didn’t do.

I have entered many a Bear and Leather contest and even won a few along the way, and at no point did any of them charge an entry fee, or was the entertainment mostly drag performances. And when you only have one contestant for each category, a minimum point goal must be achieved to move forward. (This was not the case at this contest – so was it really a contest?)

North American International Bear Hunter X at the contest.

North American International Bear Hunter X at the contest.

As far as the contestants go, Hunter X of Milwaukee (Bear), and Sean Moroz of Madison (Cub), also your winners for each category, Overall did a good job, taking into consideration that they are young, and need some mentoring. Hunter did a take on Magic Mike for his talent portion, and Sean did an Australian Outback Search for the Bears comedy skit. As for the rest of the contest, it was your typical bear type contest, Leather/Club/Bar wear, jockstrap, etc…..What went wrong with this contest? Many things, here are just a few.

  • Very little or very limited knowledge of bear contests.
  • Way too many drag numbers (This was a drag show with a bear contest used to fill the gaps).
  • Too many emcees
  • Producers self promoting their own drag titles, performing for tips, promoting other business lines.
  • Time wise – With 1 person in each category this contest should not have lasted 3 hours.
  • Contest was on a Sunday night because the producers would not give up one of their drag show nights, which to me screams that they want only the local people to enter, this is a REGIONAL contest. People work Monday mornings and have to travel, perhaps you would have more people enter and attend if you would have done this on a Saturday night.
  • Very little promotion of the contest – changed page name on Facebook several times, making it hard to find.
  • Most of the male performers did strip tease type numbers, again for tips, but came out in almost drag like costumes, one with butterfly wings. This was not very appealing or entertaining. Lip syncing as a male just doesn’t work, and if you are going to do that, at least know the words to make it look credible.
  • Some of the judging criteria – Hair and make-up- at a Bear/cub contest? Who knows what else? Evening gown?

One performer did donate his tips to a charity in Green Bay. Kudos to you, Mr. York.

Some of the judges were very uncomfortable with this contest as well, and could not wait to get out of the bar. It is pretty evident that the producers have no knowledge of how to run a bear contest. It is my guess that not one of them has ever attended a bear contest, for if they had they would have been able to divert this Titanic disaster of a train wreck-contest, and steer it in the right direction.

Perhaps they should stick to producing their drag pageants and leave the Bear and Leather productions to the Men/Bears, Cubs/boys of Wisconsin that know what the contests are about.

Good Luck winners, you’re going to need it with these producers. Have a great title year!

Austin Beck
Special to Chicago Den