Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2016 Weekend

Mr. Wisconsin Leather

Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2016 Gregory Diring

MADISON, Wisc. – The grounds around the state capitol were awash in leather once again as leather folk gathered in Madison for the third annual Mr. Wisconsin Leather Weekend.

The weekend kicked off with a “Fireside Chat” at the Bartell Theatre, where emcees Nitro Hankinson and Michael Kaplan introduced the first portion of the evening: an educational discussion about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – an HIV prevention method – with pharmacist Brad Plunkett. The emcees returned to the stage, this time with guests Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman, who spoke about being adult performers and the inconsistency in how Facebook determines what violates “community standards.”

Attendees then made their way to Woof’s Madison for the opening party, a sports gear themed event aptly named “Sweat.” During the event, the contestants mixed with the crowd selling Milk and Cookies (a creamy shot and an actual cookie) before being presented to the crowd. In a unique tradition, the contestants draw shots and each glass has number at the bottom, which determines the contestant order the remaining parts of the contest. The contestants the lined up in order: 1) Joe M, 2) Chip W, 3) David H, and 4) Gregory J.

Saturday morning started early for the judges and contestants with the private interviews at the Bartell Theatre, which wrapped up in time for the start of Kink U by Titans of the Midwest. This year there were classes on caning with Sir Alan, erotic wrestling with Sir Robert, and mummification with Mystryss Lily. Late afternoon the North Star Kennel Club did a presentation on “How to be a Handler” as part of the MRWL Puppy Pound. After the presentation, pups, handlers and observes got to enjoy a mosh at a bio-dog day care.

Saturday evening was the contest and it was immediately memorable as emcee Nitro walked on on stage in formal leather and stunning red high heels – a clear “Fuck You!” to people who have been critical of other leatherman who have sported a similar look and message of support that anyone should be comfortable to express themselves.

The contest had three parts: 1) introduction and bar wear, 2) on stage question and minimal wear, and 3) 90 second speech and formal wear. There were humorous moments during the Q&A involving a kinky classroom scene, and outdoor hike with the judges, ways to keep warm in winter, and creating a basket of goodies for the judges. During the speeches, the contestants addressed the issues of suicide, bullying, equality/protected class status, and the importance of “getting angry” when you see something wrong.

This year the judges were: Mr. Iowa Leather 2015 Rob Kreisinger Denk, Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2015 Will Boyd-Bohaczek, Mr. DC Eagle 2015 Dan Ronneberg, International Leather Sir 2011 Alan Penrod, and Dirk Caber. Mr. Toronto Leather 2013 Robert Miller served as tallymaster and Sir Tony Brown served as Den Daddy.

While the points were tallied, Will delivered his step-aside speech, which was the speech he planned to give at IML. Since he did not have the opportunity at that time, he delivered a beautiful, personal, and emotional speech about a time when he felt distant and disconnected and someone – a leatherman – made Will feel connected and welcome again. That quality, Will said, is what makes someone a leatherman.

The contestants returned to the stage to announce the winner: Gregory Diring – Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2016!

The after-party at Woof’s was the “Initiation” of the new titleholder. The following morning the “Survivor’s Brunch” was held at the Great Dane Brew Pub, followed by a tea dance at Woof’s.