The Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2015 contestants with MWL producer Jeff Gruenberger (center) at the contest in Madison, Wisc. (All photos by Andrew Bertke, Everett Allen Photography)
Special report by Ryan Brown
MADISON, Wisc. – “It’s always better the second time around” heralded posters for Mr. Wisconsin Leather which celebrated its second anniversary August 22-24 in Madison, Wisconsin. And MWL did not disappoint!
For a full gallery of photos from the weekend, go to http://www.everettallenphotography.com/mrwl_2015
After the success of its inaugural year in Milwaukee, MWL made the move to Madison where weekend events were held in locations within sight of the magnificent Wisconsin State Capitol.
Friday night was the annual kick-off party “Sweat!!” – a sports gear themed party held at Woof’s Madison. During the course of the evening, attendees got to mingle with contestants, judges and MWL staff and a surprise drag performance by Mr. Iowa Leather 2014 Drew Reibhoff as Holly Gobiteme.
During the “Meet the Meat” portion of the evening, the judges panel was formally introduced. The contestants were brought to the stage to determine the order of appearance during the contest the following day by taking a shot of Jaegermeister which revealed their number.
The contestants for MWL, in order based on the number draw: Jim Swenson, Chris Bruin, Will Boyd-Bohaczek, and Mike Garza.
Saturday morning private interviews with the judges were held at the Bartell Theatre.
During the late morning and afternoon, MWL along with Titans of the Midwest held Kink U @ MWL – where attendees had the chance to learn more about erotic wrestling, flogging and puppy play. The puppy mosh was held at an actual dog spa, where participating pups were lead to kennels to get into pup gear and headspace, then brought into a play room with handlers and observes for the mosh.
The contest was held at the Bartell Theatre which prominently displayed “Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2015” on the marquee. Prior to the contest beginning, attendees could mingle and enjoy the vendor market set up in the theatre lobby.
Executive Producer Jeff Gruenberger and MWL took advantage of the theathre space by incorporating a lot of video production (with dramatic soundtrack featuring full orchestra and chorus), for portions of the contest such as the kick off and the introduction of the judges: International Leatherboy 2014 Gattor Bate, Mr. Midwest Leather 2013 Cody Troy, Mr. Heartland Leather 2014 Michael Kaplan, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012 Thib Guicherd-Callin, International Leatherboy 2011 Byrson “Nitro” Hankinson, and Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2014 TC Hammond.
The public portion of the contest included three parts. Bar wear – during which contestants were first brought on stage and introduced to the audience, minimal wear and on stage question, and formal wear and 90 second speech.
The highlights of the night were in the on stage questions where the audience was treated to a contestant leading a leg workout featuring deep squats (Jim), a synopsis of a college level course on water sports (Chris), a contestant impersonating a pirate and trying pick up lines on a judge (Will), and good boy who likes to do bad, bad things (Mike).
Outgoing Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2014 TC Hammond, who placed 5th at International Mr. Leather, gave a heartfelt step aside speech, recognizing many of the people who helped him during his year, and ending (not surprisingly) with a quote from Vince Lombardi.
The winner and Mr. Wisconsin Leather 2015 is Will Boyd-Bohaczek. First runner up is Chris Bruin. The evening continued with the Badger Leather Ball Victory Party at the theatre.
Sunday featured the MWL Survivors Brunch followed by a tea dance at Woof’s Madison. Mr. Wisconsin Leather will be back in Madison next year.