New Mr. Heartland Bear Sashed in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS – David Payne of St. Louis won the Mr. Heartland Bear title at JJ’s Clubhouse in St. Louis’s Midtown neighborhood this past weekend, winning out of a field of five contestants.

The contest was sponsored by the Show Me Bears of St. Louis with money raised from the contest going to Camp Hope, a camp for HIV-positive and HIV affected children in Missouri. The other contestants were first runner-up Kenton of St. Charles, Mo.; Jim Washek of St. Louis, Jeff Shoemaker of Londell, Mo.; and Don Ballard of Independence, Mo. The judges were community activist Tom Walsh of St. Louis, Mr. North American Bear 2013 Curtis Bass of Lexington, Ky., and GLD Publisher Pup Ruff of Chicago.

The contest took place over two days, Friday and Saturday, with the contestants selling shots with the money going to Camp Hope. The top three fundraisers had points added to their final score.

The contest continued on Saturday with the interviews taking place at Club St. Louis where contestants, judges and weekend attendees had a catered lunch near the club’s pool. The last portion was back at JJ’s Clubhouse where the contestants took part in the bar wear, cruise wear and underwear categories in front of a full house. During the underwear portion, the contestants also gave a short speech on what they would like to do with the title. Along with judges scores, audience members were also able to vote on their favorite contestant.

With the win, David gets $150.00 Cash, 2013 Heartland Bear patch and leather vest, HiBearNation 2013 Run Pass and two nights at host hotel (Crown Plaza Downtown), up to $150.00 paid towards a Bear Contest or Bear Run of his choice plus up to $300.00 towards two hotel nights, and a JJ’s Bar Tab of $75.