TJ Howard wins Mr. Leather 64TEN 2017

(From left) Snack Size, John, Mr. Leather 64TEN 2017 TJ Howard, Mr. Leather 64TEN James Tyrcha and Chip Wegner. (Photos courtesy of Ed Negron)

What the most heterosexual guy there (your author) won in the raffle. Anna replied,”gulp…maybe”. Teri Yaki pictured.

CHICAGO — Over the last year I have covered a variety of different contest for this publication and I must say that hands-down, this last week’s second annual Mr. Leather 64TEN was the most fun to watch. I am not saying the others were bad but there are times when the ‘respect’ and ‘stoicism’ goes to the point where it may as well be a Goth DJ night at a morgue. Wait, that is actually fun. Anyways,

The festivities started Friday with a meet and greet of the five contestants at The Jackhammer Complex at 8PM where the usual shenanigans ensued with them trying to sell raffle tickets. And yes, I am usually the tallest guy in the room, and no I don’t mind if you use me for an ‘around the world’. This proceeded into an introduction of the contestants and judges at 11PM. There were definitely some rough patches during the night but MC Teri Yaki was able to keep the contest together and moving forward. Slightly after midnight the judges and contestants adjourned to the bowels of the basement to conduct individual interviews. Privately. Behind a locked metal door. an someone remember to bring a clock to time them next time?

Saturday started at 11AM with a tasty and expansive Dirty Boys and Danishes brunch by Michael S where it seems that most people bucked tradition and showed up when it started and not in the last hour. Three Kink U classes were held starting at 2PM in sports bar area of Jackhammer with classes covering temporary piercing, hanky code and predicament bondage.

Todd and judges Michael P, Bob M, David Bautista, Brian D, and James T.

The contest resumed at 8PM with the serious question component followed by the 90 second speech and then the funny question. I will say some of those questions were of the nice softball kind and others were the ones that grab you by the balls and twist. But not in the fun way. Thanks Brad.

Of course, it would not be a contest if there were not shenanigans. These were usually perpetrated by MC Teri Yaki engaging hecklers in the crowd and the staff of Leather 64Ten. DJ Steve Henderson also messed with the pitch regulation on her microphone making those testicles descend and pop right back up in. I know some people want to take these contests very seriously but it was good to see one that kept moving and made the people laugh almost the whole time. Eric could have reined things in but as one person put it, “We all agree that we prefer Eric baked at these things”. Indeed.

But in case you missed it the winner was La La Land! But no, TJ Howard won with Chip Wegner being first runner up and John being second runner up. Snack Size just started having fun with it. Like borrowing Teri’s wig and drinking Miller Lite bottles on stage in his blue shorts. Classic.

TJ Howard on winning, ‘Well my main thought is, ” huh, what?”. I’m still in a little bit of shock. I’m excited and terrified to be honest. As for not being a native, even before finding the leather/kink community here, Chicago felt like home. Now that I’ve found this community, there is no place on earth I can fathom living. It is amazing and wonderful and adds to the vibrancy that I loved about Chicago in the first place. I didn’t think my speech about self-acceptance would resonate with people and I got so many people telling me it hit home with them or they really felt the same way. I’m seriously considering working on body positivity and self-acceptance…it makes me uncomfortable and scared to try and push it while I’m still dealing with it myself which may be an indicator that it is where I should be.’ Your Mr. Leather 64TEN 2017.

Following the contest was a Men’s Room party with a Cotton Clad T-dance party on Sunday.