First, the statistics: More than 15,000 people partied in Chicago at the 31st annual International Mr. Leather (IML) Contest, over Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-26). The competition included 54 contestants from 26 states and six countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States). Contestants ranged in age from 20something to 60something. IML Leather Market featured 120 vendors.
Now, the photos: (1) Thursday’s contestant introduction ceremony opened with a procession of contestants’ national and state flags—shown here is David Gevaert, Mr. Fetish Boots Belgium, waving the Belgian flag. (2) Some of this year’s IML contestants during the introduction ceremonies. (3) Host hotel was The Chicago Hilton, which for the weekend became the world’s largest leather bar. (4) Also part of the weekend was the 17th annual International Mr. Bootblack Contest, with six bootblacks competed for the title—shown here shining boots is Greg McDowell (AKA “McG”), Bootblack Toronto, who won the International Mr. Bootblack 2009 title. (5) This year, for the first time during IML Weekend, the 34 Pantheon of Leather Community Service Awards were presented to winners chosen from 343 nominees. (6) A group of contestants wearing as little as possible during Saturday evening’s “Pecs & Personality” Physique Prejudging event. (7) Entertainment at Sunday night’s Contest and Show was provided by legendary singer/songwriter/diva Linda Clifford and legendary diva “Madame with an E.” (8) And the winners are (from left): IML Second Runner-up, Alan Penrod, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2009; new IML 2009, Jeffrey Payne, Mr. Texas Leather 2009; and IML First Runner-up Brendan McGovern, Mr. Leather Ottawa (Canada) 2009.
For photos of IML 2009, visit gallery.me.com/leatherlife.