Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 - What a Year!

Good Evening Everyone,

Here we are at the end of another year and it is time to reflect on 2009 and look forward to 2010. Let's start with 2009!

2009 brought many changes in my life. However, the one constant I am most grateful is that the year began with my husband, David, and the year has ended and I'm still with my husband! Change is good; however, no change is worth losing this wonderful man over. I am most thankful that in all the changes that have occurred over this past year, he has remained the one constant in my life!

Another change I am most happy with is our boy, adam, joining our family. He has fit right in and David and I (and the puppies) are thrilled that he has blended so well within the fabric of our family.

As for huge changes, I'd say the largest one was in the realm of titles and subsequent duties. 2009 began with the title of Mr. Dallas Eagle, which lead to Mr. Texas Leather, which lead to International Mr. Leather. This change alone lead to other changes: the resignation of my corporate Human Resource position in order to fulfill the goals and obligations as David and I had set for being IML, my traveling to all parts of the world representing the community at large and the IML title, and my appreciation of airport food. The biggest outcome (so far, as I'm only half way through my IML year) has been the friendships and family I have developed on each and every trip. From Ft. Lauderdale to Portland, Oregon and from Seattle to Berlin, Germany, I have been able to develop relationships that will last a lifetime.

I have been given the opportunity to hold the title as IML and I have pushed in every direction to ensure that I uphold the title and the trust the community has placed in me to the fullest extent possible. God knows I have had good times, incredible times actually, with so many people. Times like kicking back at someones home, smoking a cigar, sharing a drink and talking about whatever the hell we wanted! Being able to speak to so many individuals within the community and hearing so many points of views about the "state of our community" as a whole and the state of their local community was awesome. We have so much to learn from each other and I have been given this great chance to reach out to so many individuals and learn about it first hand. And then to take this information and pass it on to another community or individual that may find it useful in bettering themselves or their local community is one of the items that I wanted to accomplish with this title.

There have been some private moments with individuals that I will always cherish. Such as the times I have gone to clinics with individuals to have them tested for HIV because they felt they had no one else to go with them and did not want to go alone. Sitting there with them awaiting the results; hugging and crying with them when they found out they were negative because they could finally release all of their emotions or hugging and crying with them when they came back positive. Reiterating to those that were negative they needed to make sure they practiced safe sex and reassuring those that were positive that the end of the world had not been reached because of their status. Both scenarios can be a roller coaster of emotions for the individuals being tested and we all need someone to lean on. You may ask yourself why I would cherish moments such as these. I cherish them because I feel that it is important for us to be there for one another, not just during the parties and the good times, but during all times. In these situations, I was there for these individuals when they felt there was no one else. I know, first-hand, how that feels to feel there is no one there and to be able to step up and say, "I'm here, how can I be there for you", and know that these individuals trust and respect me enough to allow me to be a part of that journey with them, is something I will always cherish.

This year has been the year of emails! LOL I receive on average, each day, a little over 100 emails. Emails from every part of the world, about every topic imaginable. I answer all of them; however, some are about three to four weeks in arrears. However, I do try to answer all of them in an expedited manner. I also spend much time going through my spam folder, as many emails go directly to my spam folder that are not spam.

This year I was deleted from FaceBook for my obscene and indecent photo (to the left). Someone actually took the time out of their lives to report me to the FaceBook police. I still laugh about the fact that anyone would see this photo as being obscene and indecent. Come on! Really??? Needless to say, I've changed my privacy settings on FaceBook.

This year also brought me the news that I am losing my hearing, rapidly. It was not something I was prepared to deal with; however, it is what it is. I had been wearing hearing aids for a year when I went back for testing and my hearing had suffered tremendously. We ran more tests and it was discovered that the nerves going to my brain were 'dying'. It's genetic and other than hearing aids, there is not anything else on the market that could assist me at this time. However, the medical field is always evolving and we never know what they could come up with tomorrow.

This year also saw me graduate from Texas A&M. Yea!! I learned many things over the last semester; however, the most important item I learned is this: Do not take 12 hours of class AND travel every weekend for IML. It will just about kill you! LOL

2009 saw the beginning of the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc., a non-profit charity that David and I started. When I first bought my hearing aids it amazed me as to the cost of the devices; $5,000 for the pair. David and I are fortunate in that we were able to purchase them outright; however, there are too many individuals within our community who are not able to afford such an expense. Thus, the SSC Fund created the "Hearing from the Heart" program to raise money to assist individuals with the purchase of hearing aids. The first project was the 2010 Calendars featuring the 2009 International Mr. Leather. Through the sales of these calendars, we have raised thousands of dollars to assist these individuals. The sales of these calendars also supports The Leather Archives & Museum and National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. We look forward to announcing the contributions made to each of these in February, once the sale of the calendars has subsided.

2010 holds many opportunities for myself and the family. The SSC Fund will continue to fund projects in order to raise money for its beneficiaries. Be on the lookout for them!! I will step down as Mr. Texas Leather January. I will continue to travel the world representing the community and the IML title; then step down as IML over Memorial Weekend in May. After May, as the 'former' IML, I will continue to travel and support our community just as wholeheartedly as I have these past few months; however, without the sash! LOL I will most likely go back to working a professional job; however, I'm not sure in what aspect. I have had many doors open up to me; so the family and I will discuss how to proceed. I will begin my MBA program in the summer. We will cross our fingers that my hearing maintains the status-quo.

2009 was a banner year for myself and my family. I never dreamed I would have had the year I had and I am grateful for each and every moment. I have no doubt 2010 will also be a banner year for myself, my family and the community. Keep reading my blog and if I'm in your neck of the woods, make sure to come out, support the community and say hello! I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.

Next up: Phoenix for Mr Phoenix Leather!

Your Leather Brother,

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Good Evening Everyone,

I graduated!!! Texas A&M. Human Resource Management. Thank God that is over; at least until June, when I begin my MBA program. Howeever, let's not think about that.

However, the whole family got up EARLY yesterday and drove the hour and a half to Commerce to participate in the graduation ceremonies. Thank you to Laura, Krista, John, Kevin, David and adam for being a part of this moment with me. I realize that many others wanted to be there and thanks to all of you for sending me text messages, emails and phone calls congratulating me. It meant so much to me.

They had a sign interpreter for the ceremony, which was wonderful. However, they had her standing on the main floor and anyone sitting in the audience could not see her. So, unfortunately, I just sat there and looked pretty during the ceremony. Then it was time to walk. I got a little misty eyed when all of us got in line. It suddenly dawned on me that the year 2009 has been a very remarkable year for me. And I just started to reflect on it and sort of had a little moment inside my head. It was a great moment though, not a bad moment.

Then I walked the stage. 3 years of college for 3 seconds of stage time. My next walk, I will purposely walk more slowly. Maybe wave at the crowd, work the stage like it's IML all over again, make it all about me for, say, six seconds! LOL

After the ceremony, we rushed home and got ready for the graduation party. What a turn out!! It felt so good to know that everyone came to the party to help me celebrate this moment. Thank you to all of you! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

And so ends the final "event" for 2009. What a way to end it!!! I'll be doing a 'Year in Review" next week. And oh what a year it has been!!!

Next up: NOTHING! Christmas with the family and then New Years with the family!!! I'm home for two more weeks!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!!

Happy Holidays to all of you!!!

Your Leather Brother,


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bare Essentials - Los Angeles

Good Evening Everyone,

I apologize for being so tardy on blogging about my trip to Los Angeles. However, due to returning home on Tuesday and immediately planning for my graduation party and our Christmas Party, I did not have time to do much except cook, clean, decorate and bake my Addiction Cake. The entire family chipped in to help, so it was truly a team effort. I will blog about that tomorrow (graduation and party).
However, I made my first of two trips (as IML) to Los Angeles. I arrived on Thursday and Randy C. picked me up at the airport. He drove me to some of the sites that LA has to offer (Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Bowl, Universal Studios, etc). We then headed to his house and spent an evening in. We watched Steel Magnolias (he and my favorite movie of all time) and quoted the entire movie to each other. You are probably thanking God you did not have to witness this event or be a part of it. We find it humorous; others may find it worthy of killing someone and going to prison rather than having to listen to us quote the movie - line-for-line and no misquotes!
Friday, Randy had to work, so Dr. Larry was kind enough to pick me up and take me on a full fledged LA tour! The Hollywood Walk of Fame (where I saw the star of none other than Betty White of the Golden Girls (and she is the only Golden Girl actress with a Star and I'm ticked! They all deserve one!), that Chinese Theater (I can't remember the name, but all the famous people have their hand and foot prints in concrete out front), The Kodak Theater, the Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood Bowl. I had an incredible time!! We then headed to the airport and picked up Lenny B. (he was emceeing the main event). That evening, Rick and Brian came in from Sacramento and Randy had a small gathering at his home. We then went to The Eagle where the Avatars had their annual Wreath Auction. I was able to spend time with so many of my friends and it was incredible. My family and circle of friends has grown so tremendously over the past year and I wish I could live in every city and see everyone all of the time. However, David said I was not able to clone myself because the world is just fine with only one of me! LOL I think that was a compliment . . . .
Saturday, we had to get ready for the Bare Essentials fundraiser at Oil Can Harry's. The fundraiser was a leather, rubber, kink fashion show. Randy had called me months ago about participating in it, and I had a free weekend and truly wanted to help out. It was raising money for the Jeff Griffith Youth Center in Los Angeles. If you would like to make a donation to the organization, it is not too late. Click on this link to find out more about the Center and help support this very worthy cause!!( The fashion show was tons of fun and I really enjoyed it! Everyone in the show was freakin hot and two snaps to Dakota (American Leather Woman) for being the hottest thing on that stage! Damn, she worked it!!! Also, Bonnie Pointer, from the Pointer Sisters performed! Woo-Hoo! She kicked some ass! Personally, I could not hear the beat nor did I know what she was singing, but that woman was having a damn good time on that stage and the crowd was loving her! I did refrain from putting my "I ain't got no rhythm white ass" on the dance floor! Everyone was thankful for that. The event was a success and the last figure I heard was $6,500 was raised that evening! Again, log on to the website listed above and help support this very worthy cause!
On Sunday, we went to the Avatar Christmas Party. Thank you to all of the members for having me as your guest! I truly appreciate it! It was great to meet new people within our community and to also share some more time with the individuals I already know. And a huge thank you to Dave Rhodes for talking football with me! I rarely get that opportunity and it was great to speak to another avid fan!!
On Monday, Randy and I picked up Julian and went to Santa Monica Pier. We got some great photos of Bear! I would so love to move to Los Angeles! I am sure y'all are tired of hearing me say that I want to move to whatever city I last visited! But I truly do have a great time in every city and everyone is so nice and welcoming and I have not had a bad experience yet! Maybe one day I'll win the lottery and we can buy homes in every city and just travel from city to city.
That evening we went to the Oil Can Harry's Christmas Party. Thank you Bob for letting me be your guest at the event. It was truly an amazing time and I once again I got to spend an incredible evening with so many wonderful people. And I was able to spend time with Ken and George! (I love those two men!) I must say it was at this event that I finally felt like the Holiday Season had started. I've been traveling so much that the Holiday's just snuck up on me and I was not feeling the spirit until this evening. Thank you to everyone that was there that evening!!
Tuesday was a travel day. A day to travel home to Dallas! I must admit that as much as I love traveling, there is always that feeling of "Yea! I'm going home to see my family" on return travel days. And I am home for 3 weeks!!! Not three hours or three minutes; but three weeks!
Thank you Los Angeles for an incredible time! It was truly amazing and I cannot wait to return at the end of March for Mr. Los Angeles Leather!
Next up: Graduation from Texas A&M!!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!!!! Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your Leather Brother,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mr. Dallas Eagle

Good Evening Everyone,

This past weekend I handed the title of Mr. Dallas Eagle over to another young man, Jack Duke. It was my first stepdown (1 of 3) and it was rather surreal, if I can be frank with you. I will get into that in a moment, but first let me cover the weekends events.

The weekend began with Friday's Meet & Greet at the Dallas Eagle. It was great because not only was I in my hometown bar with my hometown friends, but I was there with my husband and my boy! There were two very qualified contestants that entered the contest, Jack and Sam. Both of them did very well at the Meet & Greet and it was a great chance to spend some time with each of them and get to know a little bit about them and their journey. It was also a great time to catch up with all my friends and see what has been going on in their lives (since I seem to be MIA since last Memorial Day! LOL)

Saturday afternoon we held the interviews and both of the men did a fine job during the interviews. Very articulate and poised and honorable. It was a great afternoon.

Saturday evening, David and adam and I went to dinner with Master John, boy keith, Mater Talon and slave george. Master John, boy keith and slave george had all come in from Ft. Lauderdale to support me in my first stepdown. I felt very honored that they made the trip for me and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the gesture. (And they will all be back for Mr. Texas Leather in January!!)

The contest was then held that evening. During the contest, they called me to the stage, which I thought was a bit odd because it was not time for my stepdown speech yet. I was met on stage by Solitaire and Fred, members of NLA-Dallas. They gave to me, on behalf of NLA-Dallas, a check for $500 to benefit the Hearing from the Heart Program.

And I started crying. It completely caught me off-guard. It touched my heart and once again proved to me that this community, the Dallas community and every community I have visited (and I've been to quite a few), has been the most supportive group of individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They asked me to speak about the fund, which I did. And I cried some more. This program means so much to me and when everyone reaches out and supports it in the manner they do, well, what can I say . . . I cry.

Then after the formal leather and speech category, they called me back up to the stage to give my stepdown. Vince, the emcee, (God, I love that man) told me to keep it upbeat and not make everyone cry again. Well, I did not succeed in fulfilling his wish. As most of you know, I never go to the stage with a script, or to a speaking engagement with a prepared speech. I always just speak from the heart. And for that evening, my heart was telling me that this is the just the beginning for me. And by that, I do not mean the beginning of my stepdowns, but the beginning of a whole new journey. I do not view the handing over of a title as the 'end of the road'; because for me, my time to make a significant difference in the community last well beyond a title year. Remember, the man makes the title and not the other way around. I'm still a leatherman. I still care very much for our community and the direction it goes in. I still want to make a difference. At least that is my goal. Granted, I have no idea where this journey will take me, and quite honestly, I am still trying to work out (personally) how I will make this journey without the gift of hearing. But I know I will make it successfully. Why? Because I have my husband, my boy and all of you, my family.

So I gave my stepdown speech and then announced the new Mr. Dallas Eagle (Jack Duke). He did a fine job and I am very proud of him. He will represent the community very well. Then I went to sell my calendars in the bar and share drinks with friends and family.

One great point to mention: The Dallas Community raised $1,750.00 for the Hearing from the Heart Program in two nights! This included the NLA-Dallas contribution, a $250 contribution from the DFW Leatherboys, calendar sales and individual donations. That is freakin' awesome!!! Thank you so much Dallas! You, alone, will help purchase at least one hearing aid, if not two, for someone in our great community!!!

Next up: Los Angeles. I leave Thursday. Woo-Hoo!

Your Leather Brother,


Mr. Leather Toronto

Good Evening Everyone,

I arrived in Toronto after spending five wonderful days in Key West with my husband! I had left Detroit and flown right into Key West. Then I flew from Key West to Toronto for Mr. Leather Toronto. On a personal note, Key West was just the break I needed and it was incredible to spend time with my husband!! Needless to say, we caught up on lost time!

However, on Thursday (yes, on Thanksgiving Day and my husband’s birthday) I left Key West and headed to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto and boy iain picked me up and literally whisked me off to the Leather Dinner being held at the host hotel. I was still in jeans and a black t-shirt; however, I was there! LOL Upon arriving, I greeted many of my friends and met people within the community. Then Peter K. came up to Mama and said, “Well, Mama, are we ready to do this?” My first thought was, “Do what?” Then Mama stood up and presented me with my pin and welcomed me into Mama’s Family. I honestly was stunned and just stood there smiling like the nerd I can sometimes be. I was literally speechless. Mama welcomed me to the family as “Mama’s Dr. Payne” and she told me now I had to finish the degree program! Which I will finish it no matter, but now I have more incentive – I don’t want Mama mad at me! LOL But needless to say, I was very moved that Mama welcomed me to the family and I am still smiling about it!

Then the dinner began and the roasting of Peter (Mr. Leather Toronto), McG (Mr. Toronto Bootblack and International Mr. BootBlack), and Cory (Mr. Fellowship). It was hilarious to hear the community roast these three men. It was a great dinner, and I sat next to Mama, so I was able to chat with her. It seems that she and I are always at the same events; however, we are always pulled in different directions. So I really enjoyed having some downtime with her.
After the dinner, Terry and taz (International Mr. Deaf Leather and International Deaf Leather boy) and I headed to the Eagle to grab a drink and meet more of the community. This is where I ran into gloria (a.k.a. #8), her friend Chris, and a multitude of other individuals within the community. We all shared a drink and then Peter D. and his boy, Tom, and I headed to Peter’s home for the evening.

Friday I slept in and then did some schoolwork. I know, too much fun; however, I had a few things due and had to get them completed. I must graduate on the 19th! That evening, there was the Meet & Greet at Sailor. It seemed everyone was in attendance and it was great time. I was finally able to spend some time with David K. (International Mr. Leather 1979, the first one!). What an awesome man! I truly enjoyed spending some time with him.

After the Meet & Greet, they introduced the contestants. They had seven contestants vying for Mr. Leather Toronto and two contestants vying for BootBlack. I had wanted to have my boots done that evening; however, time did not allow it. (I did have them done the next day at the vendor mart.) After that, we headed down to The Barn. We had a great time. The noise level of the music was a bit much for me (but let’s pretend that is news to anyone; crickets can be too noisy for me . . .).

Saturday morning started off with us heading to the vendor mart. Peter K. had worked with Cheryl and Penny (vendors) to have me display my calendars at their booth. They were very gracious for allowing me to do this and I truly appreciate them both doing this. Over the weekend we sold 30 calendars! That is $600 towards our goal and inches us closer to achieving our goal of 1000 calendars! (We aren’t there yet; however, we are getting there!!) I could not have done it without the entire community supporting this effort in Canada! Thank you Canada!! If you would like a calendar, contact McG. I left 25 calendars with him and he can handle the exchange with you (and they are signed!).

Saturday evening was the contest. It was an incredible contest and VERY well attended! The community really came out to support the contest and the event. Every single contestant brought their game to the table and competed with heart. Congratulations to David Ivey for being named Mr. Leather Toronto, Devin Thompson for being named Mr. Fellowship and Bootblack Digger for being named Mr. Toronto BootBlack. I am very proud of each of you, as well as all of the contestants! The field of contestants was incredible and any one of you would have made a fine choice. I wish the new titleholders nothing but the best during your title year.

Sunday was the victory brunch and then I was back in the vendor mart selling calendars. Then we headed to the house for much needed R&R. I also did schoolwork. Fun . . .

I stayed in Toronto until Wednesday; touring the city, doing schoolwork, having a wonderful dinner with gloria (#8), then spending time with #8 and Chris over drinks and a good cigar, lunch with Paul C., dinner with Carolyn & Peter D. and then Peter D. gave me a night tour of Toronto.

The entire Toronto experience was incredible. The community is wonderful and I could not have asked for a better time. Toronto is definitely on my list to return next year! I have to bring David and the boy up here next time though. We would have an incredible time together.

Next up: I’m home! I have my stepdown as Mr. Dallas Eagle. The Meet & Greet is being held on Friday and the contest on Saturday. This is my first stepdown. Master John (Master Boo) is coming in, as well as George, to support me. It is truly hard for me to believe that one year ago, I took my first steps at running for a title and I am now returning to the same stage to have my first stepdown. And to return as the current International Mr. Leather. Wow! One never knows what the future holds, EH? (I picked that “EH” up while in Canada! LOL)

Your Leather Brother,


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mr. Detroit Eagle

Good Evening Everyone,

My trip to the Motor City (Detroit) to support the outgoing Mr. Detroit Eagle, John Boslooper, began on Wednesday. John picked me up at the airport and he gave me an excellent tour of Detroit. The first stop was the old Grand Central Station. It is an abandoned building of grand stature and a shame that it is empty and jus sitting there. Then we went on to downtown Detroit and I must say the architecture of Detroit is some of the finest that I have seen; however, the number of abandon buildings just breaks my heart. I’m not sure why they are abandoned in the large numbers that they are. My first guess is asbestos, but again, the architecture and the presence of these buildings is amazing. He also took me down to the stadium where the Detroit Tigers play. A splendid stadium indeed and very much a stadium that takes an individual back to the grand ole days of baseball (but with modern conveniences).

We then attended a planning session for D.A.R.K., an event in February that I will also be attending. I encourage everyone to go to, find out more information concerning the event and make plans to attend. I’m even receiving the opportunity to present. I’ll be presenting my class “International Mr. Leather #31 – What the hell have I gotten myself into”. NO!! I’m so joking! It is a class on IML, the history, my title year to that point, and the direction for the remaining of my year and life after IML.

After the planning session, we headed to John’s house for the evening. Thursday we got up and I did some schoolwork; and then Ron B. (Mr. Cellblock) came in to town from Chicago and dak met up with us at the house. We went out to eat and then karaoke. Do not worry, I did not sing. They want to keep the customers in the bar; not scare them away. We had a great time that evening! John and dak did sing and I must say, they were incredible. I tapped my foot to the beat of whatever song was in my head at that moment, which was unfortunately, not the same beat as the songs playing over the speaker system. But hey, I dance to a different drummer! Thanks to John, Ron and dak for a great evening!

On Friday, many of my IML brothers (Dave W. (Mr. Michigan Leather), Robert Bowden (Mr. Outloud), Rik Treadway-Newton (Mr. Maryland Leather), John Novack (Mr. New Jersey Leather) and his partner Scott, and David Dean (Mr. Pittsburg Eagle) made it into Detroit for dinner and then the Meet & Greet. It was a great dinner (thank you John for dinner) and the Meet & Greet was enjoyable. I was able to once again play pool with John Novack and he has improved tremendously in his game! No seriously, he has. He almost beat me – twice.

John B. then allowed Dave and me to speak to the patrons of the bar about our charities. Dave spearheads Mr. Friendly and it is an incredible project!! The work he and others do on behalf of the organization is second to none. Email me about how to get Mr. Friendly information and help support this very worthy cause!! I was also able to speak to everyone about the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. and the project (2010 IML Calendar sale) we have underway to raise money. I sold 11 calendars that evening and thus raised $220. Thank you to all those at the bar that supported both causes!!

Saturday afternoon, John and I attended a wedding of a former co-worker of his. It was a beautiful wedding and, as usual, I teared up when the wedding march was played. I did not know the people getting married, but it did not matter. Something about weddings and the wedding march and I start thinking about the day I married David and I get all choked up. I love that man so much!

Then we attended the Celebration of Life for Mr. Marcus via the video-cast through the internet. John has the internet on his television, so we were able to see the Celebration. Unfortunately, the video feed did not come through, so we were only able to hear the Celebration. It was an incredible moment and a tremendous testament to the life of Mr. Marcus. He will be greatly missed. I will attach the video to my blog once I receive permission to attach it.

That evening they held the Mr. Detroit Eagle contest. First we held the interviews, and then it was the bar wear, jock and pop question portions. All of the contestants did a fantastic job and congratulations to Alan Bouchard for being selected Mr. Detroit Eagle 2010.

After the contest, I rode back to John’s house, packed and then headed to the airport to fly to Key West. I was meeting my husband in Key West for some much needed R&R! Of course, I had been up since early Saturday morning, so by the time I boarded the plane, I was beyond tired. I slept the entire flight to Miami and then again on the puddle jumper from Miami to Key West.

Congratulations to John on a fantastic year as Mr. Detroit Eagle 2009. I am so proud of you and of all that you have accomplished during your title year and beyond. And thank you for an incredible weekend!!

Next up: Toronto for Mr. Leather Toronto (after Key West of coarse!!).

Your Leather Brother,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Mr. Leather Ottawa

Good Evening Everyone,

I left on Thursday to attend my first Canadian leather event, Mr. Leather Ottawa. This was Brendan McGovern’s (IML 1st runner-up and my IML brother) step-down. Last August he asked if I was available for the weekend and if I would judge the contest. Fortunately, it was an open weekend and I could not book my flight and hotel reservations fast enough! It was an event I truly wanted to attend and be a part.

Herein lies a funny story: Rick Russell (Mr. Bolt Leather and, also, my IML brother) had been asked to judge; however, when I agreed to come, he kind of got bumped to Den Daddy. He was a great sport about though and he has given me hell about it (all in fun!)!! But he made one extraordinary Den Daddy!!

So I arrived in Canada on Thursday and went through customs. The last time I went through customs in Canada was in Vancouver a few years ago when David and I were legally married (good times!!). That was a breeze. I thought, mistakenly, that this would also be a breeze. Not so much . . . The customs guy asked me why I was in Canada, I said for personal reasons. He asked what kind of personal reasons. I said to tour and to judge a leather contest. Jeffrey just made mistake #1: Do not mention leather contests when coming through customs. He asked where I would be touring. I said Ottawa. He asked specifically where I would be touring, and I said I did not know and I figured my friends would show me the city and take me to any highlights. He said, “So you’re coming to Ottawa to tour and have no idea what you’re here to see?” I said, “Basically. I trust my friends to make those decisions.” He asked the names of my friends in Ottawa. I said, “Richard.” He said, “How did you meet?” I said, “As in the very first moment we met?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I don’t know the exact moment we met. I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast.” Mistake #2 – don’t use humor when traveling through customs. So we went back and forth about why I was here, if I was being paid for being here, what kind of leather contest it was, why was I being asked to judge the contest, where I worked, what I did for a living, was I married, where was my husband at this time, was he an American or Canadian citizen, blah blah blah. Mistake #3: Make sure you pee before trying to go through customs. There is nothing worse than trying to answer dumbass questions AND having to pee. He finally said, “How much luggage do you have?” I said, “Three pieces plus my computer bag.” He said, “Then that makes four. Have a good day.” Woo-Hoo! I made it through customs. I cannot wait to go through the Toronto custom line in two weeks . . .

Richard picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at the hotel. I was able to unpack and then I did a lot of schoolwork. It was a down evening for me. Rick, who was staying at the hotel with me, did not arrive until midnight that evening, so it was a great chance for me to kick back and get a ton of schoolwork completed. It had been a long day of travel for Rick, so we hit the bed soon after his arrival and had a good night’s sleep.

Friday was a day for us to tour a little. The highlight was the Canadian Mint. It wasn’t so much the fact that they made the money here, it was awesome because we were able to see the 2010 Winter Olympic medals being made. Not everyone can say they have seen them, and it was very cool to see them. They are actually very unique and beautiful! Then we saw the huge 99.999 pure gold $1,000,000 coin. It’s actually value was (I believe) a little over 4 million dollars now; however, it was the largest coin I have seen in my life and I tried to get Rick to fake a heart attack while I slipped it into my bag, but to no avail. We then were able to handle a block of gold that was chained down. I believe it weighed about 28 pounds. I thought it would make a great gift for David; however, again, Rick was worried he could not be convincing in faking a heart attack in order to cause the distraction. I need a better partner in crime! LOL (I’m joking! My God, Canadian customs will never let me through now. . .)

That evening, we had the judges meeting and then a dinner and then the Meet & Greet. I met all of the contestants, and each of them was a stellar candidate in their own right. They each brought something to the table and I knew immediately that it would not be an easy task to judge this contest. After the Meet & Greet, we headed to the Cell Block for drinks and socializing.

The next morning, Rick and I were up early to ensure we got to the venue on time for interviews. The interviews were very interesting, and proved my first thought about the contest was accurate – this would not be easy. Of course, I asked my standard first question (take note contestants!): Do you have a partner? If they answer in the affirmative, then I ask, “Tell me specifically how you and your partner prepared your relationship for you to run for this title and potentially hold this title.” If they answer that they do not have a partner, then I ask, “Tell me about your support system to assist you in making it through your title year.” I received some great answers from the contestants; however, that is not always the case. It surprises me the number of people that have not had that discussion with their partner and researched how a title affects a relationship. A relationship is difficult enough to manage at times and when you throw in a title, it becomes a bit more difficult. So contestants, communicate with your partners and your support system. You will need them onboard with you! You cannot get through a title year successfully without communicating before you run and then especially after you are awarded the title. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now! LOL

That afternoon, I took a nap! I was not feeling too well, and I knew that Saturday evening would be a long evening and I needed all of my wits about me. That evening, they held a formal leather dinner and then a social for a couple of hours before the contest. Then the contest started. You may see photos of the contest at This was a perfect production and you could tell the Ottawa Knights had taken special care to ensure that this production went off without a hitch. Very professional!

I offer one suggestion to make the entire production complete: Offer a sign interpreter. I was told by someone that the deaf community was not that large; however, y’all know my argument to that reasoning. Even if only one person needs the interpreter, then you have an interpreter. Those with hearing impairments have every right to enjoy the contest just like everyone else. But I will say this about the production team: When they discovered I needed an interpreter, they bent over backwards to get one for me; however, they were not able to do so. I am fortunate in that I can read lips from a mile away, so I was still able to enjoy the contest. However, I have no doubt that the production team will offer this service in the future, and I learned that I need to be more proactive in making my needs known and not assuming that interpreters will be provided. And, please, do not take this as me being upset with anyone. I am not. I am thankful that I had this chance to shed light on the sign interpreter situation. This is how we improve our community and that is what this journey is all about, right!!?? The entire Ottawa community was one of the most welcoming, nicest and thoughtful group of individuals I could ever have had the privilege of visiting with. I can honestly say that Ottawa is on my short list for returning next year!

Again, the contest was awesome and I had an incredible time! Congratulations to Mike Tattersall for being named Mr. Leather Ottawa!

I do want to tell you about the fundraiser that Rick and I spearheaded with Brendan. As you guys know, Brendan has a red Mohawk. He stated that he was wanting to cut if off, as he is about to search for another job opportunity in a couple of months. So Rick and I (never a good combination) asked him if he would not mind auctioning off the cutting of his hair with the audience that evening. He agreed! So, after his step-down speech (amazing speech!), I walked out and let him know how proud of him I was, but that with everything in life, change was inevitable. And in order to raise money for the next Mr. Leather Ottawa’s travel fund, we would be selling, for $10 an inch, a clip of his hair. And the person that paid the ten dollars would be able to cut the hair off of his head. Was that was complete, we would then auction to the highest bidder the chance to chance to clip the remainder off with a pair of clippers. Over $500 was raised! The crowd lined up for the chance and, although it was all in good fun and for charity, I have to give Brendan the loudest of accolades. He was a true sport through the entire event and still looks like a million bucks with his newly shaved head!

After the contest, I went back to the room for bed. Again, I had not been feeling well, so I wanted to get to bed and get some rest. In all of this crazy travel, I have to take time to take care of myself and make sure I get the rest that I need.

Sunday morning, Rick and I got up so we could attend the Victory Brunch. Again, it was an amazing time and I enjoyed spending time with everyone in a more relaxing, non-contest, atmosphere. After brunch, I headed to the room to complete about four hours worth of schoolwork. I will be so thankful when this semester is over and I can take the spring semester off. My world will be a lot less stressful! Come on December 19th! Graduation date!
That evening, before we headed to the final dinner, Peter came to see me. Peter was one of my IML judges. He and I had a very good conversation about my travel schedule, my education, my hearing, etc. He said he was concerned I was doing too much and that I needed to ensure that I took care of myself. He said that he was amazed as to how much of my hearing I had lost since IML and that he was sure that my stress levels were not helping the situation. I promised him I would take care of myself better; and he said that I had better or he was going to contact David (my husband) and then send Mindy (one of my other IML judges) down to Dallas to whip my ass! (LOL; and that’s a nervous laugh, because Mindy could and would . . .) I will say this, I have never in my life felt like I had more people watching my back for me and caring about me. I truly am a lucky man. But I do need to ensure I take care of myself.

Then Rick and I headed to the dinner. There was a jazz band playing, and needless to say, it was noisy! But it is always so great to spend time after the contest with the community. Everyone is more relaxed and conversation is always great!

We then headed back to the hotel so we could pack. Brendan came by one last time to say goodbye. I am so proud of him. He had an amazing year as Mr. Leather Ottawa and he is truly an amazing young man! He will go far, not just within our community, but also in life.

And now, it is Monday and I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane for D.C. and then off to Dallas. I look forward to seeing my husband, our boy and our puppies. As much as I am thrilled to be IML and being given the opportunity to travel the world representing our community, I miss being home. But we are about to the half-way point of the title year! The second half of this journey will make the first part look like a cakewalk though! LOL!

Next up: Detroit for Mr. Detroit Eagle.

Your Leather Brother,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mr. Maryland Leather 2010

Good Evening Everyone,

Rik Newton-Treadway, the current Mr. Maryland Leather, was one of my International Mr. Leather brothers, having competed alongside me. He is an amazing man, both personally and within our community. When I reached out to my IML brothers, I let Rik know that I would be at his step-down, hell or high-water. He had informed me that this was an Anniversary Year (20th) for the contest, and they were only having former MML’s judge the contest, so I would not be able to fill the role of a judge. That did not bother me in the least. By not having to judge the contest, I was able to see the contest as an audience member, and more importantly, had the chance to mix and mingle with the crowd compared to having to serve as a judge and the schedule attached to it.

So I flew up on Thursday. Y’all know how much I like to get there the day before the event, in case of flight delays/cancellations. I do not like to be late to events, so coming in a day earlier is more relaxing and also affords me the opportunity to settle in and maybe see some sights.
Rik picked me up at the airport on Thursday and he had to run some errands in preparation for the MML contest. As we were running the errands, he was able to show me some of the sights of Baltimore. I was surprised (in a good way) about the ‘look’ of Baltimore. It was more industrial than I had envisioned. I do not know where my vision of Baltimore stemmed from; however, it did differ. The architecture was incredible! I love that the city renovates buildings rather than tearing them down and building anew. It preserves the look and feel and spirit of a city. Incredible city, to say the least.

That evening we had dinner with many of Rik’s family. Some of them, I already knew and some of them I was able to meet for the first time. I enjoyed meeting them. They truly are a family with a wonderful spirit about them.

Friday morning I went to the gym with Nate. I was able to do some cardio and weight lifting, so yeah!! I have to ensure I am able to fit into my leather! David would kill me if I ever had to go out and purchase new leather!

Friday evening we went to the Meet & Greet. This is where I was truly able to meet so many people of the Baltimore community. What an amazing group of people. So welcoming and genuine. If you’ve ever walked into a room and felt the presence of a community that was in sync, then this is what it was like visiting with the community. Besides the supporting community, Dakota (American Leather Woman), Johnny Boy (American Leather boy), Damian (Mr. New Jersey Leather 2010), tons of former MML’s, many other current and former titleholders, the three contestants and their supporters were in attendance. It was hard not to have a great time! And I didn’t have to be in “judge” mode!

The contest began on Saturday at 2 p.m., so it was an early start in preparing to get ready. Master Mike (Mike Zuhl) had contacted me that morning to let me know that due to being under the weather, he would not be able to make it to Rik’s step down and asked if I would read a message from him during the contest. I was honored that Mike asked me to this, so I was more than thrilled to jump at the chance. During the contest, the emcee asked Rik to come to the stage and then asked his entire family to come to the stage. I read the letter from Mike and I must say I was never more touched by a letter than the one I read to Rik from Mike. Obviously, Rik was very moved by the words as well, as tears came down his face. Rik is an amazing man, and it truly was an honor to be there for him at this moment.

The contest was a huge success and ran on time (there is a lot to be said for contests that run on schedule! LOL). Congratulations to all of the contestants for a superb job in representing your community and to Justin Smith for being selected Maryland Mr. Leather 2010. I wish all of you the very best in your journey!

After the contest, we had a catered dinner (YUM!). It was great to spend time with Richard, John, Spankie, Johnny Boy, Dakota, and others. I had seen most of them last week in San Francisco; however, any time with them is grand!!

We then drove back to Rik’s home, changed outfits and went to the Victory Party at the Eagle. It was also another opportunity afforded to me to spend time with the community and socialize. I was able to spend some time with John H. (Mr. DC Eagle 2009), John N. (Mr. NJ Leather 2009), Dave B., Richard (photographer extraordinaire!), Rik and many others. I even played pool John N. and that was hilariously funny. Neither John nor I is the natural at playing pool and it was painfully obvious. I then played Dave B. and he whopped my ass. So my pool career was over before it ever began. Then it was off to Rik’s home, as I was tired and it had been a long day.

Sunday was a day for touring. We got a late start; however, we made it to Ft. McHenry, the Shot Tower and a few other incredible sites around Baltimore. Bear joined us, so I was able to get some great shots of him around the city. That evening, Rik, Andy, Connie, Lou, Eric and I played spades (or some very unique rendition of spades . . . LOL) and enjoyed each others company. It was genuinely nice to sit and relax and spend some down time with them. Before bed, Rik stopped by my room and we were able to just sit and chat about “life”. Again, he is an incredible man, and it meant so much to me that we were able to sit and share and confide in each other. And no, we did not braid each others hair or do our nails while we chatted. We did that the night before the contest! LOL

Before I headed out today (Monday), I was able to sit down with Andy and he conducted an interview with me. It was a great conversation and I enjoyed sharing my journey with him. I look forward to the article coming out! I had read some of his other interviews and he is a thorough and fair writer!

I recommend everyone make it to Baltimore on December 12, 2009 for the 12 Days of Christmas fundraiser. It is a great cause and I can guarantee that you will have an incredible time!! I would be there again; however, I had a previously scheduled event in Los Angeles.
Now I am 38,000 feet in the air, headed home for two days to spend some time with my husband, David, our boy, adam, and our four puppies. I relish this grand opportunity to travel, represent our community and meet each and every one of you; I never could have imagined this as part of my life journey. However, I would be lying if I said I did not look forward to my flights home to see my family and wrap my arms around them.

On another note unrelated to this trip, I wanted to let everyone know that my blog will be voice recorded and uploaded beginning Thanksgiving weekend, in addition to the standard written format we have all grown accustomed. We have a large number of people within our community who are sight impaired and not able to read a computer screen (and thus my blog), so to remedy the situation, I will go back and read each blog as a separate podcast and post them. I will then blog and record the podcast each week. I hope our community finds this additional media useful and will alert others that might be able to use this media to its availability.

Next up: Ottawa, Canada for Ottawa Mr. Leather. I depart early Thursday morning. Until then, take care of yourselves.

Your Leather Brother,


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

International Leather Sir - boy - Community Bootblack

Good Evening Everyone,

International Leather Sir, boy and Community Bootblack was held in San Francisco this past weekend. David was able to join me at the event, and it was a great time not only because the event was outstanding, but also due to my husband being in attendance!! As everyone knows, David is rarely able to attend events with me, so it is truly special when he is able to attend.

I arrived Thursday and David arrived late Thursday evening. I met up with just about everyone I knew at this event. It literally took an hour to walk through the lobby. boy jason, due to Sir Jason competing in the contest, was "leased" (LOL!) to David and I for the weekend. At one point, boy jason commented that being the boy to IML was tiring, because we never seemed to move but took hours greeting and meeting people. I had to chuckle because I thought, "Welcome to my world!" I love it!! But it does take some getting used to if you're not used to it. But please note that boy jason was joking! boy adam will be joining me at Mid-Atlantic Leather in January, and I look forward to his reaction. He will have to also be at the top of his game in order to keep up with me AND all of you!!! LOL

On Thursday evening, we went to a Meet & Greet at Mr. S Leather. A great gathering and I was able to see Josh. I don't get to see him often, so it was nice being able to run into him. I was also able to meet most of the contestants. Right after that, we went to another Meet & Greet at the hotel. It was there that I was able to meet the rest of the contestants. This was an incredible ILSb class and they all seemed to be prepared for the contest. (Once the contest started, it was proven to be true!!)

Friday, David and I went shopping for a new leather jacket for him. We found exactly what he wanted and at a great price! I also purchased a new pair of leather pants!! That evening was the first part of the contest. The Sirs and boys gave their speeches and participated in jock wear. All of them did an incredible job and brought their own unique style to each category. My compliments to all of their efforts. Y'all know how much I love to hear about other people's journeys and how their journey was affected or not affected by events or circumstances. To that end, the speeches were incredible! That evening, we went out to a couple of the bars; however, stayed at the SF Eagle for the most part. Gary, my IML brother was there (and not working), and he ensured that everyone had a grand time! In fact, most everyone was still feeling the effects of that grand time well into the afternoon the next day . . . LOL

Saturday, David and I slept in and that was an experience for the books!! We did not have the puppies in the bed with us, so we were able to cuddle all night and we also did NOT set the alarm clock!! Once we did get up, we sold the 2010 International Mr. Leather calendars (see previous blog) for a few hours. The community was very supportive and we had a great showing. Remember! All of the profits go to The Leather Archives & Museum, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and Hearing from the Heart! None of the profits go to my travel fund. (I think some folks were under that impression.) Purchase your calendar today!!

That evening, we attended the 2nd and final portion of the contest. It was an incredible showing and I was proud of each and every one of the contestants. They brought their own unique style and journey to the stage and the contest and made the entire event shine. Big congratulations to Sir Tony Palazzo and boy brad hill, International Leather Sir and boy respectively. And a HUGE congratulations to Syr Evan from Dallas, Texas on being selected International Community BootBlack. Our hometown is proud of you!!!!!!!

Since the final portion of the contest corresponded with Halloween night, we went out to the SF Eagle to celebrate. Thank you Gary for your California hospitality!! I think I can say for all of us, we had an incredible time!!! After the SF Eagle, we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat and then went home.

Sunday, David had to leave for home. We took him to the airport (thank you Jay and Michael!!) and then I headed to Stompers for the victory brunch. Had a great time, as always. Then we headed over to the SF Eagle for the beer bust. For me it was a Crown and Coke bust. In fact, after my IML title year, I will more than likely be running for the Mr. Betty Ford Leather title. I had a great time there and then we were supposed to head to the Lone Star; however, the friends I was with thought they knew how to get there and they did not. They took me to the Hole in the Wall instead. So we hung out there for a while. It was nice to wrap up the weekend there.

I flew home on Monday. I've been doing school and day-to-day stuff since returning home. It's always good to be home, even if it is for only two days.

Next up: Baltimore for Mr. Maryland Leather contest. Looking forward to it!!

Your Leather Brother,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"1000 in 25" Challenge

David and I began the program "Hearing from the Heart" with The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. to raise money to assist individuals within our community with the purchase of hearing aids. Our first project to raise money has been the 2010 International Mr. Leather #31 calendars and sales are going extremely well; however, the demand for assistance is higher than we ever anticipated. The requests for assistance has been overwhelming since making the announcement and the requests do not look like they will slow down. In response to this, David and I are issuing the "1000 in 25 Challenge" to our community; 1000 calendars sold in 25 days. As a community, when we make this goal, 8 individuals, at minimum, will be provided with a hearing aid before Christmas.

31 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, yet 24 million are without hearing aids. Why, you ask? Hearing aids are not usually covered by medical insurance companies. With the cost for one hearing aid around $2,500, most people are not able to make the purchase. David and I spent $5,000 on my hearing aids, and whereas we are fortunate that we had the money to make the purchase, there are plenty of individuals within our own community who are not able to make this purchase.

I know that one day soon I will have lost my ability to hear the spoken word; however, studies have shown that persons who wear hearing aids are able to hear for longer periods of time before losing their hearing entirely. Think of it as a "use it or lose it" situation. The daily use of hearing aids enables a person whose hearing loss is inevitable to hear for a longer period of time; if a person does not use hearing aids, a person loses their hearing more rapidly. The sooner we get people fitted with a hearing aid, the sooner we can help them potentially offset their hearing loss.

I realize that 1000 calendars may seem like a lot of calendars and $20 may seem like a lot of money for a calendar. And yes, this is the part where Sally Struthers would usually talk about how "For a cup of coffee a day you can sponsor a child" and parade all the little children around her and say, "Do it for the children". I'm not going to do that. I will parade hot leathermen and leatherwomen around me though, but that has nothing to do with the selling of calendars. That's another fund raiser . . .

But I will say this. I know what it is like to slowly hear the world go a little quieter every day. I relish the moments that I hear my husband, my friends and my community tell me they love me. That is why this project is so important to me. I want everyone to hear those words as long as they possibly can hear them.

I know our community has 1000 individuals that are able to spend $20. Maybe at this time it isn't you and that is understandable. But do you know of someone that is able and willing? Forward this information to them in an email and send them a link to If they do not want to pay with a credit card, they may mail a check made out to "The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc." to 2641 Heatherwood Drive, Dallas, TX 75228. And why stop at only one person? The more we sell, the more hearing aids we are able to purchase.

I thank those that have already stepped forward to support this cause and I thank you for stepping forward now.

Your Leather Brother,


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kinky Kollege - Chicago

Good Evening Everyone,

I spent last weekend in Chicago attending Kinky Kollege. It is sponsored by Leather Sins and a pansexual event. I had an incredible time attending the event. Once again, I was able to see so many of my friends and make new ones!!

I arrived on Thursday and was able to spend the afternoon completing many of my school projects. Then I went to dinner with Mark, Rob, dak, Joey and Adam. Great meal!!

That evening I stayed at Master Z's (Chicago) home. We had to get up early the next morning, as he is the Event Director. The classes started on Friday, and I gave my first class to Kinky Kollege.

My class centered around my journey to International Mr. Leather and the plans I have during and after the title year. I thought it went well. I had joked with my good friend Master John that I didn't think I'd have more than 5 people, and if that were the case, to bring the mixers and I'd bring the alcohol and we'd just sit around and talk and cut-up. I had 15 people attend and was very pleased. At the end of the class, we had an open Q&A session. I actually had fun with the class and found it interesting the questions that were asked.

Afterwards, they held the opening ceremonies. At the Meet and Greet, my friend Mark Frazier introduced me to Guy Baldwin (IML 1989). It was an honor to finally meet him!

That evening, I turned in early; however, I did not get much sleep. I have had problems lately sleeping. I am tired but have problems getting to sleep. Not sure what that's all about . . .

Saturday morning I attended Mark's class on Breathe Play. It was a packed class and, as always, mark gave an interesting, informative and amusing class. Then it was off to the Vendor mart. I then met up with Rob and dak. Rob was tired (as he had worked the evening before) so I let him take a nap in my room so he didn't have to drive all the way home. dak and I went off to eat lunch. It was wonderful to finally meet dak and spend some time with him. He is an incredible man and everything that Rob had said he was/is.

That evening I had dinner with George, Master John and Mark Frazier. We sat at the restaurant for a few hours and discussed many topics. With my schedule and Mark's schedule, it is rare that we are able to sit and speak candidly about the community, our lives, and so on. Mark is a great friend of mine, as well as a mentor; so I value his opinion greatly. Needless to say, we had an incredible dinner.

That evening, I did something I had never done before. I used a single tail whip on a real person. I've always had a mental block about using one on someone, as I have felt my technique was lacking. However, Master John worked with me and before I knew it, I was using it on George. I did very well (if I say so myself) and only two of them went astray. And for those of you wondering: George lived to tell people about it!

I also used sounds and eletro-play with George. He was a true spot and Master John was an incredible instructor. Thank you to both of you for allowing me to learn.

Sunday I attended Mark's class on carotid play. That was a very interesting class! I had seen it performed before; however, I have not had it done to me personally. (And it still have not.) But again, Mark's deliver in a class is exceptional!

After that class, I attended a class on Watersports. Very good class. Alot of basic information and I would highly recommend it for anyone that is just getting into the fetish and wanting to learn the basics, as well as some intermediate things.

On Sunday, most people left town. I stayed until Monday. This allowed me some downtime before heading home on Monday. I was also able to spend some time with Rob. He and I hadn't seen each other since the last time I was in Chicago, so we were able to catch up and spend some time together. Always nice to spend time with Rob. He's a truly remarkable young man.

On Monday, I flew home and, as always, it was incredible to see my husband, our boy and the puppies. Sleeping in my own bed is always a great thing!!

Next up: San Francisco for ILSb. I leave Thursday.

Your Leather Brother,


Monday, October 26, 2009

2010 International Mr. Leather Calendars

Good Evening Everyone,

The 2010 International Mr. Leather #31 Calendars are in and ready to ship. All proceeds from the sale of the calendars will support the Leather Archives & Museum, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and "Hearing from the Heart" (a program designed to assist those persons within our community with hearing impairments).You may order online at (click on SSC Fund and scroll to the bottom of the web page).

Online orders are processed through Paypal. If you would prefer to order your calendar(s) with a check, please mail a check made out to the "Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc." to:

Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc.
2641 Heatherwood Drive
Dallas, Texas 75228

The cost is $20 for the calendar, or $25 for an autographed calendar. Please stipulate where the calendar(s) should be mailed. Shipping within the 48 contiguous states is included in the purchase price; however, if shipping outside of that area, please add $5.00. If you are ordering an autographed calendar, please let us know how you would like the autograph to read.

You may also read more about the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. at

Thank you for your continued suppport of the Leather Archives and Museum, the NCSF, and "Hearing from the Heart".

Your Leather Brother,


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mr. Marcus

Good Evening Everyone,

We have lost an icon in our community. I realize the word "icon" is often used to describe people and, in some cases, the word may be overused; however, in my mind and in my heart, this is the only word that truly describes this man. In my world and in our community, a void exists with his passing.

Mr. Marcus first came into my life by way of my good friend Mark Frazier. Before I ran for Mr. Texas Leather, Mark introduced the two of us via email and Mr. Marcus and I fast became friends. He was the first to put me on the international scene by putting my photos on his site and writing about me in the Bay Area Reporter. He was always a true gentleman with the sharpest of wit when we corresponded via email.

The first time Mr. Marcus made me laugh hysterically was when I sent him a handwritten thank you note (y'all know how I love to send handwritten notes). I was thanking him for covering the Mr. Texas Leather contest. Guess what he did in return? He sent me a handwritten thank you note thanking me for the thank you note I wrote to him. It was classic! I chuckled for days and thought I would "one up" him, so I sent him a thank you note thanking him for the thank you note that thanked me for the thank you note I had sent to him. Well, I got my first lesson in that you cannot "one up" Mr. Marcus. He sent me a thank you note for sending him a thank you note that thanked him for writing me a thank you note that thanked me for the thank you note that . . . well, you get the picture. I still have these handwritten notes and they are part of my personal archives. I cherish them immensely and still laugh about it.

The first time I met Mr. Marcus in person was at International Mr. Leather this year. I introduced myself and he was as pleasant and witty as a man could be. We spoke of the contest and the madness surrounding it. It was brief; however, he said at the end of the conversation (with all seriousness), "You know, I never did get a thank you note from you thanking me for that last thank you note I sent." He raised an eyebrow, waited five seconds and then smiled that mischievous smile of his and walked away. I laughed my ass off!

Later on that same day, my husband David ran into him and introduced himself to Mr. Marcus. Mr. Marcus did not miss a beat. He said, "Jeffrey Payne's husband? Mr. Texas? Well, he never told me he had a husband. Hum?" (Reread that quote and drag out the sound of "me" for about ten seconds. That's how Mr. Marcus said it!) And then got this huge grin on his face! David was speechless and y'all know my David; he is never speechless. Then as Mr. Marcus turned on a dime, he said, "Make sure to tell him I said that." David laughed all the way back up to the room to tell me.

After I was chosen IML, Mr. Marcus and I corresponded regularly. He was always attentive to what my schedule was, and wanted to know where I was going. He mailed every issue of the Bay Area Reporter to me (actually he started doing that right after I won Mr. Dallas Eagle). He was always interested in who I met along the way and gave me the names of those persons I needed to make sure to meet while on the road. He gave me many words of advice; words that I will always cherish. I remember him telling me the weekend of San Francisco Pride (at the Ms. San Francisco Leather fundraiser) that I needed to make sure I took care of myself; that it was a long year and to make sure I had some down time. "But you're still young and look pretty good. You'll do okay." And then that damn smile again!

The Monday after Folsom Fair, I went to visit with Mr. Marcus. Randy, Alex, Loren, Rick and Brian were all there. (The photo is attached; PLEASE be respectful of the memory of Mr. Marcus, the photographer and myself by not reproducing this photograph or using it in any publication. In other words, it's copyrighted and unless you have written permission, you may not use it.) It was incredible to spend time with him. We had received a list of all of his favorite food items, and I do believe we got everything on the list for him. Tacos, a burger, fries, orange soda, coffee, etc. When we arrived, his 'normal' lunch had arrived, and he tossed it and ate what we had brought to him. You could tell he loved every bite!! But we were able to show him some photos of Folsom Fair, and share some of the stories. He asked about certain people and what they were up to.
Mr. Marcus was in prime shape that day. He was just as witty, humorous and sarcastic as ever! He made us laugh the entire visit. Then there was the "I-Yatollah" remark from Mr. Marcus (directed at me) that came as we were saying goodbye. I reached down to hug him goodbye and he said, "Good to see you, I-(dramatic pause) Atollah." I now have the nicknames of IML, I-Hop (given to me by a drunk girl at SF Pride and Randy), Mr. Intellect (given to me by a drunk man at Folsom and Randy), I-Poop (really - don't ask, but know that Randy was present when the name was given), and I-Atollah. Mr. Marcus was determined that he would give the last "I-" nickname to me, and he did.
I will miss Mr. Marcus for many reasons. Everyone will miss him for their own reasons; however, as a community we have suffered a great loss and yet I know Mr. Marcus would hate for all of us to get bogged down in it. He'd want us to continue moving forward and we will; knowing that we are a better community and a better person because he was a part of our lives.
There is a Celebration of Mr. Marcus' life being held on November 21, 2009 in San Francisco. I encourage everyone that is able to attend to go and be a part of this event. If you are not able to attend remember that November 21, 2009 has been declared a Day of Leather Celebration, in his honor. Wear your leathers or Levis and do something special to celebrate the life of Mr. Marcus.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. Months ago, I had given my word to the Detroit community that I would attend their event that weekend. If there is one thing I have always stood by is that when I give my word to anyone, I stand by it. I know in my heart that Mr. Marcus would understand. We will celebrate Mr. Marcus' life in Detroit on November 21 and we will honor this great man, along with the rest of our international community.

I miss you, Mr. Marcus. I miss your ability to make my heart and soul laugh and smile. Thank you for being a part of my journey. We shall one day meet up again; and when we do, I'll have that thank you note I still owe you in hand.
Your Leather Brother,

Rio Grande Leather Weekend

Good Evening Everyone,

I spent this past weekend in Albuquerque for the Rio Grande Leather Weekend. I had an exceptional time and it was great to meet and mingle with the community.

I got in on Thursday and had dinner with Matthew. Friday morning I had to do school work (fun. . .) and then late Friday afternoon I registered for the event and we then attended the opening ceremonies. Saturday were the classes and I actually got a massage! It was freaking awesome! I am the one that always gives the massage, so receiving one was a real treat! Then we had some more classes and then had to get ready for the main show that evening.

The main show featured many performances, the handing over of the titles of Mr. and Ms. Rio Grande Leather 2010 (the contest had been held a few weeks prior), a speech by yours truly, and a jock auction. The main show was an incredible time. I was a part of the jock auction, and we auctioned off a pair of my Nasty Pig yellow and black jocks. Good times!!

Congratulations to Tyler and jayson in being named Mr & Ms Rio Grande Leather 2010. I know you will both do an exceptional job during your title year and beyond.

On Sunday, I toured Albuquerque with Matthew. We went to the top of some mountain that was in the area (the name escapes me at the moment) and walked for what seemed forever. There seemed to be a large lack of oxygen due to the altitude. I am in pretty good shape, but damn, I needed an oxygen tank!

I would like to thank Matthew, as well as producers, volunteers and the Leather Community for making my time in Albuquerque so wonderful. I appreciate everything each and every one of you did, not just for me, but the entire community!

Your Leather Brother,


Friday, October 16, 2009

The Importance of Being Prepared

Good Evening Everyone,

Before I begin, I want everyone to know that I cleared the writing of this blog with Master John before I posted it. This story involves him and I would never post something concerning someones personal life without their consent. However, he and I discussed it at length and feel that sharing this story would benefit our community. And isn't that why we are here?

As you know, I went to Tulsa this a couple of weekends ago for the Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2010 contest. Master John, from Ft. Lauderdale, had also flown into town, along with Sir Jason and boy jason. Saturday night we arrived to the contest and were mingling with the crowd and I was taking photo's of everyone. I had just taken a photo of Master John and boy jason, when I asked John a question. He looked to his right and then back at me, and then to his right and then back at me. I could tell he was wanting to say something; however, he just could not say anything. It was almost like he had seen a ghost and was at a loss for words. I said, "John, talk to me. What's going on?" I honestly thought he was joking around and just could not find the words he was trying to say. Then I realized that was not the case. He grabbed my shirt and sash and started to go down. boy jason was standing behind him, and all I could get out was "jason, help me. jason, help me." John's eyes had rolled to the back of his head. He was passing out. boy jason literally carried him to the floor using his own weight as leverage. John was down. His body stiffened and he started to shake violently. I personally have never experienced this situation; however, there were suddenly five nurses in the house on top of the situation. Mark, an RN and Teddy, trauma nurse and three others (I think there was even a prenatal nurse amongst the group) were telling us what to do. Sir Jason was there and said he was diabetic. So we got some orange juice, thinking his insulin was off. But that did not seem to do the trick. Meanwhile, one of the patrons had called 911 and the paramedics were there in five minutes. They took him to the hospital and he has since been released and is home. The doctors could never say exactly what it was that happened to Master John that evening. Inconclusive.

Here is where Master John and I think our community can learn something. Sir Jason knew Master John well; however, he did not know everything about him as to his medical history. I know Master John very well; however, I know very little about his medical history. This was a wake up call for us because we are huge travelers and, although we travel with friends all of the time, very few people know of our medical history, including each of us knowing about the other.

Personally, I am out of town just about every weekend. Most people know that I am HIV positive, as I have been very open about the situation. However, no one knows if I take medications, or if I have any other medical issues.

And that is what happened with John. We all know him and love him; however, we did not "know" his medical history enough to share it with the doctors at a time when he could not share it himself. I know he is HIV positive and Sir Jason knows he is a diabetic (and yes, John has given me permission to share that information with everyone). However, we did not know if he had a heart condition other than to say, "Well, he never mentioned one".

So John and I have decided to share with you that it would be a great idea to take precautions; especially when you travel. That way if something does happen during your travels, someone else can speak for you when you may not be able to speak for yourself.

1 - Note Cards: Place a note card in your wallet of all medications you are on, the contact information of your primary care physician, other medical history and an emergency contact. At minimum, the names of a few contacts that know your history.

2 - ICE: In your cell phone, store a phone number with the name of ICE (which stands for "In Case of Emergency") of someone that knows your medical history and can speak for you. In fact, store two or three "ICE" entries in case the first person is not able to answer.

3 - Communicate: Communicate with the people around you. For instance, John and I have spent numerous hours speaking about all the handsome men that walk by us and all the "good" trouble we've gotten into in the past; however, we never took a moment to speak about our medical histories. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out conversation. Just share it with it with someone and keep them in the loop. One 60 second conversation could have saved alot of guessing on our part. I think John and I can spare 60 seconds to discuss our medical histories with one another.

If you have other steps you think would be valuable, please post comments to this blog and inform everyone.

I realize that not everyone wants to share their medical information across the world. I'm not asking that, so please do not interpret it as such. I realize that not everyone is going to stand on a stage at IML and tell the world they are HIV positive. I did it because I felt it was part of my journey to share it with others and hopefully someone will take that information and go get tested themselves. But today, I'm only asking that you share your medical information with at least one other person that is close to you and then provide a way to contact that person should a need arise.

At the end of the day, it truly could mean saving your life.

And a special thank you to the Tulsa Leather Community for taking care of Master John during and after the event. You showed all of us, once again, why your community is one of the best!!

Your Leather Brother,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update on my Hearing

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I went to the audiologist yesterday and, actually, had a good report, all things considered. As most of you know I am losing my hearing, and I recently I have started to lose more of the "understanding" aspect of my hearing than the actual "noise" level. The audiologist explained it like this: along the nerve path from my ear to my brain, I have these 'pot holes' where some of the sounds fall into and don't make it all the way to the brain. Thus, I lose those sounds. That is why I am so intent on being able to see someones mouth when they speak, because I can usually make out what they are saying by lip reading. I am also smart enough to follow a conversation and imagine what a person is saying because it "fits" the conversation at hand.

David has noticed recently that he changes topics on me mid-sentence (as he always has and I have always found that to be an endearing quality about him) but now-a-days, I get somewhat confused by what he is talking about. This is due to my not hearing what he is saying and in my mind, I am going one way with the topic at hand and he has switched topics. So I get this bewildered look on my face and say, "What are you talking about?" It's because I have to take what little I am hearing and put it with what my eyes see their lips saying and then use my brain to think about what you're probably trying to say and then try to put it all together into a coherent thought. When I don't get all three of those things working together, then I get lost in the conversation and have to try to pick up where I can.

This, unfortunately, has also resulted in what I call a 'bad' habit of mine. When I am around David or anyone that I know and call a friend, I have no issue saying "what", "huh", or looking at them like "I'm lost, repeat that". But when I am around folks I do not know, I feel as if I'm troubling them to repeat things, so I struggle if I miss part of the conversation. I realize that is not fair to them, so I am working on asking people to repeat themselves and to also make sure to look at me when they speak. The few times I have done that, most people do not seem to mind. Although there was one young man in San Francisco that I asked him to repeat what he said (we were in a crowded bar for God's sake) and he just said, "Never mind" and walked away. Ugh! I felt bad because I had to ask him to repeat what he said but I had no idea what he was saying . . .

So my hearing continues to deteriorate; however, they let me know that by wearing my hearing aids, I can actually slow the progression of hearing loss. It's been proven that if you use your hearing aids, and thus, use your ears, then the progression of hearing loss is slowed. It's a "use it or lose it" kind of mentality. Even so, I wear them all of the time, except to bed.

So that's the update on my hearing. Looking forward to seeing all of you during my travels!!

Your Leather Brother,

Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2010

Good Evening Everyone,

Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2010 was held in Tulsa, OK this year and it was awesome! I've been to Tulsa for two events now, and each time, I have had a magnificent time! Fortunately, David was able to make the trip with me!! Also, boy adam, Lamalani, Sir Jason, boy jason, Master John, Mark Frazier, Ron Todd, Sir David, a large number of Leather Knights brothers, and countless others made it into town. It was a great reunion of sorts, because most of these people are from Dallas and the only time I get to see them now-a-days is when I'm out of town at events they also attend! LOL

I flew in on Friday afternoon (David and boy adam drove up after work Friday evening) and Brad (OML 2009) picked me up at the airport. It was great to see Brad and I'd like to thank him again for sponsoring my IML 2009 website this year and serving as webmaster of the site as well. By his taking on this initiative, he has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and I appreciate all of his work and creativity!

Friday night was the bar crawl. Lamalani had made it in time to Tulsa from Seattle to join us. I so miss her, but I get to see her again in two weeks in San Francisco! Back back to the bar crawl: It was alot of fun. There were five different bars that we were bused around to. I was able to meet up with so many people that I have met during my travels. David and boy adam finally made it in when we got to the Tulsa Eagle. Then we headed back to the hotel to the hospitality suite. Spent some time there and then crashed for the evening.

Saturday morning we held the interview portion of the contest. There were two contestants: Ron and Jonathon. Both of them did extremely well and both have truly grown in their journey just since the Tulsa Mr. Leather contest.

That afternoon we attended some classes. One class was on cigars, one on sounds and the other on sensory deprivation. Very interesting, all of them!

That evening was the contest. The contest was great and both of the contestants truly brought their game on and competed very well. I judged with Ron, Mark, Lamalani, Brad, Sir Jason, Michelle and James. It was indeed an honor to be a part of the contest.

I will say that it was also a great feeling when my husband presented the colors for Leather Knights and boy adam presented the colors of the DFW leatherboys. The Leather Knights had made a road trip to Tulsa and received one of the biggest applause's that evening. My LK brothers came out in force and it was incredible to see and hear them!!

Once the contest was over and the votes were tallied, Ron Harwood was named Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2010. Congratulations to Ron and I know he will make Oklahoma proud during his title year.

That night we headed back to the hotel hospitality suite and Bear came out for his own five minute meet and greet. Then boy adam and I headed back to the room and hit the hay. I was tired. David made it back to the room around three.

Sunday we got up and I flew home and David and boy adam drove home. It was a short weekend, but as usual, the Oklahoma community can pack alot of fun into a small amount of time! Thank you to everyone in the community for making the weekend so wonderful!!

Next up: Albuquerque, New Mexico for Rio Grande Leather.

Your Leather Brother,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mates Leather Weekend - Provincetown

Good Evening Everyone,

I had just returned from Folsom on Tuesday and no sooner did laundry and kissed my husband hello before kissing him goodbye and flying out on Thursday to Provincetown for Mates Leather Weekend. Barry, Mr. Conn. Leather and my IML brother, had invited me to the event and it just looked like too much fun to pass up.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and Barry picked me up and we drove the few hours to P’Town. We stayed at Barry and his partner, David’s, condo. We went and grabbed a quick drink once we arrived; however, we decided an early night was probably the best as the weekend was busy with events.

Friday we toured downtown and I logged onto to look at my school website only to realize that I had a paper due THAT day. I had already read the materials, books, conducted the research, etc.; however, I had not written the paper. So I sat at the internet cafĂ© in P-Town and wrote a 7 page paper. That blew the afternoon! We then went back to the hotel and got dressed for the opening reception. Ran into many friends and met more people. Barry is very involved in the community and was able to introduce me to many people. Gladly, I also ran into Loren and Alex. It’s funny, in the last two weeks I have seen more of them than I have of my own husband! LOL

We then went to the Uniform Party and then to this pizza place that gets packed as soon as they close the bars. The pizza was great, but damn it was salty. The next morning, I was so in need of water and I felt so dehydrated (and no, it wasn’t due to alcohol consumption).

Saturday we toured P’Town some more. I bought four pounds of salt-water taffy (David loves that stuff). It was rainy, so we had to maneuver through the rain to get places; however, it was still great to see the sites. I got some great shots of Bear. I know, everyone wants to know what has happened to Bear. Bear is still touring and has had little time to blog, Facebook, or anything else for that matter. However, he is still traveling with me and living the life of Riley. He’s thrilled that we are now Platinum members on American Airlines and he gets to board early and grab a good spot in the overhead compartment.

Saturday (late afternoon), Barry’s husband, David, joined us. We got ready for the Meet and Greet and the contest to be held that evening. Barry and I, along with Tim (Mr. Boston Leather and an IML brother), were serving as judges. The First Mate contest was a great time. I do not think I have ever judged a contest so quickly. Eleven contestants and we were done in 45 minutes. Congratulations to Addam for being selected First Mate 2009! Had a great time judging it!! I will tell you one funny story: I totally busted my ass walking up to the stage they had set up for the judges. I didn’t think couldn't see the first step and there was about a three inch step and I totally busted my ass. But I thought quickly and saved the camera from hitting the floor. Unfortunately, I had a drink in my hand and that went everywhere. Grace – at it’s best.

After the contest, we hung out at the party and then headed to pizza place again for more pizza. It was so good. Not as good as a hotdog from a hotdog street vendor at 2 a.m., but none-the-less, enjoyable.

Sunday was the BBQ. I got to enjoy more hotdogs (I love hotdogs!!) and spend some time with Chris and James. Chris was MAL 2008 and he is incredibly funny. I taught him to sign “Leather Royalty” and he has since learned to point to himself and sign “Leather Royalty”. Unfortunately, I taught his partner how to say “Mental Bitch”. You can imagine the scene. Chris signs “Leather Royalty”, to which James signs “Mental Bitch”. I have created a monster. LOL

The jock party was after the BBQ. I wore my yellow and black Nasty Pig jock. Had a great time. Lots of eye candy, to say the least!! We then changed into regular clothes and Chris, James, Barry and I went to eat at Bayside Betsy’s. Great food!! Make sure when you are in P’Town to go by there and eat. She supports our community and we need to pay it forward!!

After dinner, we went for ice cream (yeppers – I had Lemon Ice Cream!!!). Then Barry and I headed to the condo to clean it up and pack. We then drove to his mother-in-laws home where we spent the night. Monday morning we were up with the cows (had there been cows) and drove the three and a half hours to Hartford so I could hop on my flight back home to Dallas.

Thank you Barry and David for providing a place for me to stay and to Rick, for providing an incredible event for the entire community. I will most definitely make it again next year.

Next up: Tulsa for Oklahoma Mr. Leather this weekend.

Your Leather Brother,