Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) is held in Indianapolis each year and this was the 8th year they were holding the event. I was honored they asked me to judge the Leather Sir, Leather Woman and Leather boy contests. It was an even larger honor once I discovered who the other judges joining me were. My good friend Mark Frazier; my leather brother (and 2nd runner-up at IML this year) Alan Penrod; the 2008 International Leather boy Bill Hoepner; Ms. Olympus Leather 2009 Mistress Simone; the wonderful “mess” gloria; and Mr. Olympus Leather 2004 Daddy Mickey. An awesome group of individuals. It was a privilege to serve with all of them.
I arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon and met up with Lamalani, International Ms. Leather 2009, who arrived later that evening. We hung out with McG and gloria until late in the morning discussing everything from IML to Recon to SoCo. However, with staying up so late, and the hotel NOT calling us with our wakeup call AND the alarm clock not working, Lamalani and I didn’t wake up until 9 a.m. and I had to be at the first judging at 9 a.m.! I was late and y’all know how much I HATE being late! It is rare and I was not happy about this event. However, I got to the judging and everything still went off without a hitch. I will start traveling with my own alarm clock from this point on!
We judged the contestants in the interview portion of the competition and then we were pretty much free until later on that evening when the first installment of the formal portion of the contest began. So Lamalani and I drove over to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I got a few photos of Bear at the Speedway for the book and then we stopped to eat. I then had my boots shined for that evening. Then it was back to the hotel to get dressed for the contest. The first part of the contest consisted of speeches, step-down speeches and introductions. It also consisted of on-stage impromptu questions. During that part of the contest, the contestant who selected me to give him his question (boy quill) called me Gregory Lane and then Gregory Payne. I had to laugh; however, I have been called worse. I didn’t count off for the mistake, but rather found it endearing. It takes a lot to be on a stage and sometimes the oddest things come out of our mouths. He still answered the question in a humorous manner and didn’t let it deter him from what he needed to do. And he apologized afterwards, which was unnecessary. But again, I did find it humorous.
The first part of the contest was now over, so we changed clothing and went out to the local bar. We had a great time and thanks to Chris for giving Lamalani and I a ride back to the hotel. We found out he liked to two-step, so I promised him at least one two-step dance the next time we all went out in exchange for the return trip to the hotel.
Saturday was a free day for the most part, as my only responsibility was to judge the second part of the contest that evening. So I attended the Fireside Chat with Mark Frazier (a filming for the Leather Archives and Museum) and then the auction by the pool. It was there I met Rob. He was/is an honorable man and it was a pleasure meeting him. I will speak more to him in my next post, as he ended up giving me a great tour of Chicago.
That evening we had the second portion of the contest, which consisted of the fantasy portions from the contestants and then the announcement of the winners. Congratulations to Bear (Great Lakes Leather Man), Christiana (Great Lakes Leather Woman), boy quill (Great Lakes Leather boy) and Kristina & fink (Great Lakes Master/slave). I know all of you will serve your community with honor and dignity.
That evening we stayed at the hotel and visited. It was great to catch up with everyone and make new friends. That is the best thing about being able to travel to so many events. I have made more friends during my travels and it’s such a great feeling. Also, whatever time I get to spend with Lamalani is always guaranteed to be an incredible experience!!! I also got to spend a lot of time with boy eddie. He truly has a good soul and it was great getting to spend some time with him and get to know him.
And once again, another event offered a sign interpreter!! Gabriel was incredible and signed for me during both sections of the contest as well as the majority of the auction at the pool. I want to thank GLLA producers for ensuring that a sign interpreter was available to those of us who needed it. Otherwise, we would not be able to enjoy the contest as much. My hats off to you!! Please continue this practice and spread the word to everyone that this is a necessary part of producing a contest.
On Sunday I flew to Chicago and will blog about that separately.
And again, thank you to the producers and sponsors of GLLA, as well as the many participants. Thank you for making me feel welcomed and thank you for an incredible weekend!
Your Leather Brother,