Monday, August 17, 2009

Portland, Oregon

Good Evening Everyone!

It has been over a week since I returned from Portland, Oregon and I'm just now able to blog about my trip. I apologize for the delay!!

I traveled to Portland for the Mr. Oregon Leather contest. I had an awesome time. I was able to stay with Thom and Dominic (Mr. Oregon Leather 2008). Talk about incredible hosts!!! They picked me up at the airport and shuttled my butt all around town for the entire trip. I cannot thank them enough for everything!!

I also had the chance to meet some of the most wonderful men and women. Many of whom judged the contest with me, or participated with the production of the contest in some way, shape or form or were just there to have fun and enjoy the moment. Everyone was incredible. One of the people that I met is in the attached photo. Andy is a great leader within the community and it was a joy to spend some time with him. This photo was taken at the Dirty Duck and Andy actually gave me my first "Voo-Doo" donut. If you are not familiar with Voo-Doo donuts, Google it. OMG! Sugar coma, but damn good! I was only going to eat the Captain Crunch pieces from the donut when I started and before I knew it, I had eaten the entire donut and was licking my fingers when I was done. Waste not - Want not! Thank you Andy! I also have to mention that I met Ronda (one of the Tally Masters for the contest.) She is an incredible woman and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her! Thank you so much for making the weekend so awesome!!

Also, I want to thank Dan from Eugene, Oregon. He stayed with Thom and Dominic and I at the house and it was a sincere pleasure meeting him. It is rare that you find someone of his caliber, and I was honored to have been able to spend time with him and get to know him. You are a fine craftsman and an honorable man!

The contest in Portland takes place during Leather Pride Week. The first item on the agenda when I arrived in Portland was the Picnic held in one of several parks that Portland has to offer. (Beautiful parks, by the way!!) It was really good to see this potluck type of assembly happening within the community. I ate my weight in food, I'm sure . . . but damn it was good food!!! LOL So this event was my introduction into the community and I met so many wonderful people. Did I mention the food? Damn, the food was good!

The next night was the Meet and Greet and it was also great. They did a Vegas style fundraiser in conjunction with the Meet and Greet and I had a blast. Dominic and I played the Roulette table and we both walked away with thousands of dollars in fake money. Then we used it to purchase items during the auction. It was great fun and I can't remember laughing so hard as people were trying to 'borrow' fake money (okay, 'take' fake money) from other people so they could up their own bid for items. It was great fun and of all the Meet and Greets I've been a part of, this one has to rank as the best one yet.

The next day were the interviews in the afternoon (or late morning; I can't remember). Interviews are always interesting to me because not only do I get a chance to learn about the contestants, I also get a chance to learn about the judges. Judges typically ask questions that pertain to subject matters that are important to them and their community, so it helps me in understanding the state of the community and getting a feeling for what is important to the community (at least through the eyes of the judges). I consider it a great learning experience for myself. The interviews went well and the contestants did well. You could see they had prepared. Then the judges and tally masters had lunch and then we chilled and then got ready for the contest.

The contest was very well put together and flowed without a hitch. The emcee, Sister AnNa Wreks-ya, did an incredible job. And I have to take the time to point out that I was THRILLED that Blackout Leather Productions took the bull by the horns and provided a sign interpreter for those of us who needed it!!! KUDOS to you!!!! They made sure that I and others in need of the service were positioned in a spot that we would be able to see the interpreters and my hat goes off to them for taking the step to ensure that everyone could and did enjoy the production. Wait, I didn't have a hat; so my jock goes off to them!!! They also made sure that the space was accessible to those persons with disabilities and, again, that is one of the signs of an incredible producer and an incredible community!! That, my friends, is honorable and I was proud to be associated with this production!

But back to the contest (and off my soapbox).

The contest really was great. The contestants did very well, and congratulations to Brent and Lesset on receiving your titles as Mr and Ms Oregon State Leather. I know each of you will serve your title year and your community with honor and make us very proud of you.

Then it was to the victory party at the Eagle. That was a great time as well. Met more incredible people and even played a video poker machine. I lost . . .

The next day was a luncheon and again, it was wonderful to spend some time with the community. Then we toured the Portland Rose Gardens (OMG! Fucking awesome!!!) Beautiful is the biggest understatement when describing them. Then back to the Eagle for a Beer Bust. For, I think, $10, it was all the beer you could drink and then some. The bargain shopper in me came out and I was all over that! Good times!!

To Val and Dominic, (Mr. and Ms. Oregon State Leather 2008) thank you for an incredible year. You both served your community very well. Dominic, it was an honor to be at your step down. I was (and still am!) so proud of you and the man that you are. To have gone through IML 2009 together and then to be a part of your step down, was a joy for me and I feel very privileged to have been a part of those moments with you. I look forward to many years of friendship with you and Thom. Oh, and thanks to both you and Thom for being my 'first' IML stalkers!! I can't think of anyone I'd rather have as stalkers than the two of you (and mighty good lookin' ones, too!!!) FYI to the world: There is a story here; they really didn't stalk me. I actually stalked them; but a good stalker knows how to turn the tables and make it look like everyone else is the stalker!! ;-)

And as if the weekend could not have been any better, I got to spend time with my sash wife - Lamalani!!! I LOVE HER!! It was so good to see her and I get to see her again in three days!! Thank you, Lamalani, for making my trip to Portland so incredible. I will go ahead and let you know that you have a tough 'selling' job on your hands as to why I should move to Seattle over Portland. I will await your PowerPoint presentation . . . LOL

So to sum up my time in Portland: it was incredible. I made so many new friends and met so many wonderful men and women. Thank you Portland!! You showed me what an awesome community you have and I cannot wait to return for more!! Thom and Dominic, you are incredible men and thank you for all of your time and energy in ensuring my time there was second to none!

Your Leather Brother,


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