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,