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Seattle, WA – Each year over the Labor Day weekend, Generic Leather Productions of Washington (GLPW), in conjunction with our sponsors and many volunteers, produces the Northwest Leather Weekend in Seattle. The highlight of this weekend is the Northwest Leather Sir/boy and Community Boot Black (NWLSb/CBB) competition, a feeder contest to the International Leather Sir/boy and International Community Boot Black (ILSb/ICBB) titles. Known as the "Players Titles" among BDSM practitioners, these contests, along with the other regional competitions, bring members of our community together from throughout those regions and across the continent. And with so many Dragons based in the Pacific Northwest, it should come as no surprise to learn that our local event is a major attraction to many of the brothers and sisters who comprise my leather family (photographed right courtesy of Malixe). Helping to host this event has always been a source of joy for me personally, but this year I was overwhelmed by a sense of pride inspired by my pup Element as he ran for Northwest Leather boy.
Daddy Jeff Henness and Dan "Puppy" Daniels, the owners of Dog House Leathers, were kind enough to continue the tradition of holding leather community Meet & Greets at their shop for NWLSb/CBB, as they have for our Washington State Mr|Ms Leather contest since they opened the store-front outlet for leather, fetish and BDSM equipment and wear. Dog House was also one of our gracious community business sponsors for the event. I have a hard time calling Daddy Jeff and Puppy a "Corporate Sponsor" as the official language of the event would suggest. Such language would imply some huge disconnected entity instead of acknowledging the presence in our community that is Dog House Leathers. The Dog House is a "dad and pup" shop that doesn't just supply our needs, it feeds our souls. From the people they employ to each person they provide a service to, Daddy Jeff and Puppy have earned a place in our community that demands respect. While I had no official responsibilities this past weekend, my brother Gene Romaine, who serves as the producer of the contest asked me to make the introductions at our Meet & Greet Friday evening (photographed left courtesy of Malixe). It was an honor to do so at Dog House Leathers surrounded by so many of my family and friends.
Our judging panel for the contest was headed by the current International Leather Sir and Seattle resident, Hugh Russell. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will claim Huge as a brother in the Dragon clan and while I would never question his objectivity, I would expect him to be my pup's harshest critic and told the pup as much. Joining the judging panel from Florida was ILSb Co-Executive Producer and past International Leather boy, Bill Hoeppner who also won Pantheon of Leather Man of the Year in 2009, a distinction far more prestigious than any Grabby or GayVN in my world. Mentor, artisan and lover of rope, Monk of twistedMonk.com for whom I have the utmost respect and who's rope I highly recommend whether for purchase or personal application, agreed to join the panel. Past Northwest Leather boys Dominic Chevalier and Dan McGuire served on the panel as did Northwest Community Bootblack 2010 Ray "Scout" Hudson. Completing the panel were the current Washington State Mr|Ms Leather title holders boi di and Herrmeister "D" (photographed right courtesy of Malixe).
Our host venue for the contest Saturday evening was the Cuff Complex, another of our community/business sponsors for the event. Former Oregon State Ms Leather, Lynda Hale and 2009 International Ms Leather Lamalani served as the emcees for the evening as members from our community competed for the three titles at stake. We had three strong and well-known contestants step up for the 2011 Northwest Leather Sir title. Darian, Stan and Enrique have each been leaders within our local community in their own ways, and the competition was tight. Element and Kent stepped up to run for the 2011 Northwest Leather boy title, and I was impressed by both. Both of these boys are fairly new to our scene, but both represented themselves with integrity and the unique nature of our Northwest players' community with a sense of understanding and pride. Dylan from Portland competed against a pre-determined standard to serve as the 2011 Northwest Community Bootblack, needing to score over seventy percent of the total possible points in order to take that title (photographed left courtesy of Malixe).
Side Bar: I will make no secret of my hopes and aspirations for my pup Element through this past weekend. Over the course of the past two years I have introduced Element to our local, regional and national scene. I have mentored his growth, encouraged his exploration and welcomed him into my own leather family. I could not have been more proud of his performance. There is truly something special about this new role of mine that I have never really understood until now. Whether it be watching my boy Timmy blossom into a leather boy of my dreams, Chris Yosef develop an understanding of the spiritual nature of this thing of ours or the pup step up to serve the community I've helped bring him into, the personal sense of accomplishment and success is overwhelming (photographed right courtesy of Malixe).
In the end, before a packed, standing-room only crowd at the Cuff, Darian Hawke, Element Eclipse, and Dylan Ritchey prevailed in their quests to become the 2011 Northwest Leather Sir, Leather boy and Community Bootblack, respectively (photographed left courtesy of Malixe). My personal congratulations go out to each and every one of them. There is no doubt in my mind that each will serve and represent our Northwest community with distinction over the course of the next year and well into the future. Our players' community here in the Pacific Northwest is unlike any other of which I am aware. The character and commitment displayed by everyone who came together to make this past weekend possible exemplify why I love the region I call my home. My thanks go out to each and every one of these people whom I consider my community of family and friends.