International Mr. Leather [Edit]


International Mr. Leather Logo

International Mr. Leather (IML) is an international conference and contest of leathermen held annually in May since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois.

The International Mr. Leather conference is a multi-day and activity event to recognize International Mr. Leather. Shared interest events, such as speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market are part of ways in which the competitors become known to the evaluating committee and enthusiasts, including the BDSM community, can share in the experience.

IML is an international recognized distinction with an informal relationship with how contestants qualify: contestants must either be a winner of a lower level feeder competition of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather-related bar, business, club, or organization.

The forerunner of the competition was the 1970s “Mr. Gold Coast” bar contest held at Chicago’s Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. The “Mr. Gold Coast” contest became one of the bar’s most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (starting in 1979), and title change to International Mr. Leather.

The International Mr. Bootblack competition (IML BB) was added to the IML program starting in 1993. In 1996 International Ms. Leather (IMsL) 1993 and then-International Ms. Leather owner and producer Amy Marie Meek became the first woman to judge International Mr. Leather, and then and there she got the idea for the International Ms. Bootblack contest. Prior to the IMsL 1998 Weekend, Amy proposed breaking the IML BB competition into two separate international-level Bootblack contests: one for men and one for women. In this scenario, the International Bootblack contest for men would remain a part of the IML Weekend, and the International Bootblack contest for women would become part of the IMsL Weekend. Chuck Renslow agreed to this revision in the international contest system. The first International Ms. Bootblack title was awarded in 1999.

In 1993, 1994 and 1995, the Leather Archives & Museum existed as a growing collection and appeared in public only as exhibits at International Mr. Leather (plus a couple of abortive attempts to appear on the road).

In 1995 “Chuck Renslow – IML” (among others) received the International Deaf Leather Recognition Award.

The Leather Archives & Museum has placed IML in a trust (May 2009) with event profits to benefit the museum. The museum also holds the records of IML.

In 2010 IML was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

In 2018 IML was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame.

IML Contest

Preliminary round

Contest finalists are selected following:

  1. A preliminary interview with each of the nine judges, up to 8 minutes in length, are held in private (60% of the preliminary score).
  2. Stage presence and personality at a Saturday “Pecs and Personality” event (40% of the preliminary score).

The judge’s highest and lowest scores for each contestant in each criteria are dropped, and the contestant’s remaining seven scores are tallied to determine the 20 contestants with the highest combined scores to proceed as finalists at the Sunday IML contest event. The only time that the dropped scores are included in the tally is when there is a tie for the 20th place; the contestants in question have their dropped scores included in the tally but if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the two contestants. Preliminary judging scores are not carried forward. There are also two tally masters.

Final round

Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in the following order:

  1. Leather image (up to 40 points).
  2. Presentation skills that include a contestant speech (up to 40 points).
  3. Physical appearance (up to 20 points).

The highest and lowest scores for each finalist are dropped, the remaining seven scores are added together, and the top three scores designate the second runner-up, first runner-up, and winner, International Mr. Leather. A tie for the title is resolved by adding to the tally the dropped scores of the two contestants; if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the contestants in question.

IML Winners


Year Winner Title City/State/Country
1979 David Kloss Mr. Leather Brig San Francisco, CA
1980 Patrick Brooks Mr. Leather Australia Sydney, NSW, Australia
1981 Marty Kiker (sponsored) San Francisco, CA
1982 Luke Daniel Mr. Drummer San Francisco, CA
1983 Coulter Thomas Mr. Texas Leather Houston, TX
1984 Ron Moore (the first black International Mr. Leather. His sister Genelle Moore was International Ms. Leather 1997, making them the first siblings to hold international leather titles.) Mr. Leather Colorado Denver, CO
1985 Patrick Toner Mr. Chaps San Francisco San Francisco, CA
1986 Scott Tucker Mr. Philadelphia Leather Philadelphia, PA
1987 Thomas Karasch Mr. Leather Europe Hamburg, Germany
1988 Michael Pereyra Mr. Leather San Diego San Diego, CA
1989 Guy Baldwin Mr. NLA Los Angeles, CA
1990 Mark Ryan Mr. Boston Leather Boston, MA
1991 D Cannon Mr CC Palm Springs Hollywood, CA
1992 Lenny Broberg Mr. San Francisco Leather San Francisco, CA
1993 Henri ten Have (sponsored) Amsterdam, Holland
1994 Jeff Tucker Mr. San Jose Leather San Jose, CA
1995 Larry Everett Mr. Oklahoma Leather Collinsville, OK
1996 Joe Gallagher Mr. Leather New York New York, NY
1997 Kevin Cwayna Mr. Minnesota Leather Minneapolis, MN
1998 Tony Mills Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather Washington, DC
1999 Bruce Chopnik Mr. Rocky Mountain Leather Denver, CO
2000 Mike Taylor Mr. Heartland Leather Cincinnati, OH
2001 Stefan Mueller Bavarian Mr. Leather Munich, Germany
2002 Stephen Weber Mr. Texas Leather Dallas, TX
2003 John Pendal Mr. Hoist London, United Kingdom
2004 Jason Hendrix Mr. DC Eagle Washington, DC
2005 Michael Egdes Mr. Ramrod Ft Lauderdale, FL
2006 Bo Ladashevska Mr. Leather Montreal Montreal, Canada
2007 Mikel Gerle Mr. Los Angeles Leather Los Angeles, CA
2008 Gary Iriza Mr. Palm Springs Leather Palm Springs, CA
2009 Jeffrey Payne Mr. Texas Leather Dallas, TX
2010 Tyler McCormick (the first openly transgender International Mr. Leather, and the first wheelchair user to be International Mr. Leather) Mr. Rio Grande Leather Albuquerque, NM
2011 Eric Guttierez Mr. Leather Europe Paris, France
2012 Woody Woodruff Mr. Michigan Leather Waterford, MI
2013 Andy Cross Mr. San Francisco Leather San Francisco, CA
2014 Ramien Pierre Mr. DC Eagle Washington, DC
2015 Patrick Smith Mr. Los Angeles Leather  Los Angeles, CA
2016 David “Tigger” Bailey Mr. New Jersey Leather Howell, NJ
2017 Ralph Bruneau Mr. GNI Leather Los Angeles, CA
2018 James Lee Mr. Kentucky Leather Lexington, KY
2019 Jack Thompson (the first openly transgender man of color – Thompson was black – to be International Mr. Leather) Leatherman Of Color 2019 Baltimore, MD
2020 None; Contest cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic None None
2021 None; Contest cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic None None
2022 Gael Leung Chong Wo Mr. Leather Belgium 2020/2021 Ghent, Belgium
2023 Marcus Barela Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2023 Los Angeles, California

See Also

Title Contests