The International Puppy Contest is a title contest held annually each year in various cities across the United States.
In 2000, Patrick Chees, aka Nipper, had a vision. His vision was to have a contest for folks who understood the puppy headspace. Having a boy-side, Nipper approached the Lone Star boys of Leather (a group which he helped found) with his vision. The LSboL were excited about the idea, and the International Puppy Contest was founded.
The first contest was held the following year in Houston. Alpha-pup Ray of Alaska became the very first International Puppy, in 2001. In 2002, with the enthusiastic help of the LSboL again, the contest returned over the course of an entire event weekend. Pup Tim took the title for 2002. In the process of the 2002 contest, an evolution began. Pup Tim’s performance with his trainer, Master Skip was so impeccable that Patrick couldn’t help but to believe that trainers needed to be recognized as well. This was a revolutionary thought, at this stage of the evolution of puppy play.
In 2003, the contest moved to Dallas, with the addition of the Trainer portion of the contest. Sean-Michael took International Trainer ’03 and Patch took the title of International Pup ’03. With three sets of contestants, it was clear that both puppies and Trainers were catching on to this idea of having their own contest. Because of health issues, Patrick sought more assistance for IPTC 04 from many people, including his good friend, pup boner. International Trainer ’04 became Mistress Simone and International Puppy ’04 was pup fifi. Sadly, later in the year, Patrick passed away leaving the fate of IPTC unknown. Not wanting Patrick’s dream to die, his Sir (Master Roy) and the Texas Leather Tribe (TLT) family continued as the owners of IPTC. Pup boner of Galveston produced IPTC ’05. Master Gary won as Trainer ’05, and pup kelly was named International Pup ’05.
Over the next several years the Texas Leather Tribe sought to continue Patrick’s legacy by evolving IPTC beyond just a contest and into a weekend conference of training. Alpha-pup Justin produced its first year as a conference, alongside a partner event, Beyond Vanilla. The following year, along with the strong partnership of Beyond Vanilla, Cosmo Jetson stepped up to become co-producer. Over the next several years, Cosmo brought new life to Patrick’s legacy as the Executive Director. The weekend grew, and started drawing people, pups, and presenters from around the country.
By 2010, the interest in the conference was beginning to lack, and the event was cancelled for that year. Not wanting to see the end of IPTC, Master Tallen began negotiations with Texas Leather Tribe in 2010 with hopes of resurrecting the contest portion. In 2011, Master Tallen was granted legal authority to serve as Executive Producer of the IPTC contest. He found a home for the conference in Tulsa Oklahoma. Later that year, the IPTC contest portion returned. Twisted Tulsa hosted the contest, and Daddy Don and Pup Lucky were named 2012 IPTC Trainer and Pup, respectively. Daddy Don and Pup Lucky proudly traveled, teaching and judging, and reminding everyone that pup play is here to stay!
In 2013, IPTC was pleased to announce their return to Dallas, once again pairing up with Beyond Vanilla. Daddy Rose became 2013 International Trainer and pup Rylee became 2013 International puppy. Their focus on inclusion, quickly endeared them to a community that had outgrown its reputation of being just young gay men. The partnership with Beyond Vanilla continued in 2014 with new faces, new workshops, and a great showing of contestants. Sir Justin became International Trainer, 2014 and his pup, Tork became International Puppy 2014.
During the 2014 year, the contest’s emphasis intentionally began to focus on feeder competitions, as opposed to trying to round up as many arbitrary contestants as possible. While the board knew that this rebuilding process could have some short-term negative impact, there was a strong belief that building feeder contests would help future titleholders be better prepared to serve their community in the long run. Quality vs. quantity, if you will.
As the 2015 contest came about, all Trainer contestants had backed out. And while this was a disappointment to some, it was not unexpected, as the new feedership format was being integrated. In fact, this emphasized the importance of why the feedership format was being built. The contest went on without a Trainer, and Pup Kona became the first International Puppy from outside of the US to hold the title. Hailing from British Columbia, Pup Kona’s title year was impressive enough to believe that he has done the work of both a Pup and a Trainer. He proudly took the title overseas, promoting pup play and activities in several European countries.