Kevin Michael O’Connell [Edit]

Kevin Michael O'Connell Mr. Mayhem Leather 2015.
Kevin Michael O’Connell
Mr. Mayhem Leather 2015

Kevin Michael O’Connell (He, Him) (born July 31, 1968) is a St. Louis/New Jersey/South Florida nomad who now calls Lauderhill, FL, (Broward County, 6 miles west of Wilton Manors) home. He was the 2015 Mr. Mayhem Leather titleholder, for the Bears, Bikers, and Mayhem event weekend.

Now, is the Producer of the same event, now called the Mr. Mayhem Leather & Mr. Mayhem Leather Bear Contest.

Early Life

O’Connell was born in 1968 in Brooklyn, NY, but relocated to New Jersey, and later Washington DC, joining the US Army from 87-91. O’Connell spent the next 30 years traveling the US as a nightclub DJ, travelling all over the country for gigs, and work related moves, title holder travel, more work, a 3 year stint in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before settling back home in the Ft Lauderdale area in 2023.

Finding Leather

Despite having been an out gay man since the late 1990s, leather was new to O’Connell. He met with local title holders and producers from Dragonslair Productions, and called the NJ Leather family home, and even competed at the Mr. & Ms. New Jersey Leather in 2018.

O’Connell, still being new to leather, met and became enamored with the New Jersey leather community. This started starting with his first contest as a spectator, the Mr/Ms New Jersey Leather 2014 contest. Here O’Connell met (and ultimately short term dated) Mr. New Jersey Leather 2014, Keith Grovert and his now husband Michael Zito-Grovert. (Mr. New Jersey Leather 2022-2023) This led to other meetings of fellow International Mr. Leather Class of 36 members.

Bears, Bikers and Mayhem

By the end of the first year of living in NJ, he’d heard about an event in Gettysburg, PA called Bears Bikers, and Mayhem (BBM), which ran the course of a weekend at the end of March/April every year.  BBM occurs in a secluded area, isolated to hotel grounds and has its own contest called Mr. Mayhem Leather. Feeling a bond with the inclusive atmosphere of a bear and leather hybrid event, (as O’Connell also identifies as a bear), this was his first thought toward competing for a title.

Mr. Mayhem Leather 2015

O’Connell competed for Mr. Mayhem Leather in March 2015. With a judging panel consisting of two Mr. Maryland winners, an American Leather Boy, and a Mr. NYC Eagle, O’Connell placed first runner up to winner Dan Barnett. Within six weeks of the contest, Barnett had to step down for personal reasons, and O’Connell took over the title. He made his debut at the 2015 New York City Pride parade as a part of the NY Eagle leather contingent.

Mr Friendly, Hiv and AIDS, and ALC Ride for the Cure

With regard to his platform, O’Connell believes in inclusivity between all gay and lesbian folk (The entire spectrum of LGBTQIA+) . Having a hybrid bear/leather title meant working together with all different walks of life, pups, non-binary, et all, and bringing together friends and family in and out of leather.

Additionally, the stigma-free message of Mr. Friendly is an important cause to O’Connell, who is HIV positive, and believes U=U, should be the message worldwide.  Riding in the 2005 ALC Aids Life Cycle, 575 miles for Los Angeles/San Francisco Hiv and AIDS care, brought a newfound acceptance to his status, as well as opening doors to a world of advocacy for this disease.

Personal and Relationships

Kevin is a single, versatile/switch who like to explore individual needs with whomever he is with at the time. Monogamy vs Polyamory, is dependent on the partner and conversations therein.  Without Flagging “ORANGE”, let’s just say he’s ‘into’ a lot, and those things can differ from person to person, group to group, and encounter to encounter. Terry Cloth, Red, White, Teal, Blue, Black, Silver and Gold Lame, all left or right, depending,… are a few of his favorite “hanky codes”.

Mama’s Family

At Bears Bikers and Mayhem 7 in March 2016, O’Connell was pinned into Mama’s Family by Sandy Reinhardt herself, alongside Ms. New Jersey Leather 2014 Nikki Wireman, who also was one of two nominators (the other being Alyssa Durnien, Ms. Woods Leather 2016). Kevin’s Mama’s Family name is Mama’s Jersey Devil, Pin # 2175.

Current Activity and Personal Life

In May 2015 at the beginning of his title year, a family emergency brought O’Connell to Missouri to take care of his mother and step-father, after his mother suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. By October of the same year, she succumbed to the injury and passed away.

By 2018, O’Connell had moved back to Asbury Park, NJ and competed for the 2018 Mr. New Jersey Leather.  Placing 1st runner up, or 2nd Place to winner Rai Guerra.

Over the course of the next 5 years, he moved around the country for work related relocations, from Long Island, Brooklyn, San Juan, Pr, and ultimately and finally (for now) in 2023, ended up in Lauderhill, FL.

O’Connell is single, and he spends his time working from home, taking care of his dog Max and traveling as needed while supporting the leather community.

Current and Future Roles


2022- Present: Bears Bikers and Mayhem – Staff Member

2022-Present:  Producer: Mr. Mayhem Leather & Mr. Mayhem Leather Bear Contest

2019-2020 Emcee- Mr. Mayhem Leather & Leather Bear contest

2022- Joining staff of BBM, as Co-Producer of the Mayhem Contest.