2nd Runner-up Phoenix Moon, Gene Cheek, 1st Runner-up Brian Lambert, Alonzo Gault and winner Jeff Henken. (Photo courtesy of Skytrain Photo)
ST. LOUIS — Daddy Jeff Henken won the Mr. Midwest Leather 2016 contest and Pup Gungnir won the Midwest Puppy 2016 contest on Oct. 1 during the Midwest Leather Weekend 2016 held at JJ’s Clubhouse.
The festivities started off Friday night with a roast of the previous titleholder, Mr. Midwest Leather 2015 Adam “Pup Vino” Henderson, by Tim ”Ash” Hotchkins, Ty Portel, JW Rutkowski, and Brian “Bolt” Donner with Karen Ultra as Master of Ceremonies.
Saturday started at 10am with Kink U classes also held at JJ’s Clubhouse and organized by John Owen. The classes were Pup Play with 2015 International Leatherboy Ash, Bootblack 101 with IMSBB 2016 Megan, Navigating “It’s Complicated” Relationships with Mr. Tri-State Leather 2015 Brian “Bolt” Donner, Rope Play 101 with Central Plains LeatherSir Robb 2012 Lappe, and Tan That Hide: Flogging 101 with Mr. Ramrod 2013 Sir Kirk and boy William. There was an overall attendance of more than 100 people for the five classes and more than $200 was donated so that the group can continue holding classes.
The contest night started at 10:30pm at JJ’s Clubhouse with a shortened fashion show by Jerry Miller due to manufacturing issues. Many hundreds were in attendance when the contest started at 11PM with Adam Henderson, Joey McDonald, Rex Shephard, Pup Scout, and Karen Ultra judging the competitions. Mike Lunter was Master of Ceremonies, Pup Sol as Den Puppy, Mark Bozif as Tallymaster, O. John as Den Daddy, and Sir Crisco as Judges’ Runner.
The Midwest Puppy contest was the first up with four contestants vying for the 2016 title. Their segments alternated the night with the Mr. Midwest Leather contest. After introductions they each had had a segment to answer a randomly selected question and also a segment where they were to show off their Puppy abilities. Pup Gungnir of Ohio won the contest from a very varied and competitive field.
When asked how he feels on winning and what he plans to do with his title Pup Gungnir said “Competing for Midwest Puppy was a fun experience, honestly it was really life changing. Yes, it was stressful at times, but in the end it was all worth it. Well what I would like to do with my title … no what I will do … is be a light to a dark subject in our community… Mental Health Awareness… we have lost to many brothers and sisters. This has made me more confident but still humble. I am very proud to be a puppy, not only to represent the Cleveland pup/leather community but the entire Midwest pup/leather community alongside a great man Daddy Jeff, Mr. Midwest Leather 2016.”
The Mr. Midwest Leather contest started second and alternated with the Midwest Puppy contest throughout the event. For the 2016 title there were 5 contestants and as Producer Mike Prater put it, “The contestants were great, I didn’t know who would win. Each contestant had something to offer. Each very different.” The contestants went through the usual format segments of Bar Wear, Pecs and Personality, and then Full Leather/Formal with speech. Jeff Henken of Kentucky won the contest from the strong field of contestants.
On winning Jeff Henken had to say, “I am humbled to have been selected as the next Mr. Midwest Leather and hope to live up to the trust placed in me by the judges and the community. Over the next year, I aim to be an ambassador to and for this tribe we all call home. I’m excited to grow, personally, and to see the leather and fetish communities evolve.”
Producers Charlie Shoenherr and Mike Prater released the following statement, “The four producers of Midwest Leather Weekend thought we had one of the best contest ever. There were many people from all over the United States that attended. We would like to thank all the volunteers, our host bar (JJ’s Clubhouse), the judges, and especially the contestants. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year, the first weekend of October. The co-producers of Mr Midwest Leather want to thank Adam Henderson (Mr Midwest Leather 2015) for everything he did, he made us very proud. Also, would like to welcome Jeff Henken (Mr Midwest Leather 2016) to the family.”
During the contest Joey McDonald was made an honorary Mr. Midwest Leather member by Mr. Midwest Leather Producers Mike Prater and Charlie Schoenherr.
After the contest 2016 IMsBB Megan along with Randal (2015 Mr. Route 66) and Janet Zotigh (2016 Oklahoma Ms. Leather) were made part of Mama’s Family before the photo.
The contest ended shortly after 1:15PM.
A victory brunch was held the next day by Blue Max at 11PM at Rehab Bar. A Titans of the Midwest meeting preceded the event with a Blue Max meeting following it.
The attendance was over 250 at the contest with an additional few hundred outside the room at JJ’s Clubhouse. The travel fund was raised through a silent auction, jello shots, a 50/50 raffle, sponsors and this author selling RESPECT merchandise among other ventures.
Next up, Great Lakes Leather Alliance 16.