(Top Left to Right) – Genevieve Allen; Mikayla Stanek, Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride 2017; Dylan Dwiyn, Minnesota Leather Sir 2017; Dick Salami; (Bottom Left to Right) – Rylee Ray; Pugsley Michael Urness, Minnesota Leather boy 2017 (Photo by Seth Meyer)
Special report by Pup Riku
MINNEAPOLIS — Driving through long stretches of road with nothing but farmland in sight may not be the most idea road trip for some, but my excitement for the weekend ahead was enough to keep me entertained for the long drive to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend. This was my second year attending the event and if last year was any indication, this year was not going to disappoint. With beautiful weather, all weekend and leatherfolk across all genders all around, I can say it was an experience to never forget.
The weekend was kicked off at LUSH with the annual meet and greet. The space was small and intimate and made for a relaxing atmosphere to get the weekend started. Along with some fantastic drag performances (of queens and kings alike), we were introduced to the contestants: Dylan Dwiyn and Dick Salami for Minnesota Leather Sir, Pugsley Michael Urness and Rylee Ray for Minnesota Leather boy, and Genevieve Allen and Mikayla Stanek for Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride. We were also introduced to the judges for the evening: Alexandra St. James (Ms. Iowa Leather 2017), Sir Ivan Nunez (International Leather Sir 2016), Boy Woody (Great Lakes Leatherboy 2016), boy Jake (International Leatherboy 2016), Bootblack Marta (Great Lakes Bootblack 2014), Tony Mayes (Education Liaison for the IMsL Foundation), and Syn (Women’s International Leather Legacy 2016). After everyone was introduced and raffle prizes were awarded, the Atons of Minneapolis and the Twin Cities girls of Leather hosted their Cigar Social on the patio, where everyone got to mingle and make friends over some cigars and bourbon.
On Saturday, While the contestants had their interviews and rehearsed their on-stage fantasies, the Titans of the Midwest held their Kink U classes at EagleBoltBar. The classes included Biting 101 from Randy Ingram-Lile and a panel on Being a Switch with panelists Bud Ingram-Lile, David Coral, Bobby “Bound4mestpaul”, and Phil Kampa. These classes were followed by the Puppy/Handler 101 Class and Mosh hosted by the North Star Kennel Club. The classes and mosh had an incredible showing with valuable information and new experiences throughout. Once dinner was had and power naps achieved, it was time for the contest. Hosted at The Saloon by Karri Plowman and Nocturna Lee Mission, the contest itself is always a show to behold. After the blessing from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we were treated to a showstopper of a performance by Alexandra St. James.
We were then reintroduced to the contestants. Now, it was also explained to us about the theme of the weekend along with a special note about everyone gracing the stage this evening. This year’s theme was “Walk In Her Boots”, recognizing the significant contribution of the leather sisters to the Minnesota community. In addition, this year saw a meaningful change to the eligibility requirements of all the contests. The contests were now open to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as all sexual orientations. In honor of the theme and these rules, all contestants and fantasy participants wore pasties on their chests to show their support of an all-inclusive community.
The contest itself was fantastic. It included some sexy contestants, funny questions and answers (including the first time I ever hear an entire bar of leatherfolk “Awwwwwwwwww” at the exact same time), and moving speeches. I honestly didn’t think my hands were going to be in tact by the end with how hard I was clapping at some moments. Unfortunately, I was unable to view all the fantasies because I was in one of them (Thank you boy Pugsley for the opportunity), but from hearing the crowd from back stage, I’m certain they were all VERY well done. One thing to note about Minnesota is that all their contests, regardless of which larger contest they feed into, include some sort of fantasy or talent portion. The fantasies I’ve seen for MNLP are highly produced and some of the best you’ll see. This year’s fantasies saw superheroes, sword fights, mad scientists, and all the hard hitting, kinky fun you’d expect.
Before we got to the results, we heard from the outgoing title holders as they stepped aside, paving the way for the new class of leaders in the community. I would like to give some huge congratulations go out to Sir Roman (Minnesota Leather Sir 2016), boy Bolt (Minnesota Leather boy 2016), and Angie Dwiyn (Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride 2016) on an extremely momentous year. Finally, it was time to sash the new holders. Congratulations to Minnesota Leather Sir 2017 Dylan, Minnesota Leather boy 2017 Pugsley, and Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride 2017 Mikayla! All the contestants need a lot of praise for a fantastic job well done.
To end the weekend, we reunited at LUSH for a delicious brunch, good laughs, and hard goodbyes. The staff with Minnesota Leather Pride did an absolute fantastic job producing a fun, engaging, and inclusive weekend for all in the leather community to enjoy. If you have never been to the Twin Cities for any of their leather and kink weekends, I highly suggest making the road trip (as long and as boring as the drive may be) to get to know this community. The Minnesota community continues to impress me year after year and I know I will keep coming back every chance I get.