LOS ANGELES LEATHER COALITION
LA LEATHER PRIDE 2015
MARCH 30, 2015
Eagle LA Mr. Leather Patrick Smith was awarded the title of Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015, Saturday, March 28, 2015. He will go to compete at the upcoming International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago in May 22-25, 2015. Over 1000 revelers from all over the world experienced Los Angeles Leather Pride 2015 at the Mr. Los Angeles Leather contest and the post contest dance “LEGION,” where participants celebrated well into the early morning. The twin events took place at Club 333 in Downtown Los Angeles, with a fantastic view of the iconic lights of the Central City.
The evening began with the presentation of flags by a delegation of LGBT veterans from the Los Angeles chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, followed by a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Debby Holiday, who also entertained the crowd at the dance. International Mr. Leather 2007, Mike Gerle shared that this year’s theme, “TRIBE/ Rites of Passage,” was a reflection of the journey each gay leather person takes to realize they are a part of this unique community.
Don Mike and Jeremy Ronceros, co- emcees, introduced the Class of 2015: 10 stunning and diverse contestants for the title of Mr. LA Leather. Each man had previously won a “feeder” contest sponsored by a local bar or community partner of the producing organization, Los Angeles Leather Coalition, giving him the right to compete for the coveted title.
An international panel of judges, including the current International Mr. Leather, Ramien Pierre from the Washington, D.C area and Mr. German Leather 2013/2014 Tyrone Rontganger from Berlin, watched as the contestants were put through their paces. (click for full list of judges)
The first round was formal leather, during which each contestant gave a 90 second speech, many addressing current compelling issues to the LGBT community including marriage equality, PrEP and immigration reform. Following rounds included, more informal bar wear and the crowd pleasing physique round in which each contestant showed how comfortable he is in his own skin, and there was ample skin to be seen.
Outgoing Mr. LA Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue (who is originally from Berlin) was joined onstage by Mr. Rontganger who drew the winning ticket for an all-expense paid trip to Berlin for Folsom Europe. Donations will go to the three designated Charity Partners for LA Leather Pride 2015: ONE Archives at USC, Project Angel Food and Tom of Finland Foundation.
Mr. Leue then gave a moving step-down speech, culminating his year of amazing service to not only the Los Angeles Leather Community, but also to all those he came in contact with while wearing the sash proudly. In the last year Mr. Leue has become one of the more prominent advocates in the US and Europe for more widespread dissemination of information about the benefits of the PrEP protocol, shown to be extremely effective in preventing HIV infection among persons with negative status.
The scores of the judges were tallied and Patrick Smith, Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2015 was awarded the title of Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015. First runner-up was Justin Natoli, Mr. Sister Leather 2015 and 2nd runner-up was Chris Jones, Mr. SoCal Leather 2015, who was also awarded the Bob Tomasino Brotherhood Award by his fellow contestants. The following brothers, the winners of their feeder contests, cheered the new Mr. LA Leather: Rod Mercado, Mr. Regiment 2015, Christopher Paul, Mr. CSW Leather 2015, Master Prometheus, Mr. Sanctuary Leather 2015, Sir Frank, LA Leather Bear 2015, Brian Goss, Mr. Piston’s Leather 2015, Esteban Bartholo, Mr. Bullet Leather 2015 and Franco Americano, Mr. Oil Can Harry’s Leather 2015.
The events of the LA Leather Pride Week 2015 could not have been possible without the hard work of the many volunteers and the contribution of 31 sponsors who collectively gave over $55,000 in cash and merchandise. The Chief level sponsors were: The Fight Magazine, OxBalls, the Eagle LA, Faultline Bar, Pleasure Chest, Kink.com, Rough Trade Gear, Folsom Street Events, Recon, Off Sunset Festival, 665 Leathers, Mr. S Leathers, Schott Leathers, and GED.