Scorpius Red from Baltimore, Maryland, was sashed Mr. Maryland Leather 2019 during the 29th annual contest held on Saturday, November 3rd at the Windup Space in Baltimore. First runner-up to Mr. Maryland Leather 2019 was William “Raven” Holman, who was also awarded the brotherhood award. Tom Aberasturi-Haugvik was named second runner-up. There were no additional contestants.

The popular Maryland Leather Weekend which is produced by COMMAND MC also marked the club’s 30th anniversary and kicked off on Thursday, November 1st with a gear party titled “Pigsty V” at club 1722. On Friday evening, as many out of town leather folks began to arrive at the host, Lord Baltimore Hotel, a welcoming cocktail party was sponsored by Excelsior MC from New York City. The fun continued Friday with a bar crawl to Leon’s and Grand Central which had both bars packed.

On Saturday afternoon representatives from the various leather clubs who make up the Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council (AMCC), an umbrella organization made up of many East Coast leather clubs, held a meeting at the hotel prior to the afternoon contest. At 2 pm everyone headed uptown to The Windup Space for the main event, the Mr. Maryland Leather 2019 Contest. This was a new location for the contest and I thought it worked quite well. Also displayed at the venue was a big assortment of leather clothing, fetish wear, and other assorted gear that made up the silent auction. In the past all auction items were displayed with a bid sheet. Also new this year was the concept of having online bidding only. I admit I am old-school and dread that this may lead to drag performers only taking Apple Pay – but it must have worked. It is my understanding that the weekend raised almost $17,000 for various charities.

The contest began with a few words of welcome from COMMAND vice president and event chair Darrell Coffey. (I knew that it was going to be a well-planned event on Friday evening when I received my run pass / name tag and instead of a traditional lanyard, it was on a plastic string of pearls which is the traditional gift for a 30th anniversary.) Darrell thanked everyone for coming and noted that in June the club changed the meaning of their acronym from a Corps of Men Making a Noticeable Difference Motorcycle Club to a Corps of Marylanders Making a Noticeable Difference Motorcycle Club to make their name more welcoming and gender neutral.

This year’s contest judges were Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2018 Gérard Turner, Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2018 Dan M., Ms. Baltimore Eagle 1992 Glenda Rider, Mr. Gay Naturists International 2015 Dave Barnett, and Mr. Maryland Leather 2017 Peter Pup Orpheus.

I was delighted last year when COMMAND MC invited International Ms. Leather 2016 Lascivious Jane to emcee and I was equally thrilled that they asked her back again this year. Usually known for her sexy outfits, she arrived onstage in a fluffy unicorn onesie and quickly explained that it was one of the few outfits that she could wear due to being pregnant. This did not stop her later in the show from performing what she called “baby bump burlesque.” I haven’t seen a baby bump that sexy since Cardi B. Also performing during the contest were classical vocalist Lane McCord and Eric D’Alessandro who played a tango on his viola while using a leather man as his music stand. Both performances were great.

Contestants, who had been interviewed by the judges earlier in the day, appeared in jocks, formal leather, and gave a brief speech. Scorpius spoke about leather traditions and the need for the leather community to continue to evolve stressing: “Whose traditions are we trying to preserve? We should look forward not backward.” Tom’s speech was on a similar theme and said that although the leather drawings of Tom of Finland are timeless the “leather community cannot be frozen in time.” He praised COMMAND MC on their 30th anniversary and noted that he is not 30 years old himself adding: “The Maryland leather community accepts everyone, even people with no experience.” The third contestant Raven left the audience deeply moved when he relayed the heart-wrenching story of his brother’s death in a car accident followed by the death of his mother due to depression and presented his platform surrounding the struggle of mental illness. He concluded with, “Take my pain and turn it into something positive that you can do.”

Prior to the sashing of Mr. Maryland Leather 2019, Mr. Maryland Leather 2018 Brendan Patrick gave one of the most entertaining step-down speeches I have seen in years. After hitting the stage in dress pants and a shirt and tie, local performer Tommy Gunn sang a wicked version of “Popular” as he stripped Brendan and dressed him in leather shorts and a harness. Brendan then briefly spoke and explained that he began his title year with many acquaintances and is ending it with many friends and a large number of one-night stands.

Also working hard to pull off this fun contest were Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon as the den daddy, Atlantic States Leatherboy 2018 boy justin as the judges’ boy, founding member of Mid-Atlantic Leather Girls Margaret as stage manager, and adding up the judges’ scores were “tally bears” Noah Branman who was runner-up in 2017 for Fire Island Leather Bear and former president of La Fraternite du Loup Garou leather club Joe Noakes. Providing the ASL was manager of the Mid-Atlantic Deaf & Interpreter Fund Kevin Lowery.

After the contest a 30th anniversary reception was held back at the Lord Baltimore Hotel followed by a victory party for the new Mr. Maryland Leather at Leon’s. The weekend ended with another Pigsty play party back at the hotel. If you goggle the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel you will learn that it opened in 1928 and is reported to be haunted. I’m sure that many guests reported hearing moans, groans, and the rattling of chains during Maryland Leather Weekend!

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Rodney Burger
Rodney Burger
Rodney is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and for many years has lived in Baltimore. In April 2017, Rodney was sworn in for his 10th year as the President of the ShipMates Club of Baltimore. He has been involved in the leather community for many years, but often denies that he sold Jell-O shots at The Last Supper. He has been writing THE LEATHER LINE for the BALTIMORE OUTLOUD newspaper (Baltimoreoutloud.com.) for over fourteen years. He has produced the Mr. & Ms. Baltimore Eagle Contest and the Maryland LeatherSIR/Leatherboy Contest. In 2001 he was proud to serve as Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001. Rodney also does stand-up comedy and in 2013 was thrilled to perform at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. He has been nominated multiple times for a Pantheon of Leather Award, was selected Leather Man of the Year in 2013 by COMMAND M.C. and by the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf in 2006. The 11th annual 12 Days of Christmas benefit show was dedicated to Rodney and his partner Sir Steve. He has been twice selected as ShipMate of the Year. He has judged Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015, Atlantic States LeatherSIR / Leatherboy and recently judged Mr. Eagle NYC 2018. He is delighted to be able to bring news of his beloved leather community to his readers every issue.
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