Treasure (Reem Wheeler) from Baltimore, a member of the ONYX Pearls, was sashed Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2020 and Ren Laine, from Columbia, Maryland, was selected Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2020 during the annual contest held over the weekend of August 23rd to 25th in Baltimore. There were no additional contestants. Treasure becomes the 11th Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman and Ren is now the fourth person to hold the title of Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack. Produced by Evil Twins Production (Rik Newton-Treadway and Tina Landi) this year’s contest took advantage of the beautiful cooler temperatures with much time spent outside at the Clifton Pleasure Club.

Friday’s Meet and Greet at the Clifton Pleasure Club had a carnival atmosphere, with strings of lights and outdoor tents for the bootblack, Sierra the Lady Barber, and the live band Chix Without Stix, who provided a wonderful mix of music throughout the evening and performed again on Saturday night.

Saturday’s four-hour long contest was held at Grand Central nightclub and included performances by Queen of Baltimore Pride 1999 Jazmen Diamond, King of Baltimore Pride 2018 Chris Jay, King of Baltimore Pride 2019 Justin Sane, and live vocals by Ms. New Jersey Leather 2016 Christy Lee. For many years most leather contest started like a sporting event with a color guard and the national anthem. Several years ago, at the MAL-W contest it just seemed that the contest started on an unhappy note as several audience members took a knee during the national anthem. Last year the national anthem was just dropped from the opening. This year I hope a new tradition was born. Christy Lee started the contest with an absolutely beautiful rendition of the song that many consider to be the gay national anthem: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I had to remind myself that there is no crying at leather contests.

Contestants were scored in a range of categories with the Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman contestant performing an onstage fantasy and the Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack contestant having been presented the night before with a pair of boots that needed attention and was told to work on one boot so that the judge’s could see a before and after version of the boots. Both contestants answered a fun question onstage and gave a brief speech. I’ve always said that for me the most important category in a leather contest in the interview with the judges. This is where one learns what the contestant is all about. Unfortunately, at most contest the audience never sees the interview. It is usually done in the afternoon prior to the evening contest. At this contest the interview was done onstage in front of the audience. Although it made for a longer contest, it really helped the audience to learn who these women are and how they feel about issues such as social media. I loved Treasure’s comment: “I stay out of drama.”

Although there was only one contestant for each title, it’s important to note that a contestant must earn a minimum score from the judges to be awarded a title. (I have seen several contests where someone was the only contestant for a title but walked away empty-handed.) The judges were: International Slave 2018 BlueFrost; founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg magazine and the executive producer of the Tagg Nation podcast, Eboné F. Bell; Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2018 Bumper Bootblack; Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2018 / Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2019 Foxxy; head of the House of Kreatures, producer, and event organizer Girl Pixie; organizer, educator, writer, and burlesque artist Tahnee; and an educator and host of New York’s only sex / play party for woman and the trans community, Red Robinson.

ASL interpreters were Debbie Jones and Jenn Arif. Tally Masters were Ms. Baltimore Eagle 1999 Buz and Hooker & Boys member Paulie. FIST club member Margaret was the stage manager with help from Mid-Atlantic Community Bootblack 2008 Dave “Pug” Spellman as stage crew. Den Daddy was Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2011 Morgaine. Boy jake was the judges’ boy and Mary Tayler kept the large silent auction running. Tasked with the job of keeping the contest running and the live auction of many items for the travel fund moving along were the co-emcees: Leather Woman of Color 2019 Velvet-Storm and Ms. DC Eagle 2019 Alyssa Durnien.

On Saturday evening everyone returned to the Clifton Pleasure Club for a victory party hosted by FIST and on Sunday afternoon a very laid-back party was held at the Clifton Pleasure Club to celebrate the anniversary of Hooker & Boys,which for 20 years has brought our community the biggest holiday party (and largest fundraiser) the annual “12 Days of Christmas” variety show. Don’t miss the 21st “12 Days of Christmas” on Saturday, December 14th at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. (Details can be found on Facebook)

As 2019 comes to a close, it is time for the leather community to start to select the 2020 leather titleholders. With Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2020 Treasure and Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2020 Ren, we are off to a great start!

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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.