The year is now half over, and it will very soon be time to select some of our area’s 2020 leather titleholders. Who will be Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2020 or Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2020? Who will be sashed Mr. Maryland Leather 2020, Mr. Virginia Leather 2020, Mr. & Ms. DC Eagle 2020, Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2020, Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish 2020, or Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2020?

Take it from an old leather titleholder, having a leather title is lots of work. On the bright side, it gives you memories that last a lifetime. A leather title also presents you with a wonderful opportunity to not only serve your community for one year, but if you keep at it, to make your title last many years. I’m still working my Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001 title and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon!

A leather title is about serving the community. It is not about making you more famous, getting you more dates, or adding many more Facebook followers. (Although that will happen, too.) So, if you are thinking about running for a leather title, the first thing you should do is get involved with your local leather community. Join a leather club or offer to help at a club’s fundraiser. Attend as many leather events in your area as you can. Meet the current titleholders, leather club members, and local leather community leaders. I’m always amazed when I attend a local leather contest and a contestant is introduced with: “Contestant number two is Sam. Sam has been involved in the local leather community for five years….” Really? How come no one has ever seen him or met him? A leather titleholder represents his or her community. Step one should be become a part of your local leather community. I’ve judged many contests and for me the most important part of the contest is the interview with the judges. The contestant who has not done anything in the community and has no knowledge of the community is not going to win. When I judged Mr. Eagle NYC there was a contestant who was absolutely gorgeous. He was an actor / model. (An actor / model in New York – what are the odds?) Unfortunately, he had no background or knowledge about the leather community. He looked good on stage and spoke well, but he was not selected Mr. Eagle NYC. The interview cost him.

When planning a vacation, it’s always a good idea to know where you are going. If you are running for a leather title you should have some sort of idea where you would like to take that title. Is there a charity in your community that you feel could use some support? Have you experienced an issue and want to share your journey in order to help others? Is there a problem in the community that needs correcting? Think about what your platform would be if you were presented with a leather title. This will also come up at the interview and in conversation with the judges. “I just want to do it for me” is not a winning platform.

Don’t be The Lone Ranger. It is always clear when a contestant bravely hits that stage and never asked anyone for help. We all like to think I can do this myself. I don’t need anyone. Yes, you can but with a community filled with leather titleholders who would be happy to help you, why wouldn’t you ask? If I fell and broke my arm, I could try to fix it myself – but why would I? I’m going to an expert. Seek out as much advice as you can. You don’t have to do everything that everyone tells you to do, but it doesn’t hurt to listen to the voice of experience.

When running for a leather title the first item that contestants worry about is clothing choices. What do I wear? If this is your only concern than perhaps you should sit this one out. Yes, you will be judged on appearance, but the person who looks flawless does not always win. Support your local bootblacks. Your leather does not have to be new, but make sure everything looks good and fits well. It is your time to shine, make sure your boots do too! One can never go wrong with classic black leather. Those chaps with the flames down the side may be loved by one judge and hated by another. There can be a fine line between creative and catastrophe.

Something I didn’t have to worry about in 2001 was social media. Just as you should learn as much about your judges as possible before the interview (Google them!), don’t be surprised if they know who you are as well. When is the last time you Googled yourself? (I do it all the time when Sir Steve is away for the winter – but that’s another story.) What does your Facebook page show about you? Does it show that you are involved and working in the community? Does it show a strong, resourceful person who would make a good leader? Or does it show a chronic complainer who trashes others and has nothing but negative things to say. Believe me the contest starts as soon as you put in your application.

Our area’s leather contest season will soon be here. Go ahead and take that first step and enter a leather contest. Even if you are not selected you will meet lots of people and learn so much. I’ve heard many people say that they didn’t enter because they were not ready. Why wouldn’t you be ready to have the best year of your life? It is time to start running!

Author Profile

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 ( 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.