First Published: May 2003
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Congratulations go to Londoner John Pendal representing The Hoist who won the 25th International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago over the weekend. OutUK correspondent Rex Wockner donned his chaps and skintight leather vest and sent us this report.

More than 10,000 leather aficionados turned out for the five days of festivities.

John Pendal beat out 57 other contestants from five nations, although there was a tie for first place that was broken only by adding back in the highest and lowest scores from the individual judges. Ordinarily the highest and lowest scores are discarded.

International Mr Leather John Pendal.
Photo by Rex Wockner.
Pendal said he hopes to increase IML's profile in Europe but he also plans to educate Americans.

"America is so far ahead -- you can see by the number of contestants that America puts forward for this, so Europe needs a lot of help, and I will be trying to do that," Pendal said. "But I also want to teach Americans that there is an international leather community. It's such a huge continent. So many Americans don't even have passports. So I'll be coming over here to try and educate you as much as taking something back to them."

Donald Dotson from Tampa, Mr. Suncoast Eagle, was this year's first runner-up and Mr. Los Angeles Leather, Stephen Blackwell, took third place.

IML founder and Executive Director Chuck Renslow said the leather world has not seen any "basic" changes in 25 years, but it is much bigger and less clandestine now. He also noted that lesbians and heterosexuals are increasingly joining the leather community.

Renslow said today's twentysomethings are just as intrigued by leather as the baby-boomers that built today's visible leather scene.


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