Don Thompson
March 14, 2006



There are many reasons that people run for leather titles and some of them are valid and some of them are not. Here are some reasons I’ve heard in the past:

I think it would be cool to have a leather title.

It would give me a chance to show off my huge collection of leather.

It would be a great way to get tricks.

I would get to travel all over the country and have fun.

My Sir (or Master) told me to.

I want to give back to the community and help charities and set an example of leadership.

The sort of person who thinks it would be real cool to have a title wouldn’t last five minutes before he was severely disillusioned. Having a title is not about showing off and if done properly can involve a lot of work. And if you had a title and you worked it you’d be on stage so much as MC or being a judge that by the time you got off stage at midnight or later all the cute guys would have been picked up already or would be too drunk to even think about.

As far as traveling is concerned, sure, with a city title, part of your prize would be the paid opportunity to go to Chicago and enter the IML contest. But as just a bar titleholder, you’d be on your own for out of town travel. Probably no out of town event would invite you to MC or judge their contest anyway. Paid flights and accommodation only happens to national or international title winners.

The final reason is the right one, of course. People who feel that they want to give back to the community or want to use the title to raise money for specific charities usually succeed and usually get a great deal of help and support from the community. Some holders of the IML title are exceptional. John Pendal, for instance, won the title in 2003 and despite the fact that he lives in England, has been over to this country scores of times to participate in events. He even came twice to Palm Springs. Sure, some of the expenses would be paid but I‘ll bet he has practically bankrupted himself doing his title work. And he’s continuing to do it long after his year was over, setting a fine example. .A real working title holder sometimes feels that his life is not his own. In a vibrant city such as San Francisco was in the eighties and early nineties there were many events going on each week in several bars and each one expected the city title holder to at least show up and support them. It’s possible he would attend up to 250 events in a year and a quick calculation will tell you that there would be zero home life that year!

As Mr. Barracks Leather and Mr. Palm Springs Leather, both Don Mentink and Jack Beneville set a fine standard. Each presented a fund raiser at least once a week and attended others’ events. They also wrote magazine columns and traveled at their own expense to represent and promote Palm Springs. Unfortunately their two successors both entered the contest not because they had the desire to but because a Sir or Master told them to and they were not nearly as visible as their predecessors. Bernard, in 2006 has a business to run which is his priority. Some people do find it all too much. Michael Congdon, Leather Sir 2005 stepped down from his title recently. Winning an international title just three months after entering his first leather contest, he announced that he was "overwhelmed with the task of juggling his title holder responsibilities with his work responsibilities and personal commitments." So…if you’re thinking of running for a title this year, make sure you have the time and energy to do it, otherwise you may regret it.