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International Mr. Leather Reigns Over Chicago

By Tim State in News on May 26, 2008 5:05AM

05-26-08_IML.jpgWho’s your daddy? Gary Iriza, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2008, is your daddy, sir. Iriza took the leather sash at the XXX International Mr. Leather (IML) Competition Sunday night. (The XXX stands for 30th anniversary, people.) IML is a beauty pageant of sorts, celebrating masculinity and a lifestyle of leather. IML has its roots in the Mr. Gold Coast contest, held in the historic Gold Coast Leather Bar. It expanded to a larger venue in 1979, and with the larger venue came the expanded “international” title.

Today, the competition--and the conference and marketplace held in conjunction with the competition--truly are international, drawing participants from all over the world to the sold-out host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The winner of the competition has to make his way through an interview, a stage presence and personality (Pecs and Personality) competition, and is also judged on leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance.

Iriza beat out a field of 51 contestants, from as far away as Berlin (Germany, not the bar), London, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. IML continues at the Hyatt with events on Monday.

Left to right: Bootdog, Int. Mr. Bootblack 2008 (a boot shine competition held in conjunction with IML); Scott Melton, Mr. Ramrod 2007, 2nd runner up; Gary Iriza, IML 2008; Bob Fifth-Tessier, M. Cuir Montreal, 1st runner up; Chuck Renslow, IML Executive Producer. Photo by Dan Nash for IML, Inc., via