Mr. CMEN Leather 2018 named at West Coast Gathering:
James Stewart from San Diego, California, won the title of Mr. CMEN Leather 2018 at CMEN’s West Coast Gathering in Malibu, CA on Thursday evening, September 6, 2018. Christian G. from Phoenix, Arizona was selected runner-up.
James was born and raised in Oklahoma. James has been comfortable in his own skin socially since his college years and has embraced the acceptance and inclusiveness that both naturists and bears have shown him. He enjoys participating in leather community activities and is looking forward to representing CMEN at Southern California leather community events and at the International Mr. Leather contest in May 2019.
The judging panel was composed of Head Judge, Mr. CMEN Leather 2004 Mark L, Mr. CMEN Leather 2009 Danny B, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2013 Mark B, and Patrick R. Mr. CMEN Leather 2015 Rick B. served as Emcee.
Mr. CMEN 2017
Mark Simonds from Los Angeles, California won the title of Mr. CMEN Leather 2017 at CMEN’s West Coast Gathering on Friday evening, September 8, 2017. Cesare S. from Fort Lauderdale, Florida was runner- up. The contest was the culmination of Leather Day at the West Coast Gathering, a day celebrating the bond between naturist men who also participate in the leather community.
Born and raised in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, Mark came to California in the 1990’s for post-graduate training in child and adolescent psychiatry. A lover of nature, Mark found the National Parks and Forests of Southern California to be a great place for long walks and getting naked under the sun.
Mark also became involved in charity events including AIDS Lifecycle and has done three consecutive, 545 miles charity bicycle rides from San Francisco to Los Angeles raising, with the help of his partner, about $45,000 for HIV prevention and cure. As a member of CMEN for several years Mark is looking forward to representing CMEN at local leather community events and plans to compete in the International Mr. Leather contest in May 2017.
Mark’s title goal is to recruit more young people into the naturist and leather communities.
The judging panel was composed of all former Mr. CMEN Leather winners including Head Judge Mark L, Mr. CMEN Leather 2004; Gordon K, Mr. CMEN Leather 2013 and Rob S, Mr. CMEN Leather 2003 Rick B, Mr. CMEN Leather 2015 served as Emcee. Esteban B. spoke about his year as Mr. CMEN Leather 2016 representing CMEN both at Los Angeles area events and at the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago in May. Esteban presented Mark with the title sash.
Contestants were interviewed by a panel of judges prior to the on stage portion of the contest. Questions were asked to determine their participation in and knowledge about both the gay naturist and leather communities, speaking ability and personality. Contestants were asked to describe what leather means to them.
During the on stage portion of the contest, contestants dressed to look their best in leather accessories. Contestants were asked to explain or interpret fundamental leather community concepts, such as “safe, sane and consensual activity;” or “trust, honor and respect.” They were also asked how they would promote a stronger relationship between CMEN and the leather community.
The Mr. CMEN Leather Contest is an International Mr. Leather Pre-IML Title Event, with the winner representing CMEN at the International Mr. Leather Contest.
Held in Chicago each May, the International Mr. Leather Contest has grown to be an annual tradition for thousands in the leather community – drawing contestants and attendees from around the globe. International Mr. Leather (IML) was established in 1979. The IML contest grew out of the Mr. Gold Coast contest. The conference now spans several days, and includes the IML competition, speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market. To compete, IML contestants must either be the winner of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather bar, business, club, or organization. International Mr. Leather weekend has grown to be an annual tradition for thousands in the leather community. A total of 59 contestants competed for the International Mr. Leather title in 2016, 52 contestants competed in 2015.
As in past years, the West Coast Gathering Leather Day also featured social activities, leather demonstrations and workshops for all those men attending the gathering who are interested in or curious about the gay leather community and leather culture.
The social hour embraced leather with the theme “Leather and Fetish Fantasies.” As in past years, a high percentage of the men attending the gathering dressed in leather accessories. The late night victory dance embraced a black party theme with a dungeon area and demonstrations in the side room.
Past Mr. CMEN Leather Contests
CMEN has been holding a Mr. CMEN Leather contest at the West Coast Gathering each September since 2000. The contest became an International Mr. Leather Pre-IML event in 2003. Past Mr. CMEN Leather winners are:
- 2016 – Esteban B, from Los Angeles, California*
- 2015 – Rick B, from Los Angeles California*
- 2014 – Dennis W, from Palm Springs, California*
- 2013 – Gordon K, from Denver, Colorado
- 2012 – Sean McG. from Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 2011 – Eric O, from Los Angeles, California*
- 2010 – Rob McP, from Redondo Beach, California
- 2009 – Danny B, from Austin, Texas*
- 2008 – Jon G, from San Diego, California
- 2007 – Tony K. from Sydney, Australia*
- 2006 – Cam H. from Oakland, California*
- 2005 – Scott S. from Los Angeles, California*
- 2004 – Mark L. from Ventura, California*
- 2003 – Rob S. from Phoenix, Arizona*
- 2002 – Ro from London, England
- 2001 – Scott S. from Los Angeles, California
- 2000 – J.D. from Birmingham, Michigan
All registered gathering participants are eligible to compete in the Mr. CMEN Leather contest, except for past Mr. CMEN Leather contest winners since 2003, and other current leather title holders.
The gay leather community is a loosely knit community composed of individuals, partners and groups who typically like to wear leather accessories and garments, most often like those of the post-WWII biker culture. Many also share an interest in a common group of fetishes. The common foundation the leather community or leather culture is built upon are the principals of trust, honor and respect.
Mr. CMEN Leather Contest Sponsor
T & A LeatherWorks, 8 N. Fir Street, Ventura California 93001, Phone: 805-585-5804. Thank you for donation of the Mr. CMEN Leather sash.
In addition to the Mr. CMEN Leather contest, the West Coast Gathering, presented by California Men Enjoying Naturism, includes several contests representing different parts of the gay and bisexual community:
- Miss CMEN Queen
- Mr. Senior CMEN
- Mr. Bear CMEN
* Mr. CMEN Leather contest winners which represented CMEN at IML.
Trust, Honor and Respect
Mr. CMEN Leather contest photos by Kyle Y, Jeff C, and Jim McDonald, IML contest photo courtesy of IML.