This has been an amazing journey. It all started months ago while I was at ILSb/cbb in San Francisco. I met two amazing women, Miss Rae and Lady Minx. The three of us hung out with Miss Rae’s pet Chris for a chunk of the weekend. At that time I was not even thinking of running for IMsL. I was impressed by those two women enough that they were a chunk of the deciding factor me for to run. I wanted to be a part of a huge sisterhood. I have heard so many stories from prior IMsL’s and decided in November that I deserved to be part of something big. I had no idea just how big big was. In December I picked the theme of my auction basket and speech. Our History… Past… Present… Future. I started collecting stories from leather woman from all over the United States and several from Canada. They were put into a custom bound book called Herstory with every story signed by its author and IMsL weekend that book alone sold for $400.00. Keep your eyes open for future anthology books. I am already collecting for the next edition and will be reaching out to all of you soon for your stories.
The fantasy portion has always been a black cloud for me. I wanted to raise the bar for myself. I am better then what I have done in the past. So I went thru dozens of ideas going after my passions. Phantom has always been close to my heart and I damn near went with that theme but I’m certain its been done before. I wanted something unique that represented not just who I am but also where I come from. So the Soprano’s it was! I am very fortunate to have Ms Khiki in Philly and she was a huge help in designing the fantasy. I can not thank my friends JD and Starfire enough for flying out to IMsL with me to ensure a fantastic fantasy and they were also amazing handlers for the weekend. I know JD was out of his element and I really wish my eyes had been open enough to see that he was not treated so well. When we were not together the assumptions went flying that he did not belong. I can absolutely say he did belong and any contestant anywhere would be very fortunate to have him as a handler. He made sure I was well taken care of over the weekend and brought the word friend to a level I have rarely reached. Starfire was just as amazing. She kept my spirits lifted and has a smile that reaches into your soul. So the three of us put on one hell of a show for the audience. We have already agreed to an encore of the fantasy in November during Philadelphia Leather Pride Night.
My speech.. I knew in December the speech would be about women’s history. What I didn’t know was the announcement of the Women’s Leather History Project that would happen in January. The timing was perfect and the speech was so close to my passions and my heart that I had a hard time practicing it without choking up. I had thrown a fundraiser in November where Rick Storer brought Jill Carter’s IMsL sash from 1996 and both him and Jill were on one of the same stages in a venue that had been used during that competition. I certainly hope I brought honor to our leather women’s community and my work in preserving out voices and our stories has only just begun.
I arrived on Wednesday to California and was picked up at the airport by Robin. What great curb side service! I really enjoyed meeting her and gladly accepted the invitation to attend the Exiles munch that night. It was pretty neat sitting there with brand new women to the scene and being there for newbie’s to ask questions too concerning the contest. I also was treated to a very special horseback ride that afternoon. I could not think of a better way to start off my trip out West. I rode an Arabian horse that was a joy and was easily able to just relax and ride up the mountains to the most spectacular view of the ocean. That ride and the company solidified what I already knew would be a life long friendship. Most of the contestants met up that night in the hotel sports bar. What a great group of women. I had been in contact with all of them at some point over the last 2 months and it was great meeting face to face. I immediately hit it off with Donna from San Diego. The two of us are going to be partners in crime and wine for a very long time.
Thursday was the contestant meeting then the tour of the city. I loved going to the Golden Gate Bridge. Got some great group pictures there. I don’t know what was more fun though… the dog pile on the sling at Mr S leather or the ice cream at Ghiradelli’s chocolate. Oh wait… the boots at Stompers. Miss Rae found a perfect pair of Wesco custom boots and they looked fabulous on her. She did not get them and they fit me perfect. Damn they are perrrrty and fit me like a glove. It took most of my spending money for the trip but well worth every cent. After the tour we all had dinner at a local restaurant. Yummm yummmm yummmm. Surprisingly the contestants had a 10:30 curfew so I attended at much of Seduction as I could and damn glad I did….. lap dance from Q…sweeeet. I was passed out well before 11pm and almost didn’t hear the door knock for the curfew check.
Friday I got to sleep in a bit. My girl along with Master Steve and slave tami flew in and I was very thankful to be surrounded by such good energy. I was able to put my name on the list to get my new boots done and had Jayson DaBoi bring them to life. Next was the fantasy run thru. I had asked prior for Felice’s assistance and she was able to make a good fantasy a great fantasy… thank you! I also got to see the IMsL program book on Friday. My friends from Philly had taken out a ½ page using the logo from Philly Leather Pride Night. The gay rodeo circuit had 2 ad’s in the book. One was a ½ page ad from the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association and the other was from the International Gay Rodeo Association for Finals rodeo in Nevada this year. I have always seen the rodeo involved with IML but never with IMsL. I don’t know if this is a first but damn…. I can not thank them enough. Opening ceremonies were Friday night followed by the celebrity auction then uniform party. This was the day for contestant interviews. Mine was delayed a bit but I was comfortable and loved answering a question with the simple word… gingerbread. Once again curfew put me to bed early and I actually was there and asleep by 11pm and very thankful my girl had flown out to be with me.
Saturday is a huge blur. I know I was at several functions in the VIP suite. The Exiles, Mama’s family, SF Leather, etc…. We had last minute rehearsals for the opening number and we also got to practice our fantasies one last time. Dinner was upstairs as a group. By this time the 10 of us had bonded pretty damn well. What an honor it was to get to know all the contestants over the last few days. Finally the contest started. After the opening number Lady Minx went first with hotwear/pop question and then immediately into my speech. The order was hotwear, speech, fantasty, hotwear, speech, fantasy, etc… so the next thing I did was hot wear. I chose to wear my leather duster with a t-shirt that said “Sexual Outlaw” along with my Cowboy Equipment boxer briefs and boots. My question involved changing limits with my answer being public sex. It was always a hard limit that was redefined over the past year. The last was my fantasy. Vi Johnson had given me a brand new on the market electronic cigar and puffing away on it I didn’t realize just how realistic it looked to the crowds. When I tossed it off stage several went to pounce on it to put it out. In the end the 10 of us lined up and the winners were announced. Jayson was named Int’l Ms Bootblack with Luna taking 1st runner up. 2nd runner up for IMsL was Miss Rae from Florida, 1st runner up was Donna from San Diego and the winner was Mo from San Francisco. Mo was the one to beat this weekend and she was just spectacular and what an honor it was being on the same stage as her. I called Miss Rae being on the stand weeks in advance. I have had the pleasure of getting to know her over the last couple of months and she was the one to really look out for. Donna…. I knew nothing about her before the weekend and in the end beyond a doubt she earned her place on the podium. This class of 8 was just spectacular. The judges had their work cut out for them and I am proud to have represented my region so well. To give an idea of how special these women are… I gave 100% of the 100% that I had to give. I was healthy and my game was on. Every contestant wanted this with all of their hearts and souls and it showed. Each of us are winners and I will make it a point to keep in touch with all of them and will even be at some of their step-downs. Miss Rae gets to see me in June at SELF and her step-down and I believe Cathy will also be there. I will be in LA and will hang with Genesis in August. Lady Minx will not get rid of me so easily as I call her a friend and our paths will cross again at ILSb/CBB. Mo… I will be at your step-down from Ms San Francisco Leather. I had such a good time there and have been invited back. I can not think of a better time then to be there as a IMsL sister. Donna…… I will see you at IML and hopefully not just in the elevator (grins). Call on me and I will be there for you. I will also be at Morgaines step-down as Ms NJ Leather. Luna… I know I’ll see you at the M/s Conference as well as a couple others.
Ironically, my schedule is filling up fast. Only one thing may have come off my plate and at least 3 have been added. I leave for CLAW this weekend then come home and start gearing up for this years Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. To my IMsL sisters… keep Nov 6th in mind and if you’re on the East Coast please come support a good cause.
Sunday my girl flew home and my handlers went sightseeing so I went out and rented a 3 wheeler scooter for the day/night. Its called an MP3 and I had a blast! I have a set of cohonnas and even parked it right outside the Eagle for the Dykes on Bikes party. I showed up alone and a good friend jumped on back and we went up to the top of Twin Peaks then had non-alcoholic drinks on Castro St. When we got back to the hotel I made my way to the play area and got to pull out my claws and the body sack. What fun indeed. Afterwards I went to the wind-down party and was able to say goodbye to most of the other contestants. Ironically Donna and I ended the weekend the same exact way we both started. What a pleasure and joy to end things on such a positive note!!!
Monday Ren was right there to pick up myself, JD and Starfire to get us back to the airport after dropping off the MP3. Every little thing was thought out for contestants and having Ren drop us off was a perfect way to say goodbye to a new friend. We loaded up on the plane and I fell asleep before we even left the gate waking up only to be told we were landing.
I wanted to end this with a special thank you. I made a point of saying thank you to as many volunteers as I could over the weekend. I don’t think I did enough. Running an event at home and volunteering myself for god knows how many events over the years I know how important it is to say those 2 simple words. If it wasn’t for the volunteers IMsL would not have happened. I saw many of the same faces over and over and over. Every single one made the contestants feel like rock stars. The producers, event staff, production manager, contestant liaisons, sound and lighting, DM’s, grunts, registrants, women checking wristbands, stage crew, judges, and all those that came as spectators to see history being made. Thank you one… thank you all. I look forward to coming back…..