Mr. International Rubber 2000 (November 11-15, 1999)

Meet the Contestants (Friday, 11/12)

     Friday night was the “Meet the Contestants” part of the weekend, ostensibly a cocktail party hosted by the outgoing titleholder, Thomas Smith.  Although no formal judging goes on at such an event, don’t even pretend that the contestants aren’t being scoped out and prejudged to some degree.  This event is an especially good opportunity for the judges to see how the contestants relate in a social environment.

     Only four of the contestants were present.  Three of us very quickly picked each other out of the crowd: me, Tom Kelley from New Jersey, and Bruce (B.D.) Chambers from Minneapolis.  (Both have facial hair, which is a definite plus!)  A fourth contestant, Ron McFerrin, was also there, but I don’t believe we met him that night.

     One of the judges whom I already knew is Dave Rhodes, publisher of The Leather Journal.  While we were talking about the event and the number of contestants — which was unclear, rumored at anywhere from four to seven at that point — Dave expounded on how to present of contest winners, remarking that although there is usually a first and a second runner-up, if there are only four contestants, a second runner-up should not be publicly announced (but should be notified backstage, especially if there is any prize attached).  This is because it tags the one person not announced as one of the three winners as last place, and thus as the “loser”; only with five or more contestants should a second runner-up be announced.

     In addition to socializing, there were a pair of demos that occurred during the evening.  One couple did a Liquid Latex painting demonstration, starting with doing a shirt on the half of the couple who hadn’t come in pre-painted.  They later did smaller demo painting bits for the people present, primarily some face painting and the like.  The other demo was from the guys at, who brought in a Vac Table.  An individual lies down on what looks like a huge gas barbecue, is covered by a sheet of clear vinyl (with an airhole at the mouth), and SHWWIP!, out goes the air.  I didn’t get the chance to try it myself — anything dealing with breath control and full-body immobilization isn’t attractive to me, given my own breathing and joint problems — but Bruce Chambers raved about it.  I’m not sure how it differs from a Vac Rack, except that no external breathing hose seems to be needed.

     By the close of the evening, I knew the contest wouldn’t be a cakewalk.  Both Bruce and Tom are good looking, great, sociable guys.  My best hope for winning would be to do excellent in the interview portion on Saturday afternoon.

     Of particular note in terms of latexwear was the outfit Bruce was wearing.  He had taken an Air Force shirt and pants and then hand-rubberized it using Liquid Latex.  He told me he initially tried painting it on with a brush, but ended up using a “finger painting” method to avoid brush strokes.  He also mentioned that the process tends to shrink the item being painted, so you need something that starts out too large for you.  No question, I am going to have to try this with Western wear!  (“Like a latex cowboy... [bum bum]”)

Bret and Dave


Liquid Latex Demo
by Jeff and Joe


Steve and a friend


Bruce and Tom



     Tonight’s outfit was a custom-made Star Boy shirt from So Hip It Hurts, latex sailor pants from Mr. S, a yellow rubberized raincoat from Burlington Coat Factory, and rubber boots from K-Mart.  (We get so used to paying leather-store prices for rubber and latex that we forget that there is mainstream rubberwear out there.  The coat cost $27 with tax, and the boots were just $15.  Can’t go wrong at prices like those!)

     Later that evening, I went up to Touché for the After Hours party.  Played a bit, had a good time.  (Hi, Bryan.  Hi, Bob.)  I wasn’t too worried about what time I got up for the brunch on Saturday, since it lasted from something like 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; no way could I be expected to be at the restaurant for the full four hours (and Dave Rhodes had confirmed that, telling me to not even try to be there before 11:00 or so).


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