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

Aftermath: Part 2: Beer Bust and Travel (Sunday, 11/14 and Monday, 11/15)

     Sunday afternoon and evening was the final event of the weekend, the “Rubber Ball Beer Bust” (so we could “bounce back”?), hosted by the Hellfire Club.  In addition to Mr. International Rubber, November 12-14 was also the annual Hellfire Associates weekend in Chicago.  (As I understand it, the core membership of Hellfire is just a handful of men, with the bulk of the people being “Associate” members, and they are the ones who really put on the events like Inferno.  [That isn’t meant to slight either the Associates or the core members, of course.]  This weekend was for new applicants, but I don’t know any details beyond that.)  The beer bust was a fundraiser for the McAdory Fund that Hellfire supports.

     In addition to ample beer and an apparently extremely lackluster chili buffet (which I didn’t sample) — I’m told it was basically from the can, and only lukewarm — there was a series of prize raffles (with the usual means of buying tickets: $5 for an inseam, with a guy on his knees burying his face in your crotch while he measures).  I ended up winning two of the raffles: two Jack Daniels t-shirts (oh, yay), one Inferno t-shirt, one Inferno mug (which I proceeded to break the handle off before I left the bar; it’s now a pencil holder by the computer), a deck of cards, an Odysseus travel guide from 1998 (oooo!), and a Russo’s Sex Pig porn video.

     (Gee.  The last porn video I got — a cheap-ass [pun intended] thing called Danny’s Anal Ordeal [not especially anal, and more an ordeal for the viewer than for Danny, I think] sat in my VCR from May through Thanksgiving or so, and no, that’s not because I watch it frequently.  This new one should be good for a year or more.  [In fact, a month after returning from Chicago, I still hadn’t popped it into the VCR, and over a year later, I still hadn’t watched the second half, given the stellar dialogue content in the first half.])

     At the beer bust, I got to play for quite a while with the current Great Lakes Drummer.  (Hi, David.)  My, my, my.  He threatened (offered?) at one point to put me in his duffel bag and take me back to Grand Rapids with him; I was perhaps lucky (or at least my nipples and balls were, although they were only complaining on the surface; likewise for my thoroughly soaked jeans) that he had to go back that evening.

     I later went out to dinner at Mike’s on Broadway with three of the Hellfire guys (I only remember one of their names: Mike, from DC; another was also from DC, and the third was from New York, I think).  Nice men, although two of them were into cigars.  (Not for me.  Just being around them that evening was probably a main reason for my slightly scratchy throat on Monday.)

     (Don’t go there.  <grin>)

Mike’s on Broadway


North Coast Cafe


Contest program and ticket


Gay Chicago coverage


From the New World Rubbermen newsletter

     It’s time for me to retract some of the personal beating I gave myself earlier.  At the beer bust, I got to talk briefly with Thomas Smith and extensively with Patti Brown (one of the Cell Block managers, and an organizer of the contest), and they gave me a bunch of post-contest details on the judging.  Thomas echoed Tim’s comments from the previous night, that he had had no idea who the winner would be prior to the announcement; at least the top two, and I presume the top three since Thomas and Tim both mentioned this to me, were that close.

     After the afternoon judging (200 points, if I recall correctly; 1/3 of the total), Bruce and I were tied, and Tom was ahead of us by just 5 points.  (I don’t know how many of the 200 Tom got, of course, but that’s just a 2.5% spread between the three of us.)  After the Rubber Image and The Question segments (another 300 points, I think), the point spread was still about the same — I can’t recall who was in first, if Patti told me.  The final results, out of 600 total points (although as above, I have no idea how much of the 600 any of us received), was a spread of just 17 points between the top three — less than a 3% spread.  I feel much better about coming in third now.

     (What this means, basically, is that Tom’s bit in the shower with his boots may have been a deciding bit.  I wouldn’t have tried that myself, though, because my rubber boots are actually a little bit too small for me, and they get incredible suction with water in them.  Falling on my butt wouldn’t have been pretty, much less a score grabber.)

     While at the back bar, Patti and I (and Bob, the choreographer from the former Saddle Swingers dance team) were watching the video of the contest.  (Alas, the color on the screens was off, and my nice red shirt looked kind of off-salmon; not a good color on me.)  Patti pointed out that every one of us directed almost all of our attention to the emcee; we paid little attention to the crowd, and even less to the judges — often even turning our backs to them.  (The snippets that I saw showed Bruce and I doing this less than the others; I probably paid better attention to the crowd than the other contestants — I know I scanned the crowd from time to time to make eye contact — but far less than I should have.)  In partial defense of the contestants, we entered the stage on the audience’s left side (“stage right,” I think?), which is where the judges were seated, and had to cross over to where Khris Francis stood; this encouraged us to face away from and otherwise ignore the judges.  But also, this ignoring is caused by inexperienced contestants; there are not, as yet, any regional contests which would tone competitors up for the event.  Patti said, however, that you see this from lots of contestants in events all the way up the ladder to IML and Drummer.

     Another item of note is that the top three of us all had some degree of support structure or mentor going into the event — Tom is a member of GMSMA, and had former rubber title holder Ryan Johnson as a mentor of sorts; Bruce is a member of the Atons of Minneapolis, and knew Thomas Smith before he moved to Palm Springs; and I was attached to the then newly formed club The Rubbermen of San Francisco Bay.  (Thank you, Marc, for the advice and support!)  I don’t know if Ron and Frank had any such connections or not; they didn’t mention any.

     Tom told me he had even videotaped himself in all his outfits and such, in order to see how he looked other than in the mirror.  Tom had all his smaller items for the evening contest bagged and labeled, and Bruce had four or five pieces of luggage (aieee!) with a complete packing list of what was in each.  (Me, I’m a Virgo.  I knew where all my stuff was with no problem.  Having so much of it being colorful also helped; no need to hold up several black shirts and try to figure out which is which!)

     There had been a couple photographers from the local gay papers (I presume) present on both Friday and Saturday nights, taking pictures, but only Gay Chicago published any coverage whatsoever (according to a friend whom I asked to check things out and send my copies of anything.  Hi, Mike), and that was just three photos, no article.

     The Mr. Marcus column in the Bay Area Reporter , which covers all the leather/fetish contests — although especially the ones which Marcus is invited to as a judge — gave a very short mention of the event, not even listing any participants but the winner, and included a photo of Tom in the following issue.  (If one is available, Marcus usually runs a photos of the winner and first/second runners-up.  Perhaps the ones that Patti sent weren’t usable.)

     The Leather Journal had the most significant coverage — no surprise, given that the publisher was a judge.  Half of the front page, including a photo, and an additional page with about 1/4 text and 3/4 pictures.  (And somehow, I managed to be pictured in the “Wet Rubber” photo sample, meaning that there were more pictures of me in the coverage than of the winner.  Sorry, Tom!  <grin>)  If you would like to read The Leather Journal story, click here.


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