This year, there are 7 contestants (vs. 5 last year): me, Ron McFerrin from Wisconsin (who also competed last year), Ed from Ft. Lauderdale, Mark (from Chicago), Mike (from Chicago), Chad (from Chicago), and Tommy (from Bloomington). I can predict right now that the three top finishers will probably be me, Tommy, and Chad. Chad is a model for House of Whacks, but Tommy is going to be the tough one to beat hes one of the guys from rubbermen.com. He knows the workings of the contest, he knows rubber, he is known in rubber. (Maybe I can slip something past his food taster. B-)
Judges are Tom Kelley, Thomas Smith, Christoph Lehner, Dave Rhodes, and Tim Brough. The first three are the previous three titleholders, Dave is the publisher of The Leather Journal, and Tim is the publisher/editor of Vulcan America. Tims slot was supposed to be filled by Rich Villagracia, the 1997 titleholder, but his company sent him to Japan this week. (Which is doubly unfortunate, since hes from Seattle, and I might have thus had a ready in with him.)
Three of the contestants didnt come to brunch in rubber, which kind of surprised me but they werent me, Tommy, or Chad, so thats more strength on our side.
Ill be leaving for the individual judging in about 30 minutes. (Ill be wearing god, but dont I sound like the clothes horse that I am! my Mr. S sailor pants [recently repaired from a nasty rip], a custom black and white shirt from Syren, and the obligatory latex bomber jacket [which so many people want that Ill have to put it in my will] and the LaCrosse boots [which are getting a lot of wear black knee-highs go with everything, after all]).
Special thanks for all the notes Ive gotten from people thus far today. They are all appreciated. Like last year, Ill be doing a Trip Report, with these messages as the basis, and with lots of pictures 18 so far, and almost all people, since most of the location photos can just be reused from last years report.
Im contestant #2 this year, just like last year. I would actually rather be #3 or 4, since there are seven of us, but being #2 means Im not first but I still get warm water for the Wet Rubber session.
During the judging, there is a swap meet at the front part of the Cell Block, so I may buy something there. (I did last year, and will be using it tonight.) And I want to go visit Equinox and Décor near the hotel, in the quest for a wonderful Christmas gift for my real estate agent in Seattle (who is actually in Ft. Lauderdale for a month and getting these messages, so I sure wont say what I buy until the full reports go up. Hi Bill, hi Joe!).
And then I hope to get a couple hours sleep to help make up for what I didnt get last night, getting back to the hotel at 5:45. (slut)
Expect another report later this afternoon, about how the judging went (and my wardrobe for the evening!), and then one in the morning with the results of the contest. And then probably one on Monday for the aftermath and introspective self-analysis.
Take care, one and all.