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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reviews of Last Night's Contest

=== Meshing ===

At some point over the past decades, years, months and maybe even just a few hours, I have personally spoken with approximately 90 percent of the people who were at Richs last night for the Mr. San Diego Leather 2011 Contest. It comes with being a super-extrovert on a mission. So, I was in a unique position to get a sense for the vibe in the building.

The three men who ran for the title had approximately the same number of support-team members as the average space-shuttle launch. There were official volunteers EVERYWHERE, scurrying around with a crazed look in their eyes, giving off a "Don't distract me, I'm doing valuable work!" vibe. I also spoke to several folks who just showed up, looked around, and started helping out just because they wanted to contribute. You couldn't wish for a more diverse team.

This doesn't happen by random happenstance. The overarching dream has to have solid value for the largest number of people. The volunteers saw that their efforts have led to a huge, visible benefit, and they felt valued as a direct result of their work. Everybody gave everything they had, and it all showed up for the rest of us to see. They have been working like beavers for the last two weeks, making sure that San Diego Leather Pride was a huge success.

Teamwork fails if leadership is lacking, and we don't have that problem at all. The committee that has been meeting with volunteers every single month of the year has decades of shared experience, which is what went away during the bad years when so many of us died. In this new phase, every year, the team gets bigger, the plans get more focused, and the continuity that we crave gets locked-in just a bit more.

Last night's event was unified, and spookily serene. If there were any behind-the-scenes bloopers, nobody cared. There was enough shared glory to go around the room fifty times. This is how a community works when it works well. The many folks visiting from out-of-town (and I spoke to them all) got to see that San Diego's team meshes together like the parts of a half-million-dollar watch. 

If you've ever fretted that San Diego's Leather Tribe has been in a sleepy daze, then it's time to let go of that idea. Those days are over and done.  We're in the next phase… we are all on a rocket-ship together, heading for the stars, just like we were in the late 1970's. Our community is thriving, and it's time to tell your friends the good news.

Everybody shared their best talents, and the entire team was staggering around afterward in a happy endorphin-rush daze. Everybody earned it the right way. Thanks to everyone who contributed, even just a little bit.  On the very deepest and most-meaningful levels, what you did matters, and for many people. Raising large amounts of lovely money for charity was only a small part of the value that was provided. No amount of money can heal a community's soul like a visibly-unified, diverse, cooperative and HUGE effort like what we've seen over the last few weeks.

=== The Contestants ===

I haven't processed the zillions of pictures yet, but I saw this one, and wanted to share it. It shows, from left, our three contestants: Anthony, Kurt and Daddy Dan, plus Adam (one of the Leather Pride Committee members). All three contestants gave their best efforts, and made us proud. Kurt is our new Mr. San Diego Leather for 2011. All three men have been actively involved in making our town a better place for us all, and will continue to do so. It was an excellent competition, with charm, beef and passionate speeches from the heart. I sure hope that they all feel loved and appreciated, because they sure earned it!

=== The Crowd ===

The audience was fully engaged, the press was there to witness our glorious shared success, and the new faces among us got to see something they didn't expect - a roaringly cohesive community.  Who wouldn't want to want to get more connected as a result? I added dozens of new guys to my mailing list last night, and they practically threw themselves at me to get on the list. My belief is their eagerness came from seeing that San Diego's REAL "social network" was all around them, bubbling and frothing with joyful community, and they wanted IN. These are clearly smart, observant fellas.

=== More Feedback ===

This was posted by Dave Rhodes on the SDLE list. Dave is the long-time publisher of The Leather Journal, a priceless resource for our community:


I saw some of the inner-workings that Tony mentions and that was great. Many of the people I knew from years past and some from more recent times.

What I experienced in my trip from LA to San Diego this time was a lot of unmeasurable love from people. Many from whom I've known and just as much from people I met for the first time. I've been to several hundred contests, in fact I've judged around 300 of them. What makes this one so significant was that love and from-the-heart that is going on in San Diego right now. I've been to San Diego a lot of times and seen many of these people before. I just felt a whole lot more love this time. What ever you did to make it this way, figure out what it is and don't let go of it.

I want to draw attention to a couple of men there who really were helpful when i got sick before the contest. Both were wearing khaki shirts and pants and I believe one was named Jerry. (Note from Tony - Jerry and Josh were 100% on-the-job at all events). If you know who these two are, please extend my gratitude to them. They were there and made sure that I got plenty of water and were helpful in other ways.

Your stepping down titleholder Anthony is a good one and it was evidenced in his speech. I didn't see any dry eyes in the room. That's not probably because it was dark, it is undoubtedly because there probably weren't any. He done y'all proud. We loved him in his visits to Los Angeles. I hope he does well at IML. I could go on, but I think I made the point. You displayed a lot of love, and the bottom line to this whole Leather community thing is just that, a whole lotta love.

Dave Rhodes
The Leather Journal__,_._,___

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