Thursday, February 14, 2013: the Leather Journal 25 Year Recognition Dinner.
A good-sized crowd, given the fact that it was Valentine's Day!
We gathered to honor Dave Rhodes, and his hard work to build the Leather Journal. He is now being ably helped by Yvonne and Bryan, a new generation of idealistic, tech-savvy folks who know how to work with electronic media.
It was also a benefit for the local chapter of the Mr. Friendly project, which is an effort to remove the stigma of being HIV-positive. Mr. and Ms. San Diego Leather 2012 Aaron and Wish are spearheading the effort.
Friday, February 15, 2013: The Meet and Greet at the Eagle
This was the first official event that would allow the contestants, judges and general public to meet each other in a social setting. It was a combined fundraiser for the Mister Friendly project in San Diego, and the Leather Foundation.
Here they are, waiting for things to get started.
Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013 Contestants - Left to right:
Contest Producer Russ started out by having the contestants root around
in his pockets for the contestant numbers that would apply to them
for the rest of the weekend.
Aaron and Wish talked about the Mr. Friendly project. His t-shirt shows the logo.
Time for the contestants to sell raffle tickets!
It cost folks $102 to get me out of jail, and $100 to
get Sir Nicholas freed later on. All in good fun, and for charity!
Who wants to be my Prison Bitch?
We had a wonderful crew of supportive sisters. Over $800 was raised that night.
Then, it was time for STUD Night at the Eagle - Our own Preston Steel did a masterful job of showing us the best parts of Jeremy Stevens.
Saturday, February 16, 2013: The Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013 Contest at the Eagle
Introducing the judges.
"Bar Wear" portion:
Jay comes on stage for the first time.
Eli Steps Down
Mr. San Diego Eagle 2012 Eli gave his step-down speech toward the end of the contest, and as always, he had the crowd enthralled.
Afterward, he thanked me for my support, and here was my reply:
You have earned every bit of the love that you are getting - Not just from me, but from everyone.
I am VERY proud of you. You did everything right, and much MORE than anyone could ever have predicted.
You took on a simple "bar title" as if it were the International Mr. Leather title itself. You traveled to other cities at every opportunity, and represented San Diego with grace, warmth and style. The network of support for our city has grown ENORMOUSLY because of your direct, and conscious efforts. You exemplify the word "Ambassador".
I've never seen you slack off, since the first moment that you decided that you were going to run for the title, back in December 2011. From that moment on, every sentence out of your mouth contained a Noun, a Verb and "Mr. San Diego Eagle". I've never seen anybody so determined and focused.
Then, once you had the title, you used it as a tool for breaking through into new levels of interconnections between the cities - All over Southern California, but everywhere else as well. You're enormously well-liked, and for all of the right reasons. Your charm, enthusiasm, willingness to take chances and constant personal growth are exciting for your public to witness.
One of my favorite memories from the Desert Pride 2012 weekend was of you and Aaron sitting at the big, central table. That was THE table to be seen at, because you two were clearly the popular stars of the evening's soiree. People hung on your every word, and you handled it really well - with dignity, grace and humility.
Your life has taken a powerful new trajectory, and you did it all yourself. Yes, many, many people love you, and share their best tips, but nobody could ever force a man to show up the way that you have, and PROVIDE leadership, friendship, volunteering, support of every kind, and role-modeling. You're the one who made the choices that led to you stepping down on Saturday, covered in glory and public admiration.
Many other cities wish that they had what San Diego has, and Mr. San Diego Eagle 2012 Eli is right at the top of the list!
Announcing the results:
Nicholas talks about the expectations of the contestants and the winner of the title.
Gathering the former Mr. San Diego Eagles, along with the contestants.
This shows continuity of our community's traditions.
Derek is announced as First Runner-Up.
Robb learns that he has won the title of Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013.
He is pretty happy about it!
Nicholas congratulates Robb.
Our Traditions Continue.
The results of the Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013 Contest.
Left to right:
- Mr. San Diego Eagle 2012 Eli
- Mr. San Diego Eagle 2013 Robb Rodd
- First Runner-Up Derek
Thanks to the entire team that put this effort together. It was a magnificent effort, and it was a huge growth-experience for the four men who stepped up to declare their intentions to become more active in the community.
My strong hope is that ALL of them stay fully-engaged in our Tribe's progress. We surely need them!