Wet Weather in Leather!

By Johnnie “Boardwalk” Burke

Every one of the Fire Island towns was trying to muster some festive special events despite the freezing, wet, and windy weather on the weekend of May 19, and the Grove was no exception. And nothing can keep the leather community from their annual Mr. Fire Island Leather contest held in the Grove every May. The guys gathered from all over the country and held their reunion weekend starting on Friday with a hurried dash from the ferry through the rain and a check-in and cocktails at the Belvedere Guest House. Dinner was laid out later at the Ice Palace. The full spread (ample enough for even the hungriest “bears”) was deliciously prepared by Frank and his team at Grove Pizza. Never has the Ice Place smelled so sumptuous!And although Saturday morning started as a complete washout with hunks huddling over their breakfasts at Floyd’s, it was all toasty testosterone later that night again at the Ice Palace. The contestants competed in five categories: Dress Leather, not to be confused with Leather Dress; Interview, always be prepared; Raunchy Wear, enough said; Q&A, a variation on the interview section but more off the cuff; and Fantasy Wear, costumed in a fantasy scene or narrative. These guys work harder than the Miss America gals!

The whole shebang was emceed by island-icon Ariel Sinclair, donning what looked like a leather Norman Norell, and the handsome Edd Clark. The judges included Champagne Bubbles, Miss Fire Island 2017, and a fraternity of past leather title-holders. The outgoing Mr. Fire Island Leather for 2017, Sir Joseph, has the distinction of being the first winner from the island to be going directly to the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago, where it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary. His successor for 2018 is Mr. C.B. Kirby (Mr. Eagle NYC, 2011), and the first runner-up was Volker Nurenberg.