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Dan Bear Sashed Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2023  

By Rodney Burger and Gallery photos by Rodney Burger, Michael Fowler, Todd Wolfstryker, Mufasa, Jeffrey Wayne, Ivan Nunez, Roberto Cuero and Lewis Curtis

Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Bear 2023 Daniel “Dan Bear” DeLuca, a salon owner and dancer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was selected Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2023 during the annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend presented in Washington, DC on January 12th – 15th. Mr. Connecticut Leather 2023 Trell Walters was selected first runner-up and the title of second runner-up was awarded to Chad Alan, first runner-up to Mr. DC Eagle 2018.

Also competing were Bakari Onyx from Washington, DC, and Kevin Heart from Dallas, Texas. An international panel of judges was assembled to help select the 38th Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather titleholder. They were International Mr. Leather 2022 / Mr. Leather Belgium 2020 Gael Leung Chong Wo, Mr. Leather Norway 2019-2020 Per Helge Nylund, Secretary for Leathermen of Ireland John O’Brien, Miss United States Icon 2012 Jennifer Warner, well-known speaker, author, and activist Dr. Sionne Hunter-Routledge, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2022 Andre Law, and Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2022 Duke. This year’s tally masters were Mr. Maryland Leather 2005 Lord Stephen Cather and Miss Gay Pittsburgh 1991 Kierra Darshell. Keeping the judges happy was judges’ boy Sean Garnett.

After canceling MAL in 2021 and producing a scaled-down MAL in 2022, the Centaur MC had to be singing Happy Days Are Here Again as Leatherfolk packed the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill and all four offsite dances produced by Kinetic were sold-out. Although there were many events in the city on Thursday, the official start of MAL was Friday evening as the hotel became filled, the large leather vendor mart opened, and the parties began. Since MAL is produced by a leather club, it brings many members of other leather clubs together and becomes a big leather family reunion. Potomac MC of Washington went all out this year. Potomac MC President John Hartmann emailed invitations in advance to area leather club presidents to invite the clubs to their Friday evening cocktail party. It was a wonderful event with festive lighting, food, a full bar with Leather titleholders bartending, and the Potomac MC logo strategically placed around the large hotel suite. Hopefully a new tradition has started. The ONYX Mid-Atlantic party is a long-running tradition on MAL’s Friday night and this year’s edition did not disappoint. Friday night also brought the Mr. International Rubber Cocktail party and MIR 26 Pusckatt Pumera Onyx wore it well all weekend long.

Saturday brought the return of more traditional events that were missing last year: Puppy Park VX, the International Mr. Leather press conference announcing the IML judges, the superheroes meetup, and the always popular ONYX Gear Show and Demos benefiting SMYAL, empowering LQBTQ+ youth. This was not the “new normal," this was MAL normal! (The only new addition in keeping with the times in which will live, was a room set up for monkeypox vaccines available all weekend.) The 48th addition of Leather Cocktails on Saturday night had the theme Into the Woods and trees filled the stage and ballroom. The towering flower-filled tree in the center was stunning! A CEO from Hyatt welcomed the formal Leather dressed crowd and praised the Centaur MC noting that MAL 2020 was the last large event at the hotel before COVID-19 restrictions and MAL 2022 was the first event held at the Hyatt when restrictions were lifted.

After a buffet brunch on Sunday, the contest was held at the hotel. Emceed once again by Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 1993 Frank Nowicki, contestants who were interviewed by the judges on Saturday morning, appeared onstage in barware, jockstrap, formal Leather, and gave an answer to a fun question based on their application. Dan Bear had the audience roaring as he was asked what his business would be like if he combined his two interests and opened a go-go hair salon.

MAL concluded on Sunday evening with the spectacular closing dance party produced by Kinetic at Ultrabar. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel, a performance by disco diva Alexis Tucci, and DC favorite AytonH put on a high-energy show that had everyone dancing until 4 AM. There was even a big confetti and balloon drop as It’s Raining Men played. I was taken back to another time. It was fabulous!

Congratulations to Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2023 Dan Bear and to the Centaur MC for another amazing MAL. After this weekend, I don’t feel like I’m into the woods, I feel like after the last few years, I am finally out of the woods!


Mid-Atlantic Leather Gallery














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Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2023 08:17