Ottawa
3 min

The road to victory

Like a tale from King Arthur, the Ottawa Knights and the producers of Mr Leather Ottawa offered a humble squire a task no other could accomplish – pull the sword from the stone in which it had been sunk and galvanize a familiar mythology from an age of magic to today.



Knights and squires from across the land gathered and feasted during one of Canada’s favourite and most popular leather events – the Mr Leather Ottawa competition – during the weekend of Nov 7-9.



In a castle of the Middle Ages, Merlin, the knights and pages conducted a special service to find who would get Excalibur. On this occasion, five noble contestants – Mario Larochelle, Joseph Ferrone, Jean-Pierre Ouellette, Shawn Carroll and Steven Hould – were given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, express their opinions and outline their contributions to the local leather community as well as the community at large.



In the end, the magic sword Excalibur was claimed by Steven Hould who will go on to represent his community as Mr Leather Ottawa (MLO) 2004.



“A leather title holder has an opportunity to demonstrate tolerance and acceptance within and of the different communities by being present at many diverse events,” says Jean-Francois Pinsonnault, executive producer of MLO 2002 and 2003. “Steven does not need any specific instructions to succeed at this challenge. Already, he has demonstrated on several occasions his ability to build bridges.”



As Mr Leather Ottawa 2004, some of Hould’s official duties include serving as an ambassador for the gay leather community of Ottawa, contributing to the growth and development of the GLBT community, and representing Ottawa as a competitor at the International Mr Leather competition in Chicago and at the Mid Atlantic Leather competition in Washington, DC.



Pinsonnault says it’s unfortunate that there are members of the local GLBT community who fail to read up on or ask questions about the Mr Leather Ottawa competition. “I say competition because it is not a contest,” says Pinsonnault. “It is not a matter of putting names in a hat and drawing a winner. It is far more complex and demanding. It takes guts and courage to become a contestant. Each contestant goes through an interview to demonstrate their knowledge of the local and national GLBT community, including,of course, some points concerning the leather community.”



Contestants were observed by a panel of judges throughout the entire weekend and were marked using six different criteria. Ten percent of their total marks went towards comportment, based largely on how they have acted throughout the entire competition and focussing mainly on the “Meet the Contestants” event on Friday evening at Cell Block.



Contestants came face-to-face with the judges during Saturday morning interviews where they earned up to 30 percent of their marks. Contestants were asked during the interview to demonstrate their knowledge of the leather community and demonstrate their commitment, past and future, to community organizations and causes.



On Saturday night, the contestants performed on stage at Barrymore’s and received 20 percent of the marks for the Full Leather segment. In full leather attire, the contestants introduced themselves to the audience and answered a question from the judges.



There were three events on stage during the competition where contestants modelled their leather and physical attributes muchto the delight and cheers of the audience. Fifteen percent of the marks went towards the hot leather segment, 10 percent for the jockstrap segment and 15 percent for the final event, fetish fantasy wear, where contestants act out one of their fantasies live on stage.



Douglas Connors, Mr Leather Ottawa 2003, took the stage to give his stepdown speech as the judges tallied their votes and prepared to crown the new Mr Leather. Shawn Carroll was named second runner-up and Mario Larochelle was first runner-up.



The five judges for MLO 2004 were: David Kloss, InternationalMr Leather 1979; Sal Perrone, Mr Empire State Leather; Steve Laviolette, Mr Atlantic Canada Leather 2002; Alex Wisniowski, Mr Leather Ottawa-Hull 2002; and André Reny, VP External, the Ottawa Knights.



Past MLO Title Holders



Ghislain Dubeau, 1994

Peter Cairn, 1995

Paul Nicholl, 1996

Erich Prohaska, 1997

Thom Lockwood, 1998

Dean Ross, 1999

Howard Hao, 2000

Norm Miller, 2001

Alex Wisniowski, 2002

Douglas Connors, 2003