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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 19, 2007

After 23 years, a new Mr. Ohio Leather

Akron--“I never thought I’d be on stage representing Ohio again as Mr. Ohio Leather,” said Steve Boger, as he prepared to turn the sash over to the new titleholder.

Boger, Mr. Ohio Leather 1984, has held the title for 23 years. Last Saturday night, he gave it to Mr. Ohio Leather 2007, Gregg Lakota of Lakewood. Kurt Frentzel of Canton was first runner up. Jim DeLong of Cleveland and Scot Baker of Akron also entered the contest.

Lakota is the third Mr. Ohio Leather. The first one, Will Cheeks, received his title in 1983, followed by Boger the next year. But the competition ended when the bar where it was held, the original Man’s World at East 24th and St. Clair in Cleveland, was destroyed in a fire.

Boger is also president of the Iron Eagles leather club of Canton, whose ninth round-up run featured the contest at Daddy’s in Akron.

“I never really forgot about it” over the years, Boger said of his title. “Twenty-three years is a lot of change . . . unfortunately, a lot of dead people, too. I look at an old address book and every one of them has passed away.”

But there are good changes. “I think I see a bigger attempt at leather unity, including women, bisexuals,” Boger continued. “In 1984 there were more old guard, and women were not that prevalent.”

“Most leather clubs, women were not allowed,” he added. “Now, we have two straight women in our club.”

Mr. Ohio Leather was revived this year by Daddy’s and Cocktails owner Brian Lyons and Arthur “Boo-boo” of Cleveland, who asked that his last name not be used.

The contest will now be a part of the Iron Eagles’ annual run. This year’s weekend event, themed “Fractured Fairy Tales,” was the first one held in a hotel. It included a banquet, hospitality suite and a Friday night show at the Radisson Akron City Center.

The run brought over 60 people, mostly from Ohio, but also from as far as Virginia, Florida and Oklahoma. Other clubs that participated included the Rangers of Akron, New Age in Leather of Cleveland, and Blue Ohio of Steubenville.

The run benefited several groups, including Community AIDS Network of Akron, the Tri-County AIDS Network and Trillium Family Services.

“We’re a fundraising organization,” said run co-chair Bruce Brandon, noting that the club had raised over $37,000 for the charities in their nine years.

“Hopefully, this year will put it up over the $40,000 mark,” he added.

Like the Mr. Ohio Leather contest, the Iron Eagles’ history is also marked by a fire: the June, 2005 one that burned down the 540 Eagle club, their home bar in Canton.

This year, they made Daddy’s their home bar, although they remain a Canton club.



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