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Ralph Bruneau wins International Mr. Leather 2017

2017 marks the first time in 39-years co-founder and executive producer Chuck Renslow was not in attendance to announce the winner

Chicago, IL — Ralph Bruneau, Mr. GNI Leather 2016, was named International Mr. Leather 2017 at the annual IML Competition in Chicago Sunday, May 28.

IML 2017 Winners :: twitter/liveatiml
IML 2017 Winners 
credit :: twitter/liveatiml
Over 2,000 leather enthusiasts packed the Auditorium Theatre for the annual competition where Bruneau became the 39th person to claim the coveted leather title.

Bruneau bested a field of 63 contestants from around the world, including the competition's first contestants from Brazil and Finland and the oldest contestant at 73-years-old. Participants were judged on stage presence and personality ("pecs and personality"), leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance.

Geoff Millard, Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017, was named 1st runner-up, and 2nd runner-up was Joe King, Mr. Leather Europe.

Ryan Carpenter Garner was named International Mr. Bootblack 2016.

For the first time, a married couple both hold the IMBB title. Garner's husband was IMBB 2015.

Sunday's competition also marked the first time in 39 years that co-founder and executive producer Chuck Renslow was not in attendance. Renslow watched from home via Skype as Joe Cervantes spoke on his behalf.

Rich Storer received a standing ovation as he gave his last speech as executive director of the Leather Archives & Museum. Storer resigned on May 22 after 15 years with the organization.

International Mr. Leather 2017, including the Leather Market (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.), continues through Monday, May 29, at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S Michigan Ave.

The official IML 2017 closing event, Black and Blue Ball, begins at 9 p.m. Monday at Sound-Bar, 226 W Ontario. DJ/Producer Tom Stephan (Superchumbo, U.K.) is making his second appearance.

IML draws nearly 20,000 visitors to downtown Chicago every Memorial Day weekend, according to organizers. IML is estimated to bring in over 15 million tourist dollars to the city. 

Related: Former IML winner launches Leatherpedia

Related: Nasty Pig celebrates 23 years as a trendsetting, mega-popular diverse, risque brand
 
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