Mr. Ramrod Talks Pageants, Pups & Barbra

PHOTOS: Scott Portugal for LeatherWerks

For many People, Memorial Day weekend marks the (unofficial) begin of summer season and, climate allowing, the itinerary is constructed round out of doors actions: parades, pool events, barbecues, baseball video games, and perhaps an inaugural jaunt to the seashore.

Within the leather-based group, issues are… a little bit completely different.

Memorial Day weekend is when the Worldwide Mr. Leather-based competitors, maybe the premiere leather-based occasion of the 12 months, is held in Chicago, and the festivities — few of which happen open air, oddly sufficient — embody a bunch of title competitions, a leather-based market (procuring!), huge dance events, kink seminars, pet yoga, fetish demonstrations, and a lot of casual occasions (for three to 300) that don’t seem on the official calendar.

It’s half pageant, half pigfest, and a helluva good time. Or so I’ve heard.

Final October, Scot Blumstein, a former runner-up, earned the title of Mr. Ramrod, so he’ll be proudly sporting that sash — and hoping to grab one other one — in Chicago subsequent weekend. We caught up with Scot for a little bit chat as he was breaking within the new leather-based he’ll be sporting on stage.

You’re a local New Yorker. Have you learnt the rating by now?

I like that music, Invoice. As for the rating, I’m continually studying. I nonetheless think about myself a piece in progress.

When did you come to South Florida? What introduced you right here?

I moved right here in January 1995. My dad handed away all of the sudden, and I moved right here for six months to handle my mother, and I wound up staying.

Final October you had been named Mr. Ramrod. What’s concerned? Swimsuit, night robe, and expertise competitions?

There’s an interview that’s not seen by the viewers. Then onstage there’s a spoken fantasy scene, a pop query, and three gear adjustments: formal leather-based, jockstrap, and bar put on. The judges wish to see how comfy you’re in your gear, the way you deal with your self in entrance of an viewers, and whether or not your persona shines by means of.

You had been the runner-up in 2015. Did you do something in another way this time? Or had circumstances modified?

I used to be extra well-known locally as a result of I’d been selling and supporting leather-based occasions for the final three years. I seemed out into the viewers [during last October’s contest], and I knew everybody. All of my mates had been there to assist me. The host of the competition, Invoice Hoeppner, requested the viewers, “What number of of you get Scot’s e mail blast each week?” and I noticed everybody’s hand go up. I’ll have that reminiscence for the remainder of my life.

You’ll be representing Ramrod — and all of South Florida — at IML over Memorial Day weekend. Is it completely different from the Mr. Ramrod contest?

It’s an enormous deal. It’s mainly the Academy Awards for the leather-based group. Mr. GayDays Leather-based and I are the one contestants representing Florida. It’s nerve-wracking standing on a stage in entrance of your friends and being judged. I’ll be competing with males from all over the world.

What number of contestants will there be?

That is the largest IML class to this point. We’re 72 contestants, together with 15 title holders from Europe.

What’s your technique?

To be myself, present my persona, and bond with and assist my brothers.

I’ve heard folks dismiss IML and the feeder contests as “magnificence pageants.” Others complain that it’s all political, that the winners are decided primarily based on who they know. How would you reply to these perceptions?

The winners are picked by incomes factors for his or her interview, gear, and persona. It’s like a job interview, and the judges are searching for the perfect candidate. Typically they get it proper, and generally they blow it.

Having a title opens doorways and affords you alternatives. It additionally places a goal in your again. You’re the face and identify, and that comes with duty. Three years in the past I used to be first runner-up. I made a decision to be the perfect first runner up that I could possibly be. I used to be disillusioned that I didn’t win that first contest. However now I understand that it was a blessing; I made a reputation for myself and received concerned, when most first runners-up stroll away and disappear.

I noticed a short bio of you on-line that reads, “He enjoys gardening, the music of Barbra Streisand, going to the health club, and the leather-based subculture.” Precisely how a lot do you like Barbra?

I actually love Barbra Streisand! By her expertise and sheer will she made others see her magnificence. She modified the idea of what was thought of engaging. After I was lonely, depressed, or heartbroken, her music and her films consoled me. She was an outsider who made good, so I believed I may do the identical.

How lengthy have you ever been going to Ramrod?

I’ve been going to Ramrod because it opened 24 years in the past. I’m often there each weekend. It’s my house bar.

What first drew you to the place?

After I lived in New York, I used to be a preppy boy who labored on Wall Avenue. After I moved to South Florida in 1995, there have been three leather-based bars: The Eagle, Jackhammer, and Ramrod. I walked into Ramrod and noticed these muscular, masculine males sporting harnesses and bar vests, and I believed that they had been the sexiest males I’d ever seen. I wished to be like them.

I purchased my first harness at LeatherWerks. I began understanding, displaying pores and skin, and getting consideration. Ramrod was a revelation. It felt like house.

What retains you coming again?

It’s a enjoyable bar, with nice music and pleasant folks. Now that I’m Mr. Ramrod, I am going to symbolize, meet, and mingle. After I go to occasions in different cities and I put on my title sash, everybody is aware of the bar, they usually wish to share their Ramrod tales.

You’ve been internet hosting month-to-month Leather-based Incursions for the final three years. What occurs when a gaggle of leathermen and girls present up unannounced at a bar, membership, or restaurant that’s not an everyday leather-based hang-out?

Leather-based Incursions had been began to demystify and humanize the leather-based scene. We wish most of the people to see us and develop into comfy round us — and to ask questions. Often, by the tip of the evening, the proprietor or supervisor [of the venue] will come over and say, “You guys are enjoyable and spend cash. You’re welcome again anytime.”

Do you discover that a number of homosexual males have masculinity points — whether or not meaning consciously embracing all issues masculine, rejecting all these issues, or simply being insecure of their masculinity? What’s your take?

As a child I used to be known as “sissy” and “fairy” and made enjoyable of. As a younger grownup I felt empowered sporting a leather-based bike jacket. I embraced über masculinity as a result of it made me really feel extra assured. I carry myself in another way after I put on leather-based, and folks deal with and reply to me differently.

You’re a member of the South Florida Minotaurs and a former board member of The Lambda Males’s Brotherhood, and also you do volunteer work for each The SMART Journey and the Complete AIDS Program in West Palm Seashore. Have you ever at all times been a joiner?

I’ve been doing volunteer work since I used to be in highschool. As a younger queer child within the ’70s, I wasn’t fashionable or accepted. Volunteering was a manner for me to satisfy folks and really feel like I used to be part of one thing.

Apart from the Leather-based Incursions, you host or promote a bunch of different occasions, together with the month-to-month Enforced Gown Code occasion at Ramrod, Drag Bingo at Georgie’s Alibi, Fetish Rendezvous at Southern Nights, and Onyx Deep South Occasions. Have you ever at all times been a Julie McCoy?

I’ve at all times been an organizer. After I moved right here, I used to be an outsider seeking to get entangled, looking for a brotherhood and a group. That was tough for me to search out. I’m mainly a shy particular person. Selling occasions was a manner to assist me get out of my shell by specializing in making others really feel welcome.

You drive right down to Fort Lauderdale from West Palm Seashore a number of nights per week for occasions. Are you a full-time leatherman, or is there additionally a day job?

I put on leather-based day by day to point out my assist and dedication to leather-based, even when it’s sporting only a wristband. I’ve a panorama design enterprise.

How can folks get onto your weekly e mail blast?

I submit the blast on my Fb web page, to allow them to buddy me. I ship the blast out through textual content each Wednesday, so folks can plan their weekends.

Do you see younger queers nonetheless coming into the leather-based scene?

Sure, I do. I stroll round Ramrod each weekend and introduce myself and say whats up to everybody. I see younger males there, and they’re excited to embrace the scene.

What’s new within the leather-based scene? Have you ever seen any scenes, fetishes, toys, or instruments which are gathering steam?

Pet play and pet gear is large and turning into an enormous a part of the scene, as is rubber gear and neoprene. The following era has a brand new vitality and enthusiasm. I’m curious to see how they’ll influence the scene as they get extra concerned.

What’re you gonna do in the event you win Worldwide Mr. Leather-based? Off to Disney?

It’s simpler for me to deal with issues in small items. My private aim this 12 months was to get pleasure from and expertise MAL [Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend] in D.C., then get pleasure from CLAW [Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend], and now to soak within the brotherhood of IML.

I get overwhelmed after I consider the massive image. If I win, I’ll proceed to assist and symbolize Ramrod and the South Florida leather-based group.

I actually couldn’t do that job with out the assist and love of my companion Randy Goforth, who has been with me each step of the way in which. Or with out the steerage and assist of my mentors: Wealthy Rodriguez, Jason Pelky, Invoice Hoeppner, Kirk Ruben, and Bearman. And, in fact, my sponsors: Ramrod, LeatherWerks, Stompers Boots, Paul Michael Leather-based, Pervyology, and Tribal Son.

We want you luck in Chicago. Any final phrases?

This previous 12 months has been a blast. I say it on a regular basis: “I like my job!”

If you wish to want Scot luck your self, you’ll be able to catch him Friday, Could 18 from 8–10pm for Leather-based Incursion at DrYnk (2255 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors) or on his house turf Sunday, Could 20 for Enforced Gown Code (three items of leather-based or fetish put on plus boots!) at Ramrod (1508 NE 4th Ave, Ft Lauderdale).

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