The picture really can't convey how NICE everybody was.
Totally hushed and respectful during the speeches,
and warmly supportive of all three contestants:
Jay Heimbach, Derek Morado, and our newest
Mr. San Diego Eagle for 2014, Paulo Batista.
In years past, we wanted to keep celebrating the Mr. San Diego Eagle Contest at the bar itself, but for the last few years, it has been a struggle, as our Tribe has grown at a rapid rate. For the last three years, there have been lines outside the bar extending all of the way down to the corner, with many more folks looking for parking, seeing the line, and then just turning around and going back home. Most of the folks in the line never got inside to see who won.
This was the first year that we have had the contest at a separate, much bigger venue, and it was sold-out, with standing room only in the back. I'm eager to hear what the head-count turned out to be.
There were LOTS of cruisy, super-friendly out-of-towners (I spoke them all), and a big pile of locals who haven't been able to get away except for special, special weekend events like this one. The scent of testosterone was overpowering!
I'm hearing gossip that this year's ROMP, featuring the 32nd Mr. San Diego Leather/20th Ms. San Diego Leather contests, might be happening in a 700-seat theater! At the current rate of growth, each contest is going to have to move around to bigger and bigger venues as the years go by. Clearly, the local Tribe-members are all doing something very, very right.
This weekend showed what we can all do together when we all gladly pull in the same direction. Robb Rodd did a masterful job of coordinating the team, along with producer Russ Mortenson Boyd. I want to acknowledge everybody who put their whole heart and soul into making sure that Paulo Batista, Derek Stone Morado and Jay Heimbach had a safe, relaxing, supportive and UTTERLY FAIR contest. Decades ago, we couldn't always take that for granted. Now, we can.
There are far too many local volunteer champions to list, and I apologize for not doing so. Your efforts were noticed by all, your work made a big difference, and the whole, huge team (over 50 people!) created a sudden pivot-point in our community's history.
Going forward, things are only going to get better. We are attracting more and more idealistic younger folks. The folks who were "new, fresh and young" faces from a couple of years back, are now seasoned Tribal Elders in their own right, and they are mentoring the new arrivals like crazy. The torch is getting passed along at a dizzying rate.
In the old days, decades ago, everything had to be done by a few, overworked volunteers, who burned out quickly and were lost to us. They got very little help, love or support. In 2014 and beyond, everything is crowdsourced, where one person with a powerful dream inspires a team of other folks, who then lend their best talents to create new, exciting possibilities.
Vast numbers of folks who attended the Mr. San Diego Eagle 2014 contest had a direct hand in making that whole evening flow. We can rest assured that we all did our parts, we created another successful episode in a long-standing tradition that we can all depend upon, and we continue to cement our status as the nicest damn town around!