What’s it take to be Eagle’s new leather daddy?

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Forget your Sunday best. Leather aficionados will sport their leather best during a weekend-long celebration at the Atlanta Eagle. And as the bar crowns its Mr. & Ms. Atlanta Eagle, we ask past titleholders what it takes to win (and represent).

The coveted titles are Saturday night’s top present during a weekend wrapped with the bar’s 27th anniversary celebration and Atlanta Leather Pride. So we surveyed four past Mr. Atlanta Eagle winners and discovered that it's more than a contest, the title captures a spirit of constant community connection and contribution. The past titleholders offer their thoughts what it takes to win, what they took away from their reign and tips for this year's contestants.

Tank Teachworth, Mr. Atlanta Eagle, 2013

What does it take to be Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

You need to be fun! Being Mr. Atlanta Eagle is about representing not only the Eagle, but the leather community itself. It’s about welcoming people who may not know where they belong, or about encouraging others to try new things. It’s about reminding people why we embrace the Leather Community – ideals like community service and charity, while still embracing our sexuality, kink, and fetish interests. As much as I love a good fundraiser, I love being a real bad boy!

What have you taken from your reign as Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

If you have a dream, then having a Leather Heart will fuel it and bring it to life. I went from being a young man interested in leather, to becoming a national titleholder, the American Leatherboy, all because I poured my energy, heart and soul into my community – and my community gave that love and energy back. With some simple ideas, we’ve raised over $9,500 for the trans community in a clothing drive for Alphabet Soup Atlanta. Anybody can be the catalyst to make Atlanta an even more amazing place than it already is. I think that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most, contributing to the legacy of Atlanta’s amazing community.

What tips would you give for picking the perfect jockstrap?

I pick the one that makes my ass look the best, to be completely honest. Make sure it fits right, and no weird snaps in uncomfortable places. That skin down there is sensitive. Pick something that speaks to who you are. I’m really into a sports gear fetish, so a lot of mine revolve around football, baseball, things that look sports-oriented.

Alan Penrod, Mr. Atlanta Eagle, 2009

What does it take to be Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

Every Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle titleholder we have had since the contest was brought back in 2009 has been very different and unique, bringing something to the title that made their title year and the years that followed memorable. During the past five years our Mr. Atlanta Eagle winners have gone on to bring home one international leather title, two national leather titles and one international finalist. But the one thing I think all our Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle winners have in common is our commitment to find our own way to give back to the community. Every Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle has been very active not only in the local leather community, but in the greater Atlanta LGBTQ community as well.

What have you taken from your reign as Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

My title year was incredibly fun, full of travel and meeting people from across the country. But most of all, the people I met and the support I received from this great Atlanta community helped me to truly discovered who I am as a leatherman. Lessons that have help me grow as a person and helped me build friendships and family that I probably never would have done if it weren’t for my year as Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2009.

Do you have any tips for this year’s contestants?

Relax, have fun and be yourself. Oh, and did I mention have fun! The contest is designed to be fun for the contestants, the judges and everyone who comes out to watch. This year’s contest will be very interactive and entertaining for everyone involved so don’t stress out, just relax and enjoy competing for a great title.

Chandler Bearden, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010

What does it take to be Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

Definitely someone with a great personality and sense of humor. Other than that, a love of the leather lifestyle goes a long way. It can be as much of a wild ride as the titleholder wants it to be. I would suggest that more people take the chance. It’s not all a beauty pageant. I’ve made some amazing friends and connections all over the country with people that I love and admire now.

What have you taken from your reign as Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

That as much as it all seems like pageantry to those who are on the periphery, it’s really a life changing experience that has made my world larger, friendlier and way more interesting.

Any tips for this year’s contestants?

Really, just have a great time and be yourself. It is about being genuine and finding yourself through an entirely new experience that very few get to have.

Jeff Donaldson, Mr. Atlanta Eagle, 2012

Does every leather daddy have it in him to win?

I don’t think so. You have to be able to get out in the Atlanta community and be open and social. It’s not about looks. It’s about people remembering what a great person that Eagle titleholder is and how nice they were. That’s what draws people to your bar. And, this year the title is going back to being open to everyone. Leather not required. After all, the Eagle is an all- inclusive bar.

What have you taken from your reign as Mr. Atlanta Eagle?

I went on to compete in the American Brotherhood contest in Chicago that same year. As a result, I was American Leatherman 2012 during my Atlanta Eagle title year, too. If I had never entered the Eagle contest, I probably wouldn’t have gone on to win a national title.

As a result of these accomplishments, my “chosen” family is vast. I have some of the most wonderful people in my life from all over the country. From a “corner hugger” to a national title holder in just a few years is a great personal accomplishment. I couldn’t have done it without my Eagle family.

Any tips for this year’s contestants?

Wear things appropriate to the categories. When I competed you had to write a fantasy and they read it on stage. My fantasy was with a cop, so I came out dressed as a cop. My sash wife, Jackie Hubschman, is a chef and had a fantasy using that scenario. She came out in a leather chef coat and had and the audience went nuts.

Be yourself and have fun. Look the best that you can look. Smile. Nobody is going to pick an Eagle winner when they always look serious. Work the stage and interact with the audience.

Also, check out my custom gear during the weekend, Bulldog Custom Leathers.

Bearden photo by Omar Vega

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