The Southwest Bootblack Contest showcases the bootblack's art and skills and recognizes the dedication, spirit and service heart that is exemplified in the very best in the bootblack community. The Southwest Bootblack represents the bootblack community with integrity and expertise. The contest is for people who self identify as a bootblack regardless of age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Contestants provide bootblacking services to SWLC attendees alongside guest bootblacks throughout the weekend. There is often an added element of eroticism to their service as they strive to ignite the sparks that can sometimes fly between boot owner and bootblack.
The Southwest Bootblack contest is a feeder contest for either the International Mr Bootblack Contest or the International Ms Bootblack Contest. Winner of the Southwest Bootblack Contest will enter one of the contests representing the Southwest Region.
Requirements and Expectations for Contestants and Titleholders:
- Contestant must self-identify as a Bootblack.
- Contestants must be at least 21 years old.
- Contestants must possess a current and legal Drivers License or Identification Card from their state of residence.
- Contestants and titleholders must be willing and able to be photographed without disguise or concealment for public distribution of photos/videos and other likenesses in any and all media.
- Contestants must be able to be at the hotel by 9:00 am on Friday January 20th.
- Contestants must reside in the southwest region, defined as Arizona, California (south of the Bay area), Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada (south of Reno), New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Titleholder must reside in the region throughout their title year.
- The contestant must be willing, should they win, to travel to a minimum of four events or BDSM/Leather group meetings within the Southwest region to present on the craft of bootblacking.
- The titleholder is strongly encouraged to attend more than the minimum number of events and to seek out every opportunity to represent bootblacks and the SWLC Bootblack contest.
- The titleholder must be willing to speak about bootblacking to all segments of the Leather/BDSM community. The title holder is encouraged to select venues and attend events that offer them the opportunity to speak on bootblacking.
- Winner of the Southwest Bootblack Contest will enter either the International Mr Bootblack Contest or the International Ms Bootblack Contest to represent the Southwest Region.
- The titleholder will make monthly (minimum) updates on a blog on the SWLC website. Content can include thoughts, experiences, schedules, photos, and other appropriate information.
- The titleholder may accept additional monetary support from groups, event sponsors or individuals to cover travel expenses, and may raise additional money to cover travel expenses through fundraising activities. The titleholder may not receive payment above and beyond actual travel expenses for speaking engagements or other activities performed in their role as Southwest Bootblack during the title year with the exception of gratuities for bootblacking services.
- The titleholder will be required to submit a quarterly report to the SWLC executive committee. This report will include their activities in support of the title and a final financial report on the use of the travel fund and any other funds raised or received during the title year to help defray travel expenses.
- Given the time commitment necessary, the Southwest Bootblack titleholder must agree not to compete for, hold, or produce another contest based title during their Southwest title year.
- Should the Southwest Bootblack titleholder become unable to carry out the requirements of the title, the SWLC Executive Committee will determine in what manner the title will be represented for the remainder of the year in question.
- If the titleholder is unable to carry out the requirements of the title, any unspent travel funds will be returned to Butchmanns, Inc., along with a financial accounting of funds that have been spent to date.
- Butchmanns, Inc. reserves the right to recall the title from the current titleholder if, in its judgment, the titleholder has failed to substantially comply with or fulfill the obligations of the title.
Judging Categories AND SCORE WEIGHTING
- Interview with Judges (150 points) – During the interview category, the judges will direct questions to the contestants. These questions may address any aspect of bootblacking, Leather history, BDSM, and the contestant’s specific life. Contestants are not required to have a formal “platform” however, questions from the judges regarding any specific plans or goals the contestants might have should they win the title are quite appropriate. The interview process is open to all attendees of SWLC.
- Interpersonal Skills (75 points) – Contestants will be observed by the judges throughout the weekend and will be judged on how they interact and present themselves as a bootblack to the public. Each contestant will be judged on their interpersonal interactions and proficiency including attitude, friendliness, courtesy, and cooperativeness both while shining and when in other social situations.
- Technical Skill (100 points) - Each contestant will bring a pair of used (but not in dire condition) full leather, lace-up, military style combat/jump boots capable of holding a high shine polish. These may be found at a Goodwill/thrift type store, or can be a personal pair of boots. These boots should not need cobbler type repairs or major resurrection. All boots will be assigned a number and contestants will draw a number to randomly select the boots that they will work on. The contestant will be required to clean and shine one boot of the pair. One hour will be allotted to carry out this task while the judges watch. The pairs of boots will then be inspected by the judges. The contestant must provide all necessary supplies for this task; the contest producers will provide a tarp for covering the floor. No open flame can be used except to singe stray strings. Judges will also evaluate technical skills while contestants are bootblacking in the Bootblack Lounge. This will be done at various arbitrary times on Friday and Saturday.
- Educational Presentation (100 points) -- Each contestant will be required to give a brief educational presentation on the technical boots that they worked on. This presentation is to include the steps they took, products used, challenges faced, and any other pertinent information. Each contestant will be allowed no more than seven minutes total for the presentation. Judging for this segment will be based on presentation technique and information covered, not on the boots themselves. The presentation session will be open to all attendees of Southwest Leather Conference. At the conclusion of each presentation, the contestant will answer questions from the audience and judges about the presentation. This question and answer time will not exceed five minutes for any contestant.
- Speech & Formal Wear (100 points) – Contestants will give a three-minute speech on a topic of their choice during either the Friday or Saturday night event ceremonies. The contestants will also be judged on their formal leather dress during this time. Formal wear is what the contestant would wear to a formal leather event and does not necessarily have to be made of leather.
- On-stage question (75 points) – Each contestant will be asked a "pop" question on-stage during either the Friday or Saturday night event ceremonies. Contestants will have no prior knowledge of the questions asked. The question may or may not be related to boot blacking.
- There are five judges for the Southwest Bootblack Contest.
- The bootblack contest is scored using straight scoring, meaning ALL judges scores count. In the event of a tie, Olympic scoring (dropping the highest and lowest scores from a judge in each category) will be used. A perfect overall score would be 600.
- If a judge becomes incapacitated during the course of the contest and is unable to carry out his/her duties as a judge that judge’s scores will be discarded. The remaining four judges will continue to score the contest.
- If there is only one contestant running for the title, the contestant must receive a final overall score equal to 70% of the total possible points. A perfect overall score would be 600; thus, the contestant must receive a final overall score of 420 in order to win the title.
- Scoring and judge feedback will be available to contestants within 60 days after the end of the contest.
SILENT AUCTION Fundraiser
- Contestants are required to bring items/certificates or a collection (basket) of items/certificates to be auctioned off during the contest weekend.
- Contestants may, if they wish, submit more than one collection but do note that two lower value collections are usually more popular and bring in more funds than one large collection.
- Many attendees will travel to and from the event by air, which may discourage them from bidding on large or heavy baskets. Thus, it is strongly recommend that contestants include a certificate for shipping if auction items are large.
- Each contestant pair will be allocated one 36” x 30” space for display of all auction items.
- A typed listing of all auction items with donor names and values must be included with collections.
- Auction items must be dropped off on Thursday evening January 19th between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm or Friday morning January 20th between 9:00 am and 10:30 am.
- The monies from all the silent auction items go into the Southwest Leather Conference contest winners travel fund.
Owner/Producers’ Guarantee for the Winner
The contest winners will receive the following:
- Complimentary event registration for all future SWLCs,
- SW titleholder patch
- SW titleholder medallion
- A blog on the SWLC website for a monthly column and travel itinerary.
- A travel fund based on the profit generated through the Silent Auction. Some of that amount could be granted via in-kind donations. (ie: frequent flyer miles and hotel credits),
If you have any questions, please contact the Contests Coordinator at contest_coordinator@SouthwestLeather.org.