by Brad Benedict
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA
Tim Lott Earns The Big One
The first time I saw Tim Lott was on the stage of the St. Bernard Civic Center when he competed for Mr. Louisiana Leather 2000, the year the late, great Chuck Lance won. I was impressed with him then, and Iím definitely impressed with him now that he has captured the Mr. Louisiana Leather 2004 title. His Mississippi roots are there, and he has all that southern charm that is typical of a gentleman with character. He was second runner-up that year, but I recall that night so well.
Sitting across from him at the Colley Compound, I got a chance to meet him up close and personal. In a way, it reminds me of how I got to know Mark so well. For all the years Iíve been doing pictures for Ambush and even before, I knew Mark just as I know Tim, but it took sponsoring Mark in the Mr. Louisiana Leather 2003 contest to pave the way to the relationship we have today. I have all those pictures of Tim, and I have all those pictures of Mark, and now here we are a few years later, and weíve known each other all the time, not as close friends, but as acquaintances.
Tim was exhausted as we talked. It had been a hectic time for him, and he was just now beginning to relax. He was a new titleholder, and Iím not sure he comprehended all that the title will mean for him. He has lots of work ahead of him, but it will be a year that he will never forget. Iím willing to help and even travel with him if he needs me. After all, at my age Iím pretty free to do just about what I want to do.
I think he would have loved to just go home and crash, but the night was still young and he had to go "mingle," as Mark so delicately puts it. But in that short time, I got to know a handsome young man. I learned of his career duties, his college life, his degrees, and briefly I got to see inside another beautiful human being. His smile and the tone of his voice show off a kind of sincerity that he is willing to share with others. His eyes beam with honor and integrity and lead to a deeper understanding of his dignity. His very word gives forth a character study of a caring and giving young man. Perhaps that is what led him into the public health field.
I had watched Timís expression when the count got down to the announcement of the winner. He smiled, took a deep breath, and he was probably desperately wanting to hear his number called. It was called, and his body gave way to the complete knowledge that a successful win was his. He was the new Mr. Louisiana Leather 2004, and the realization hit him that a dream had come true. He had immediately relaxed as if a weight had been lifted from him, and Markís year came to an end.
In a way, it was a sad point for me, and Iím sure it was for Mark too, almost as if something very special had ended, but actually it was just the opposite. It was a new beginning, bringing forth a stronger bonding than before.
Perhaps in the next year, I can get to know Tim just as well. Sorry, Mark, but your year is over, but I think Iíll keep you around permanently if you donít mind. I wouldnít know what to do without you.
Mark Colley Completes His Year
Iwas working the front area and didnít realize that Mark was making his final speech, and he was talking about me. The words were the most beautiful I had ever heard. They were coming from someone I had so enjoyed working with, being with, and sharing with. They were coming from a very special friend. It was a very touching and wonderful time.
Then he paid tribute to the love of his life, the magnificent Johnny B. Iíve watched these two over the past year, and it is such a privilege to have been allowed to come into their lives. They share so much love that it would be difficult to feature them in any other way.
Mark now has a continuing duty ahead of him. I can see now that he is going to be willing to guide Tim on his way to IML. Many of you donít know this, but Chuck Lance guided Mark in so many ways. With Chuck as his mentor, Mark could only show how this mentoring had paid off in his successful year as Mr. Louisiana Leather 2003. When I learned of Chuckís death, I immediately called Mark to see if it was indeed true. He hadnít heard but he called me back immediately to verify it.
Now Mark can be a mentor for Tim Lott. He can pass on what Chuck taught him and what he has learned along the way. It is now up to Tim to take this knowledge and head toward a wonderful year of excitement on his way to IML.
I was surprised after Markís win when he asked me to be a part of his year. It hadnít happened before, but here was someone I barely knew who wanted me to be with him all year. It is one of the most memorable things that ever happened to me. I can thank him for so many things. He shared a few in his final speech, but the day he came in at the meet-and-greet gathering to thank me for sponsoring him was the beginning. There is no end. The bonding is that strong, and I love him dearly for this caring and sharing and way he has brought out the love for leather that I always had but never let it show or didnít know how. He taught me well. Maybe what I gave to him in return was equally important.
We care, and we share. We are great friends. Like a diamond, it is forever.
Pat Johnson Gets His Woman
Great friends can also extend to a certain young man from Hammond. At least he lives in Hammond now, but originally he came from up Maryland way or Virginia or somewhere in that vicinity. His lover Ben lets me borrow him every now and then, kinda like Johnny B does with Mark.
At any rate, I love to be around him when heís drinking. His personality is great when heís sober, but when he has a few drinks, he really opens up. His mouth runs ninety miles an hour, and itís difficult for me to keep up with him. However, never fear. I remember things, and I tell things and I share things. This one is a hot tail of the first class division.
I never thought I would ever see this young man do what he did on that stage at The Barn at Cowpokes last Friday. And I was equally shocked that the dynamic Mina was part of this. It was a fantasy for the bear contest Pat had entered, but, my goodness, when he raised her leg, I lost sight of his head. I couldnít hear the dialogue, but it was a part of the contest and Iím not sure he knew what he was doing. He had to have learned that move from Ben. Iím talking about experience here. Well, maybe not. We are talking about a fish here, and thatís not what I saw him and Ben doing a little later, but thatís another story.
The next time I see Mina, I will have to ask her what was going on up on that stage. Even Pat OíRoark got involved. Iím not sure what he was trying to do with that microphone, but it certainly made me gasp for a minute there. When youíre taking pictures, you only see a small image. You have to wait to blow up that copy to see what was actually taking place. Thatís why I like to look instead of taking pictures of appendages during Mardi Gras. I have to wait to download the images before I can see if I accomplished another minor miracle of photography.
At any rate, Pat was relatively under control the rest of this weekend, or at least he was when I left the group to return to Baton Rouge. He and Ben were alone at the Colley Compound. Gracious! I can only imagine how he rewarded Ben for winning runner-up honors to Mr. Louisiana Leather 2004. Maybe Iíll just ask Ben the next time I see him how that teardrop worked. Hmmmm.
Leather, Love and Lots of Men
Southern Decadence is just full of men, and women too, but Iím a little partial to the three-legged variety. Therefore I wonít be able to talk about Mina and her Toy or that new leather lady, Miss Toni. Iím sure the occasion will come when I can do them good.
It was like old home week at the Benedict family reunion. Pensacola came forth with that fabulous duo of Bruce and Allen. They are so cute together. They remind me of bacon and eggs. They just simply go together so nicely. Iím so lucky to have made their acquaintance, and Iím looking forward to more times of togetherness.
Two others who go together well are Jay and John from California. John is a California version of Mark, or at least he is by ex-title. I know heís a good licker. Now donít get any wild ideas. I merely know he can lick face. Youíll have to ask him about any other kind he might do. Now Jay I know a lot better, and I really mean a whole lot better. This is one of the hottest tails Iíve been around lately, and he does know how to kiss. I really canít tell you any more about him. Thatís our little secret.
When I saw Shane on the street at the Phoenix, I immediately ran over to him. I hadnít seen him since we left the theater at IML in Chicago when he was with the love of his life Mark. (There you have another Mark, and this one is a talented one too.) Actually both guys are talented and really do make an ideal pair. I only hope that Shane will try for another title. He wasnít competing in the IML contest. He and Mark were there like so many others to enjoy the show. Shane was a candidate for American Leatherman in Washington, D.C. a few months earlier. Thatís what Ben will be competing for next spring. Shane was great in that contest. He deserves the honors that might come his way, and Iím sure his Mark would agree with me.
One of the sexiest guys around was working his buns off directing traffic at the door of the Phoenix. I have always looked on Eric with favor. He showed me his favor at a Lords of Leather beer bust a number of years ago, and Iíve had his number since that time. Here again, donít read too much into that. Itís just our little secret. I will be with him and others this coming week at the gay rodeo in Austin, so maybe I can get a picture of him and his lover. I talked with his other half Wayne who was in the crowd and learned that this would be his last competition. He was injured in an earlier contest and is giving up competitions. Iím going to be there to document the event for Ambush. It should be a great time, and my chaps are ready but I donít know if I will receive them from Houstonís Leather in Exile in time to wear them at the rodeo. Itís up to the USPS or UPS. Oh, well, just watch out. Youíre talking cowboy leatherman here. Wow! And I think that description matches lots of guys.
Rick was at Cowpokes. Heís not going to be able to make the Austin scene, and now I have to find someone else to pal around with. I did have a lot of fun with him at the rodeo in Fort Worth earlier this year. Rick is just one damned sexy guy. Heís the laid back variety, has a wonderful lover, but somehow he manages now and then to sneak away. Well, he actually has permission, and I was so in hopes that he could make Austin. I am in need of a good physical, and heís the doctor who does such a great job at things like that. Rick and I go back to earlier days in the Baton Rouge Krewe of Apollo, and he really is a nice guy. Ours is a friendship that has skirted the Baton Rouge and New Orleans scene all these years, but I know this guy well. Boy, do I ever! And heís an exceptional person and a good friend. Arenít you, Rick sweetie?
It was a happy time for John, Colla, and Martin too. John is my child, Colla is a great love in my life, and Martin is my sweet man on the horizon. Iíve told you about Martin before. However, Iíve only seen him in the surroundings at Georgeís Place in Baton Rouge. Seeing him at Southern Decadence, I saw a Boy Wonder coming out in a man. He went from this nice, gentle, innocent young man to a shirtless wonder child, and then when he talked Colla out of his leather vest, he entered a whole new realm of excitement. Poor Colla. My love child was half naked. My future love partner was emerging into someone I want to get to know better, and I think I can say that even though he wasnít aware of such exciting events, Martin will remember this one for a long time. Oh, my dear child, I am such a marvelous teacher. Just let me know when you decide to move up into leatherhood. Iíll be so happy to show you the way. And I do so love that impish little grin. You are such a wonder boy!
I have to mention Dallas too. Heís doing such a great job now that he has started back to school. Heís recovered physically from the shooting, but the mental anguish and the scars will forever be with him. At least they caught one of the bastards who did the deed, and Iím sure itís only a matter of time until the other one is apprehended. That seems so long ago, but I remember this wonderful young man in that hospital room, and I couldnít help him. All I could do was to show my love and support and pray for his speedy recovery. Now, I consider just a simple hug to be such a heavenly thing. He is a precious one, and I almost lost him. Prayers and good care help. I love this one so much, and he deserves the very best that life has to offer. I think he would look great in leather. Maybe I should bring him to a Lords of Leather function and get him onboard the leather express.
My goodness! My goodness! Iím running out of space, and I have so many others to tell you about, but I suppose they will have to wait for another day, especially Casey. My goodness but that child is beautiful from head to toe and all points in between. I had no idea he was into leather until he showed up with a harness on and wanted a 5-snap leather ring. I was so happy I had one at home to give to him, complete with a sizing session. I may never be the same again. My heart is going pitter-patter right now just thinking about it. He is a private young man, but at least he doesnít mind sharing his privacy if the occasion arises, unlike others I know.
However, privacy is a laughable matter in one such case. Iíll let you all wonder about that statement. You donít make such a comment, pass the goodies into view in another instance, and then have it shoved in your face in a joking manner. Thereís another word for that, and it canít be printed in a family newspaper. Thatís what made me decide to end my Decadence excursion and head home. After all, a loner gets lost among couples, and I needed to be alone after that. I try to shed my tears in private.
I have to conclude this, but I have to take note of my dear friend and fellow writer/photographer. I could never forget my wonderful and loving spiritual advisor Tom Tom, or the great Tom and Don duo. How did I ever miss the fact that Don was a preacher man? Maybe I knew that and it just flew right over my head. Well, when it comes to ministering, I can assure you that he is one of the best. I know TTT is! Iím not sure if he needs kneepads like TTT, but he sure does have my vote as a sexy cowboy waiting for a wild ride. Sorry Tom, but Iíll take your "free sample" at a later date. This couple can go from the leather life to cowboy heaven with just a change of clothing and a quick attitude adjustment. Maybe they can saddle up and come over to Austin. How about it? Let me know. Iíve a spare bed waiting for you. Too bad that sexy brother Ben is now married to a fish. I could have rocked his world. What a loss! Or maybe Iíll just have TTTís Roger drive over from Houston and meet me. I can assure you of one thing. I wonít be alone. Iím for non-private material. And Iíve learned to "mingle."
Thanks again, Mark. I do love you dearly and always will. You have truly been a blessing for me, and I love those blessings. When am I due another one?
Until next time, adios, my friends. Hello Austin! Here I come!
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