NJ Leather weekend takes over Asbury Park

Rope Master Cabbit with Rope Bottom Kona.
Rope Master Cabbit with Rope Bottom Kona.
Sherri L Rase

New Jersey’s Leather Family and Dragonslair Productions hosted their annual Mr. and Ms. NJ Leather Contest on March 23 as part of weekend-long NJ Leather Weekend festivities.

Home for Dragonslair, a major fundraising engine for community groups, Asbury Park is now a year-round destination. While the boardwalk may be brisk, several runners were out Friday and early Sunday morning. The restaurants and clubs were all open, and leather families from Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey were representing. Events were happening every weekend day — and this year’s contest was a cut above.

Beth Bicoastal at the Ms. NJ Leather Formal.
Beth Bicoastal at the Ms. NJ Leather Formal.Sherri L Rase

Friday night was a meet and greet featuring uniform attire that was sponsored by Folsom Street East, which runs New York’s scaled-down version of San Francisco’s famed Folsom Street Fair. This event is key for each contestant as they circulate amongst sexy flight suits and military leather, selling raffle tickets and campaigning to represent New Jersey’s Leather family at the many events locally, nationally, and beyond. While the trip to Down the Shore may have been overcast, the welcome was HOT for contestants Steven “Pup Yellow,” Beth BiCoastal, and Christian Trella — and the evening was buzzing.

Saturday was a great day to be indoors, as Mother Nature let us know she’s definitely a dom! Three excellent classes were planned in the NJ Leather Weekend workshops along with a lobby full of vendors with cunning handmade work, from leather goods to paddles of all materials to eye catching apparel and toys on display.

Leading off the workshop sessions was the “Rope Harnesses, Why Knot?” with Rope Master Cabbit. Easily connecting with the audience, the Rope Master was very clear and enthusiastic. “Kink is customizable,” Cabbit reminded the dozen or so rope pairs, as he demonstrated each step on Rope Bottom Kona, who had also been a featured rope demo at the Uniform Meet and Greet. Rope Master Cabbit started with ropes in 2013 and provided lots of advanced reading. Rope Bottom Kona started in 2018 and the participants all did well, including the first timers.

Pup Yellow.
Pup Yellow.Sherri L Rase

“Leather Sex and Spirituality” was next, hosted by Mr. NJ Leather 2002, author Dr. Robert Carabelli. Dr. Rob outlined leather sex practices to help put energy in the chakra, or energy center, where it’s needed based on emotional or health issues a partner may experience. Practices in intimacy help support challenges a partner is having, and while no substitute for medical treatment, there may be a therapeutic value. Moving from energy center to energy center, Carabelli reminded us several times that sex is a gift of the Divine, and that it is important to have balance in energy. An ardent proponent of meditation, Dr Carabelli feels spirituality is the next frontier for research. 

A caning class was a delightful surprise when illness canceled the flogging class. Sir Angelo provided a quick overview of the origins of caning, starting with the British occupation of India. Looking back, especially with British influence on customs here in the United States, this expanded Western ideas of corporal punishment and inadvertently began a fetching fetish. Pup Dalton agreed to demonstrate and Sir Angelo discussed the various types of instruments in his kit and the effect each has as well as going over the benefits of caning, the areas of the body to avoid so no harm is done, and being sure to check in with your subject/partner often.

Sir Angelo explained the Rule of Thumb and explained that warming the skin is key to the process. The session was well received and an excellent segue for further Q&A during the Cigar Social afterward.

After a brief respite for refreshment of body and soul, the contest began on Saturday evening with Pup Yellow and Christian vying for the title of Mr. NJ Leather. While Beth Bicoastal was competing solo, that’s no guarantee of a win. A solo contestant must receive a certain number of points in order to be awarded the position. The competition was on and it was HOT.

Club Wear Christian.
Club Wear Christian.Sherri L Rase

The first part of the contest was club wear with Christian, sporting faded jeans, shirtless with a leather vest and a curlicue of waxed moustachio at both East and West. Pup Yellow favored jeans, as well, with a black t-shirt and leather vest, while Beth Bicoastal modeled jeans and a black Georgie’s t-shirt, showing her connection to Asbury Park. The Fantasy was next and everyone went all out. Gamers went wild for Christian’s Mario Brothers, with a twist and a Stepdad in the mix, while Pup Yellow’s boxing fantasy took the eye of the tiger to obedience school. Beth’s fantasy gave us full measure, featuring a lesbian sub and a gay man with chaps. She started with “Hey Big Bottom,” showcasing her best vocal belt, then flogged the pair with verve to the 1812 Overture by queer composer Tchaikovsky. I’m sure his spirit was looking on with great interest. After pairing Broadway with queer classics, Beth probably had the points she needed with this alone!

Jeff Tucker once again did MC honors and conducted live auctions during the proceedings, adding spice as only he can. Perhaps the most special auction of the evening was the painting “Three Gay Birds” by Apache elder Judith Tallwing McCarthey, who was also the first Ms. International Leather. Judy is a fine artist who incorporates tiny objects from powerful places into her art. This particular auction benefited part of the Baltimore leather family who had suffered a devastating fire. The love poured in. Daddy Sal thanked the sponsors and the community on behalf of Dragonslair Productions and added to the suspense as we waited for the results.

Congratulations to Pup Yellow and Beth Bicoastal, the reigning Mr. and Ms. NJ Leather for 2024! Sandi Smith and Michael Zito-Govert were on hand as proud Sash parents to welcome the new couple. Follow Dragonslair Production on social media for more information and make your plans, the host hotel sold out in record time and you’ve got to be there!