First Illinois Bear and Bear Cub named

Illinois Bear
Jason Shiver-Simpson is Mr. Illinois Bear 2016 and Adam Lawrence won Illinois Bear Cub 2016. (All photos by Slade Travis)

CHICAGO — Jason Shiver-Simpson Mr. Illinois Bear 2016 title and Adam Lawrence won Illinois Bear Cub 2016 in the first Illinois Bear contest this past weekend in Chicago.

The contest was held at Jackhammer in the Rogers Park neighborhood. There were a total of six contestants for the contest. The judges for the contest were:

The judges for the first contest are:

  • Jeff Willoughby, Mr. Chicago Leather 2005
  • Justin H., Mr. Fetish Jackhammer 2015
  • Pup Ryker, Mr. Heartland Leather 2015
  • Eric Masters. Mr. 501 Eagle 2016
  • Christopher Clai

Karen Ultra of St. Louis emceed the event and International Ms. Leather 2013 Sarha was the den mommy. Mr. Chicago Leather 2015 Luis Tipantasig and Illinois Eagle publisher Tom Wray were tallymasters.

The contest also served as a fundraiser for sponsoring organization the Imperial Court of the Windy City. Empress 12 Diamond Deveraux Yaki performed a couple of numbers during intermission and during the tallying of scores. More than $800 was raised for the Empire’s scholarship program and their chosen charities of Autism Speaks and Vital Bridges.

A big crowd came for the inaugural contest with members of the city’s bear, leather and drag communities in the audience. The Windy City Abbey of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence even made an appearance.

Jason and Adam will go on to represent Illinois at North American Bear Weekend in Lexington, Ky. in February 2017.

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