Thank you, we’re thrilled to have won the title! The International Power Exchange Contest is held annually at Beyond Leather in Florida. The contest is about celebrating the vast diversity of power exchange dynamics in the BDSM/kink/leather communities- it is open to couples or triads with any power exchange dynamic. So a couple/triad could enter as Master/slave, Dominant/submissive, a leather family, Daddy/girl, Trainer/pup, Mistress/boi, Rigger/rope bunny… and the list goes on! It is an educational title and is also not limited to those who identify as leather. This is the third year of the International contest, and there are multiple feeder contests across the US, including Great Lakes, New York Metro, and Rocky Mountain. There is much more information on their website: http://www.beyondleather.net/bl/contests/ipe.html
Why did you decide to compete?
As part of the effort to get the Pacific Coast Power Exchange (PCPE) feeder contest started up, we were asked by the local PCPE producers (in cooperation with the international contest producers) to represent the Pacific Coast region this year. We had already been invited to present at Beyond Leather, and the contest, with it’s goals of increasing awareness of “non-traditional” power exchange dynamics, really resonated with us. We don’t identify as Master/slave and therefore had never considered ourselves eligible to run in the Master/slave contests- our power exchange dynamic has many dimensions (including Dominant/submissive and Owner/kitty). I think people can perceive Master/slave as “the way” to do power exchange, and if that specific dynamic doesn’t work for them (as it didn’t for us) they may feel that they’ve “failed” at power exchange. Discovering the vast array of alternative power exchange dynamics out there was an epiphany for us, so we are passionate about increasing awareness of these dynamics!
What was the competition like?
We really went into this contest with very little clue of what to expect! We hadn’t seen the IPE contest before and hadn’t been through a local feeder contest like the other International contestant couples had. Our handler tartelette was AMAZING (we couldn’t have done it without her, she was truly invaluable), however she was in the same boat as us in terms of contest-specific knowledge. We did all the prep we could based on reading about the contest, but it was quite a different experience from what we thought!
The contest scoring will sound familiar to anyone who has been to a leather contest- there are four judging sections. First is the “educational presentation,” which is a 5-10 minute prepared presentation to offer an explanation of your power exchange dynamic. This is similar to the speeches that are part of more traditional leather contests, however this is delivered jointly, is longer than traditional contest speeches, and can involve the use of props/visual aids. For this portion, we did a presentation that used various collars we’ve had through the years as a way to frame a discussion of how our relationship has changed and grown, and how our dynamic works now.
Second, there is a “fantasy/demo” portion- this was an opportunity to show the judges and audience our connection. The fantasy was the part of the competition that we were both the most excited about, because we had a really personal performance we wanted to do. Shay comes from a background of domestic violence, and has experienced so much healing during and through her time in the BDSM community- for over a year we’ve had an idea for a fantasy piece exploring that journey. We were thrilled to have a chance to share that journey and performance. That was easily the highlight of the competition for us- we got a standing ovation and had the whole room (especially ourselves) in tears. There was a lot of raw emotion and it was overwhelming experience.
The last two judging sections were “overall impression” and the interview. So during the entire weekend, the 7 judges were watching all the contestant pairs, looking both at how they interact with each other and how they interact with the other event attendees. It was pretty nerve-wracking to feel under a microscope like that for an entire 3 day stretch! There were three other contestant pairs, and they were all AMAZING people- we loved having a chance to meet them all and wish we could have spent more time socializing together!
What are you most looking forward to about your title year?
We do a ton of traveling and presenting anyway, so in that sense, not much is going to change for us. We are planning to focus our education more on power exchange during our title year, and we really look forward to increasing awareness of alternative power exchange dynamics! Also, while the contest is quite well established in other parts of the country, our region (the west coast) is really just learning about it, so we’re excited to increase awareness about the contest specifically in our area for others who might be interested in running!