ABW History

History and Philosophy of American Brotherhood Weekend

IT ALL BEGAN…..
The American Brotherhood Weekend started in 1989 with MCL Productions helmed by Mik Miller in Boston. It started out solely as the American Leatherman contest. Eventually Mik added American Leatherwoman, then American Cowboy, and later American Leatherboy. He tried American Cowgirl, but there was little interest and support for the title, so it never really took off.

In 1996, Jim Cobb bought the rights to all of the titles, and immediately leased them to ABLE Productions, Inc. the company that Jim started with Roger Fleming, Howard Fleming, and Vern Stewart. Jim sold the American Cowboy and Cowgirl rights to Dan Noel, American Cowboy 1995 (the last person to hold the title) and it has not seen any action since then.

Since 1997, the American Leather-family has been gaining more and more prominence and notoriety around the country.  In 2002 Jim sold the American Brotherhood Weekend and the American Leather-family titles to American Brotherhood Weekend, Inc, a company owned by Frank Nowicki, Schelli Dittmann, Max Steiner, and Scott Reikofski.  In 2003, American Brotherhood Weekend, Inc., added Ryan Goldner as a producer.  That same year, with the unanimous approval of the producers, ABW was also proud to be the first major contest to recognize and welcome the growing Leathergirl movement with the addition of the American Leathergirl title to the American Leather-family.  The Leathergirl title did not garner the same interest from the community and the title was discontinued in 2008, with the note that the Leatherwoman title could be a Leathergirl as is most clearly seen in the title being held by one of the key women leading the Leathergirl movement Sheryl Dee.

After a one year absence and some restructuring the weekend and the contest are back and will act as a fundraising arm of our leather community.  The current producers are, Dean Ogren, Karen Ultra and George Hester.

American Brotherhood Weekend (ABW) has now become a celebration of the bonds we share as a Leather-family of men, women, boys and girls.  It is a weekend filled with great excitement, camaraderie, and fun which surrounds the competition for the titles of American Leatherman, American Leatherwoman, and American Leatherboy. Highlighting the final day of the weekend, one outstanding contestant is chosen from each category to represent these honored titles that personify the core of ABW.  The stage events culminate in presenting the three titleholders together as the American Leather-family for the coming year.

The Role of the American Leather-family:

The primary role of each titleholder is to act as an inspirational communicator capable of effectively raising funds for worthy causes and organizations relevant to the LGBT community.  Working singly and/or together with their fellow Leather-family titleholders, past and present, has proven to be greatly beneficial to the organizations that ABW titleholders have helped in the past.  In addition we consider them to be “good-will ambassadors” representing American Brotherhood Weekend, Inc., and the American Brotherhood Weekend Event, serving the leather community with dedication and enthusiasm when attending events, contests, and judging.  Whenever possible, working with and supporting the International titleholders and community will always be encouraged, but also recognize that our primary constituents and responsibilities are within the American Leather community.