Scoring the BootBlack Competition

Contestants in the Australian Mr BOOTBLACK competition will be scored using the following guidelines


The judges are titleholders and/or other prominent members of the leather community. In order to ensure fairness in selecting the winners of the contest, a ballot system is in place where the Community may cast a vote for the favorite BootBlack after having their boots shined by the contestants.In the event of a tie,  the judging panel will meet to break the tie as described below..

The TallyMaster’s final scoring sheet may be examined, upon request by contestants immediately following the contest and copies of their final scoring will be mailed to contestants at their request.

Contestants and judges will be identified on the scoring sheets only by their numbers and letters (respectively). Keep in mind that judges do not necessarily look for the most handsome face, most muscular and/or erotic body, but rather the person who best typifies the ideal BootBlack.

This involves the personal subjective judgment of each contestant’s leather image, physical appearance, attitude, personality, self-assurance, and “presence”.

The ALM Board reserves the right to limit the number of contestants and/or impose an early elimination cut based upon partial judging to ensure the contest will be completed within the time frame allowed at the contest venue.


Contestants and judges may fraternize informally in public situations. Private meetings between judges and contestants during the contest weekend are absolutely prohibited.

Any personal sexual contact between judges and contestants during the contest weekend are absolutely prohibited.

Any behavior that might create even the appearance of bias will be brought to the attention of the other judges, who will decide if the disqualification of the judge and/or contestant would be prudent.

To avoid accidental violation of propriety, all contestants and judges must display their respective identification badges whenever they are in public places during the contest weekend.

The ALM Board recognizes that the nature of the gay/lesbian leather community in Australia allows many of us to know one another in a variety of ways.


In the event that Australian Mr BootBlack competition is limited to a single contestant, that contestant must score a minimum of 75% of the total possible points (75 out of 100). Should a contestant in this situation fail to earn the minimum number of points required, the title in question will not be awarded.

The ALM Board reserve the right to deviate from this procedure if they feel the circumstances warrant further consideration.


Contestants in the Australian Bootblack Competition will be scored in the following four categories:

Skills – 50% of total score

Judges will observe and evaluate the bootblacks during Open Polishing. Evaluation criteria may include: speed of process, confidence, product knowledge, organization, and end results. Judges will also observe and evaluate the interaction between the contestants and their clients while the contestants are working on the clients’ boots.

Interview – 20% of total score

The judges, as a group, will conduct an interview with each contestant. Questions asked during the interview will be devised solely by the judges and will cover any topic the judges consider to be useful in selecting the contestant most suited to the title. Interviews are conducted in private, with only the contestant and judges present.

Personality and Stage Presence – 10% of total score

The judges will observe the contestant throughout the weekend and evaluate their interaction with members of the public, staff, and fellow contestants. As well, the judges will evaluate the performance of the contestants during the contestant introductions at Meet & Greet, which will consist of a short, impromptu question and answer session between each contestant and the emcee.

Ballots – 20% of total score

Competitors will collect ballots during the Opening Polishing portions of the contest weekend. When all ballots have been tallied, the contestant(s) with the greatest number of ballots will be awarded the full 20% percentage points and the other contestants will receive points equal to the full 20% multiplied by the percentage of the highest ballot total that the contestant collected. For example, if the contestant with the highest ballot total collected 100 ballots, he would receive the full 20%. A contestant who collected 75 ballots would receive 75% of the full 20%, or 15% A contestant who collected 50 ballots would receive 50% of the full 20%, or 10%.

Selection of Winner

The contestant who receives the highest total points will be named Australian Mr Bootblack and will go on to compete in the International Competition in Chicago 2018. Ties between two or more contestants for first, second, or third place will be broken by comparing the ballot totals of the tied contestants. In the case that a first-place tie remains following comparison of ballot totals, the winner of the contest will be determined by secret ballot of the judges.


The primary duty of the winners is to represent Australian Leatherman Inc in the Leather/Fetish and gay communities in Australia and support State and Local Titleholders where possible as traveling ambassadors.

The winner of Australian Leatherman and Australian Mr Bootblack will be able to advance to an international competition: International Mr. Leather (IML) or International Mr Bootblack (IMBB).. Any additional international leather titles may also be acceptable upon approval by ALM.

Australian Leatherman and Australian Mr Bootblack may not compete for any titles which would be considered below the State level. This includes but is not limited to: bar titles, city/county titles, campground titles.

While ALM Board would be pleased to have the Australian Leatherman and Australian Mr Bootblack advance to a higher level of competition within the greater leather community, it is also understood that issues of employment, finance, health, etc. may preclude titleholders from doing so responsibly or comfortably. Please discuss any concerns with the ALM Board.

We believe that the title year experience should be a positive one for both the titleholder and the community. We also believe that the most important obligation of our titleholders is to actively work to promote the leather lifestyle and the community within their home state and where possible across the country.

One of the foremost expectations of the winner, is that during their title year, they will conduct themselves as positive role models. Flagrant violation of this expectation may result in forfeiture of their titles.

What you are not able to do:

  • Australian Leatherman and Mr BootBlack title holders are not authorized to endorse any cause, product, political party, individual or other activity without the express permission of Australian Leatherman Inc.
  • “Go-Fund-Me” and similar campaigns are not permitted without the approval of the Finance Director of ALM.
  • There are also limitations on the use of the names, logos and trademarks of ALM, Australian Leatherman, Australian Mr Bootblack. These may not be used in any alternate image, derivative design or applied to any commercial image without prior approval in writing.
  • In addition to raising funds to cover their own travels, the winners are encouraged to help with fund raising projects or promotional work for worthy causes for a non-profit organization of their choice.
  • Any cause or non-profit MUST be approved in writing by ALM: let us know what you are thinking about – maybe we can help!.

 During the title year, the titleholder is expected to attend local LGBTI Pride Events and all ALM fundraisers and events wearing sash or other appropriate title gear denoting their status as AUSTRALIAN LEATHERMAN or AUSTRALIAN Mr BOOTBLACK.

At the conclusion of their Title Year, the winner will return to act as a Judge for the subsequent Australian Leatherman/Australian Mr Bootblack Competition.