Rules and Guidelines

Judges and Contestants Handbook


Statement of Purpose

 The Heartland Person of Leather Contest is a celebration of the diversity in the Leather Community.  The goal of the Person of Leather title is to promote and celebrate the diversity of Leather Culture both regionally and internationally throughout the alternative sex-positive community on behalf of the Heartland and International Person of Leather Contests.

Each year, a single Heartland Person of Leather will be selected not based on gender-identity, sexual-orientation, race, physical appearance, age, or disability, but rather on their ability to articulate their views, passions, and dedications and to make an impact in their communities. We will expect these People of Leather to act as mentors, educators, role models and spokespeople throughout their title year, specifically in the states included in our region.

Person of Leather: one title, one community.


Contest Rules

Contestant Eligibility Requirements

The Heartland Person of Leather Contest is open to any person who identifies as Leather and is at least 18 years old, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Regional Eligibility

To participate in the Heartland Person of Leather Contest, contestants must reside in one of the nine states in the region.  These are; North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa.

Consent and Identification

Contestants will be required to provide photocopies of a government issued photo identification of themselves with their application form.

Agreement to Compete In All Categories

By submitting an application form, each contestant agrees to participate in all of the categories of the Heartland Person of Leather Contest, including Interview, Leather Lifestyle, Speech, Pop Questions, and Fantasy. They also agree to participate in Heartland Person of Leather Weekend fundraising activities.

Entry Fee

There is no entry fee for the Heartland Regional Contest at this time. However, contestants may be subject to the registration fee of the host event, Oklahoma Leatherfest.

Each contestant is permitted two performers to participate in their fantasy. These performers must be registered for the event.

Hold Blameless

Each contestant and each performer participating in a fantasy agrees to hold blameless International Person of Leather and/or Sin in the City, Heartland Person of Leather, Oklahoma Leatherfest, their producers, staff, volunteer personnel and/or sponsors for injuries, economic loss, or any liability; and to pay all court costs in any litigation that may arise from any legal action taken by the contestant against the aforementioned. 

Winner’s Undertakings

Each contestant agrees to represent the Heartland Person of Leather title during the full year of their title if they should win the contest.  The Heartland Person of Leather is encouraged to, but not obligated to travel, speak, participate, or do any fundraising although they may be asked to do so by clubs, organizations, and businesses in the community.  The two requirements of the title are; to participate in the International Person of Leather Contest held during their title year; and to return to the Heartland Person of Leather the next year to judge and pass on the title. These two requirements will be supplemented by the travel fund, and or the HPOL Producers.   If they elect to travel, speak, participate, or do fundraising, they do so of their own volition.  It is not a requirement of the title. A travel fund will be raised by HPOL to help with costs. There is no guarantee on the minimum amount of this fund.

Runner-up Responsibilities

The first runner-up agrees to assume the title, privileges and responsibilities of the winner if the winner resigns or has their title removed. The second runner-up agrees to do the same whenever the winner and first runner-up no longer hold the title during the official title year.

Title Year Defined

The title year is defined as beginning when a contestant is named the winner of the Heartland Person of Leather Contest until the following year’s new winner is announced. The same applies to the International title.


The Heartland Person of Leather Contest

The main objective of each part of the contest is for the judges to determine which of the contestants will best represent the title in the coming year.  The contest includes five different categories:  Leather Lifestyle, Interview, Speech, Pop Questions, and Fantasy.


Leather Lifestyle

The Leather Lifestyle category of the contest gives contestants the opportunity to demonstrate their concern for the entire Leather/SM/fetish community during the weekend. Leather Lifestyle includes interaction with judges, other contestants, VIPs, and the general public during the Heartland Person of Leather Contest weekend. This starts Friday at the Opening Ceremony and the Meet & Greet and continues until the staged portion of the contest begins on Saturday night. We are looking for a titleholder who can get along with and be open to everyone. This category will also encompass any interaction the contestant has during the weekend fundraising efforts. We believe that one-on-one interaction between the titleholder and the community is an important part of a titleholder’s reign.  Each contestant will provide a basket of items to be placed in the silent auction.  All proceeds from the contestant baskets will go towards the Titleholder’s travel fund.  The Friday night Meet & Greet will be held during the Cigar Social after the Opening Ceremony.  There will be fundraising efforts held during the social to also benefit the Titleholder’s travel fund.



The judges will interview contestants to try to obtain a deeper understanding of their history and character.  The interview will consist of a question-and-answer period with a panel of judges. Each interview will last approximately 15-20 minutes on the Saturday morning of the staged contest.


The Production Team will determine in advance if the interviews will be open to the general public.  If they are open, contestants may not see their opponents’ interviews.




Titleholders are frequently asked to speak in public and this is often the best way they have to reach large audiences.

Each participant will give a speech from the stage on any subject they believe is relevant to the audience.  The speech must last between 90 seconds and two minutes.  No notes or visual aids will be allowed.  Not meeting the time guidelines will be penalized in the scoring with a penalty of at least 10%. Using notes or visual aids will be penalized in the scoring with a penalty of at least 20%. The head judge will clarify penalties with the judging panel before the contest begins.


Pop Questions

The Heartland Person of Leather needs to be able to think quickly and answer questions off the cuff, when interacting with other people.

Pop Questions include appearance on stage and how the contestant answers a light/humorous question and one serious question asked them by the emcee(s). The questions will be created in advance by the Judging Panel and will be drawn by lot by each contestant as they appear on stage. Each contestant will answer a humorous and a serious question in succession, with the chance to read the question silently before the emcee(s) read(s) it aloud. Every effort will be made to ensure that the questions are equally relevant and thought provoking to provide a fair balance.



The fantasy will be a staged erotic production of 3-5 minutes by each contestant. This fantasy does not have to be an SM fantasy, but must be descriptive of and/or based on at least one fetish.  Fantasies must be done in accordance with Federal and Oklahoma laws and within the limits of the contest venue, and any insurance policy guidelines. Not meeting the time guidelines will be penalized in the scoring with a penalty of at least 10%. The head judge will clarify penalties with the judging panel before the contest begins.


The content of each fantasy must be cleared with the contest production manager before rehearsal begins. No surprises please!  Each contestant will have a closed 30 minute rehearsal time on Saturday before the contest.

Each contestant may have up to two additional persons performing in the fantasy.  Any additional people in the fantasy must be registered for the Oklahoma Leatherfest event.


Each contestant is responsible for their own props.  Heartland Person of Leather can supply basic props including a St. Andrew’s cross, bondage table, spanking horse, two chairs and a table. This is done in an effort to save contestants and sponsors the time, effort and cost of transporting these items to Oklahoma City.  Each participant will have 1 minute to set the stage for their fantasy and 1 minute to clear the stage after the fantasy.   Contestants must supply their own background music and sound in thumb drive format to the stage manager prior to the fantasy rehearsal.


No fire, wax, oils, or sprays leaving residue, slipperiness, or discoloration on the stage may be used.  If any liquids are used, a tarp covering the whole area beneath the fantasy must be used to protect the stage from damage and to make the set change for the next fantasy expedient. 


The Production Team will appoint a judging panel made up by a Head Judge and 4 additional judges.  The Production Team may remove or replace any judge without explanation.

The Winners

The Heartland Person of Leather will be announced on stage at the end of the Contest. 


Judges’ score cards will be collected and tallied at the end of each segment of the contest by the Tally Master(s).  In the event of a tie, the interview scores will be used to determine the winner.  If a tie still remains first the leather lifestyle scores will be used and then, if necessary, the speech scores will be used. 

The point values per judge for each of the five categories are as follows:

1.      Interview = 200 points possible

2.      Leather Lifestyle = 100 points possible

3.      Speech = 75 points possible

4.      Pop Questions = 50 points possible

5.      Fantasy = 75 points possible


This will result in a maximum possible score of 2,500 points. The winning contestant must acquire no less than 70% or 1,750 points. This policy is in effect if there is only one contestant as well as multiples. Judges are encouraged to be cognizant of the 70% value of each category.