Will you be our Surprise Judge?

To be a surprise judge, you must be pre-registered. Don’t miss out- register now and tell us you're interested in judging for our 25th SELF!

Have you ever sat in the audience of a title contest mentally scoring the contestants? Have you ever watched a panel of judges and thought, "I could be up there!"  

SELF is bringing back the opportunity this year, where you (yes, you) could be on the judging panel! This is not a gimmicky advertisement; we, the producer and board members of SELF, have had in-depth discussions about how to make our contest more interactive and inclusive of all attendees. From the inception of this program in 2014, we heard you loved it.

We believe that your opinion about our contestants should have a voice, and we trust in our SELF community enough to open up this opportunity to everyone. One of you will be sitting on our panel of highly recognized and experienced judges at SELF 25!

What Will it Be Like?

You will have the same perks, responsibilities, and opportunities as all the judges on our panel. You will sit with our other judges during the contest, and be introduced to the SELF audience as our 'surprise' judge. Your scoring will be included with the same weight as each judge. Be prepared to immerse yourself as a full participant on our panel, and keep the same schedule as our judges, including contest nights, meetings, and contestant interviews. Please see this sample judge's schedule:

Sample Judge's Schedule:


Judge's Orientation (afternoon meeting)


  • 3:30PM – 5:00PM, Spring: Master/slave Contestant Presentations
  • 10:30AM – 5:00PM, Patio: Bootblack contestant hours (check in several times to see contestants)
  • 8:00PM, Contest Part 1


  • 9:30AM, Spring: Contestant interviews 
  • 9:30AM1:30PM – 4:30PM, Patio: Bootblack contestant hours (check in several times to see contestants)
  • 7:00PM, RM 101: Step Down Reception
  • 8:00PM, Contest Part II (please arrive by 7:45PM)

How Do I Enter?

Enter our You Be the Judge! contest when you pre-register for SELF on our webiste. There will be an opportunity to enter the drawing during the pre-registration process. 

How is the Judge Chosen?

Our surprise judge will be picked at random as soon as online registration closes from the pre-registered attendees who indicate they would like to be a surprise judge. The judge will be contacted and provided a schedule. Judge must be ready to make initial meeting of judges on Thursday. If first picked judge cannot make the meeting, a second judge will be picked. Judge to be announced middle of July and contacted via email/telephone call. (Dates may vary if registration is extended!) SELF will email and call to notify winner. 

Anything Else I Need to Know?

This position as a SELF judge will be limited to the dates of SELF 25 only, June 16 - 19, 2022. No monetary compensation will be provided - contest Judge is not a paid position. Judge must adhere to all regulations of the judge's handbook and SELF guidelines. SELF reserves the right to dismiss the individual from this position if rules and regulations are not complied with fully. 

You Be the Judge!

2019 Service Kitty
Being the surprise judge was an interesting and thought provoking experience. I've attended Leather events for years but mostly skipped out on title competitions. My fear was that the competition was a popularity contest like Prom Queen and King, and I had never been one of the popular kids. 
Reading the submissions the contestants wrote before hand on why running for the titles at SELF where important to them made me begin to reconsider my views. During the interview process I was again forced to look at my own preconceived notions around what a title was all about. Some of my co-Judges asked questions I never even would have considered. They asked things that helped me build stronger community ties to many of them and with the contestants. 
I want these connections to members of my community. I want to help raise funds for people to be able to travel and share their Leather experiences and make Leather something people can find, participate in safely and take comfort in knowing they are not alone. 
For the most part being a surprise judge was fun, but it was also hard. It does require a time commitment and gave me reason for a lot of introspection. I am glad I did it and I think anyone who has interest in what Leather titles are all about should throw their name in the hat and see if they get selected as a surprise judge! 

I had always wanted to attend SELF.  I heard amazing things about the event, the classes, contest, and producer – and wanted to see for myself if things were as good as I heard (the movie rarely holds up to the book after all).

Being a first time attendee to the event, I was nervous.  I’ve been to a bunch of events, but this was the first event in my new home area.  It was an opportunity for me to meet people, socialize, in addition to see what the hype was about.  Imagine my surprise when I got a call from the producer asking me to be SELF’s “Surprise Judge”!  Imagine my further surprise when a few judges were friends of mine from out of town!  

Upon arriving at SELF, I had an opportunity to meet the producer, Catherine Gross.  Catherine was lovely, engaging, and humorous.  She provided information as to how the event worked, the reason why judging was different at SELF versus other events, and how she viewed the importance of what we would be doing for the region and for her event.  I was impressed, and the level of detail and expectations that she has of her staff showed through in this initial meeting.

Over the next three days (starting at the meet and greet, ending at the luncheon), I was absolutely blown away at every interaction.  Every time I was in the social area downstairs, people were huddled around talking as if it was their living room.  Each hospitality event had individuals who seemed to be in the room just to make introductions.  Every class I attended was well delivered by an expert presenter – and some presenters stepped up at the last minute to fill in!  The Saturday luncheon speakers?  There are no words to describe how touched I was by people sharing their life experiences, and how much I cried upon hearing some of their stories.   

Saturday evenings extravaganza of the contest was an experience.  The clothes were amazing, the energy was incredible and the MC was phenomenal (an impromptu bidding war over the producer was certainly a fun addition….)!    The speeches and fantasies absolutely blew me away.

That all said, I was in attendance to judge.  It was a challenging job, and more so for the contestants than for the judges.  I was impressed by each and every contestant who chose to put themselves out, show their vulnerability, and allow themselves to be on display for the weekend.  It is not an easy thing to do, and I wish the titleholders the best throughout the remainder of the year.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in such a critical role for SELF.  I enjoyed my first experience at the event, and understand why people refer to it as ‘coming home’.  I look forward to learning more about the community in the SouthEast and making it my home moving forward.

In Leather,
Washington State Ms. Leather 2014

 2017 - GearDog


Dragon was raised by his WWII fighter-pilot father with many of the principles that would shape the Leather movement, but is a relative newcomer to the Lifestyle where he was happy to find there was a community and word for those who share his core beliefs. He has been slowly building his poly Leather household, Caer na’Drac, in the Northwest Georgia hills near Chattanooga. He is a proponent of the idea of the mission-driven Household and has taken the lessons learned from decades as a teacher in the neo-Pagan community together with his love of history to create a Neo-Edwardian model for his House, rather like a kinky Downton Abbey.  He is currently attending Adler University with the openly declared purpose of using his Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology to help him be a better administrator for a future shelter for victims of domestic abuse in the BDSM lifestyle.

slave krissy

slave krissy has come into the Leather Community by way of her participation in MAsT:Nashville which she has attended faithfully since its inception in 2011. She first served as secretary and for the past 3 years as Co Director helping to develop the Chapter and continuing to offer a valuable educational resource to the Middle Tennessee Community. She lead efforts to bring in exciting and informative speakers such as Leather title holders and M/s Title holders, which have provided her community with outstanding educational opportunities.

Slave krisssy feels fortunate to have had wonderful mentors over the past decade. Additionally meeting and sharing space with those of the current leather scene have inspired her to step outside her comfort zone and attend SELF, continuously seeking, searching, learning and sharing with those of like minds.

Master Bear

In 2009, he was a founding member of the Legion of Sin Motorcycle Club, the only LGBT Non-Gender Orientation specific MC in California, holding the position of Vice-President until November 2013 and now currently Treasurer.

He believes that he is evolving into the Master that he wants to be. He is the Founding Director of MAsT- Livermore Valley , Founder and Host of the Tri-Valley and Beyond Kinky Brunch Munch, sits on the Board of Directors for the SF Leather Alliance, and hosts the Bear’s Lair BDSM Parties in Livermore.