Heap of Hairy Bear Talent at Mr West Oz

Last Saturday, March 14th, saw Connections Nightclub’s main area become a dense den of disco fur and leather as gentlemen of all ages, shapes and sizes gathered to watch five of Perth’s most enthusiastic Bears battle it out for the state title of Mr West Oz Bear Perth.

Competitors Dan, Michael, Adrian, Jarrad and Thierry went through a series of ‘challenges’, from the marathon gab-fest that was the initial interview section, to underwear modelling and then enacting an unimagined fantasy, live on stage, for the delight of some of Perth’s most manly men you’ll ever meet. And not a spot of macramé in sight.

Adelaide’s Craig Bascand – winner of Mr Australasia Bear 2010 – was a guest judge at this year’s event, joining Connections Nightclub owner Tim Brown and other prominent Bears Perth community members.

As a titleholder with five years judging experience at Mr Bear talent shows nationwide, Bascand told OUTinPerth that he had a particular set of criteria for identifying a winner.

“They need to be comfortable in their skin. Their role can potentially put them in a lot of social settings, like I have done, and they need to be assured and confident enough to talk to people…probably while wearing, at the least, next to nothing.

“I’m also looking for somebody who is very community minded but, above all else, has a fun personality.”

Bascand admitted the talent was strong at this year’s Mr West Oz Bear Perth, and also confessed he had fallen in love with WA’s architecture and “beautiful, kind people”.

Highlight of the night? When contestant Thierry sung a swinging ’60s pop song for his talent section, his fantasy being a lifelong wish to sing in front of a live audience. The sheer joy that exuded off Thierry as he minced through the crowd, crooning away, was a truly magical moment.

And speaking of magic, winner Michael Heap used some of the blackest kind to stage a talent section that was theatrical, masculine, dirty and daemonic. This professional baritone could have played an ‘easy A’ by singing, but instead he envisioned a fantasy that had even Beelzebub stop by the club…literally.

Congratulations must go out to Connections and also Paul Hayter, whose undying dedication to Bears Perth sees us excuse his meandering microphone monologues as he transformed into an excited young man, eager to see who had won…just like we were.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Check out photos from the night below.




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