Victoria’s Matt Cutler has been named Mr Australasia Bear 2011.
Cutler beat out eight other contestants from around Australia and New Zealand on Saturday night to take out the coveted title at the penultimate Southern Hibearnation event, held at the Laird Hotel in Melbourne.
“It’s been the most amazing week ever, and taking out the title in the end was just the icing on the cake,” Cutler told the Star Observer.
Western Australia’s Ash Unicomb was named first runner-up and Mr Congeniality Bear, while Sydney’s George Showell was named second runner-up.
In a surprise addition to his win, Cutler proposed to his boyfriend on stage, which he had been planning for months regardless of whether he won the competition.
“It took a lot of secrets. I had planned it since March and it involved plenty of organising,” he said.
Despite the engagement, Cutler said he had no preconceived notions about whether he would win the competition.
“I was convinced another guy was going to take the crown. We looked at each other right before the announcement and we both said, ‘It’s yours’. ”
Cutler said it would probably be about two years before he and his partner wed, and he has yet to organise the finer details of the event.
In another shock announcement, it appears this year’s Mr Australasia Bear will not be fighting for an international title overseas.
“I made it clear to the judges that I had no intentions of entering a Bear comp overseas and I prefer to assist with the Bear community on the local scene,” Cutler said.
“I want to do Brisbane and Adelaide’s Bear events, and possibly New Zealand.”
Cutler and his partner had previously organised an overseas trip to Europe next year. Cutler said getting the time off work so he could enter the international competition in addition to this trip would be impossible.
Southern Hibearnation 2011 finished on Sunday with the Round Up party at the Peel Hotel.
PHOTO: Kevin Reader