Each month we’ll take a trip into the woods to catch up with our community’s bears and their admirers. This month President of Brisbears Richard Steer recalls his first time seeing a Mr Bear Competition.

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I have to admit, the first time I saw a Mr Bear Competition I thought to myself: “What the heck is going on here? Beauty pageants are old fashioned, sexist, and demeaning. Aren’t they?”

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And yet, here we are with adult men strutting on stage in outfits that leave little to the imagination (though I’m not complaining about that).

Watching the competition for the crown was entertaining, and the men on stage were also having a ball.

You could tell that the competitors had developed a close bond and were genuine in their support for each other.

The crowd was equally supportive, cheering and hollering for the competitors.

After the entertainment and a round of interviews, the winner was announced and adorned with his new sash as Mr Bear Queensland.

My introduction to sash bears was complete, and I thought that would be the end of Mr Bear Queensland for another year.

But I was wrong – it was just the start of the journey for our newly sashed bear.

He was at every event, sash over shoulder, greeting people new and old as they entered the club.

When Brisbears held fundraisers for our community support groups he was front and centre, stripping off, showing off, and creating excitement.

Sash bears don’t just entertain us on the night, they are ambassadors for our clubs and our communities throughout their tenure and beyond.

Mr Bear Queensland 2018 will be held in October during Northern Exposure (NEX), a four-day festival held in Brisbane for bears and their admirers.  

The festival includes something for everyone.  

If you are not ready to strip down for Underbear then join us for a BBQ and Merthyr Bowls or for Chillout at the Brunswick Hotel.

Better yet, come along to the Mr Bear Competition. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with mates and meet new friends.  

NEX 2018 runs from October 18 to 21. You can find information and purchase tickets from: www.brisbears.org.au/nex

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