Check out our interview with Bootblack Kai

How did you get started bootblacking?
It started out as just doing leather for my Sir but then a bootblack at South Plains Leather Fest noticed me watching and invited me over to show me everything she was doing… the act itself is hot but the comradery is what really drew me in.

How long have you been bootblacking?
I’ve been actively bootblacking for 6 years.

What is your most memorable bootblacking experience?
Knights of Leather Tournament 21 – the first large event that I bootblacked at.

What kind of boot do you wear?
An old pair of military surplus boots that fit like a glove

What are your favorite types of boots or leather to have in your chair?
That’s a really hard question. The knee high patrol boots are amazing but i think my favorite boots are the ones that really need a lot of love, the transformation is amazing.

What does being a bootblack mean to you and/or what does it do for you?
Being a bootblack fills my soul, it allows me to connect with many amazing Leather People and see a small glimpse into their Leather Journey.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to learn how to bootblack?
Take your time, experiment and find a mentor…many of us love to share our passion.

What is something unusual or strange that we might find in your bootblack kit?
A squeaky toy, — my Sir gave me a squeaky Harley Davidson boot that lives in my kit, every puppy needs a squeaky.

Why did you decide to compete for International Mr Bootblack?
I decided to compete for International Mr. Bootblack to challenge myself and share my passion for this Community, boots and leather care on larger scale.

What part of the competition makes you the most nervous?
This is the largest event i’ve ever been to and I can be a little shy at times so probably the crowd, but i’m up for the challenge and know it’ll be a great time.

Without giving away any of your trade secrets, what is going to be your “secret weapon” at IMBB?
My support team — Go Great Lakes!

What are your plans for the next year if you win IMBB?
i hope to travel to as many events as possible to teach and share my love of bootblacking. i also hope to continue to reach out and work for a more tolerance and inclusion, whether they be men only, women only or pansexual spaces.

What are your plans for the next year if you don’t win IMBBB?
i hope to continue to travel, grow and develop the north central bootblacking community and do as much educating and mentoring as possible. I will also continue to work for more tolerance and inclusion in our community.

Any tips for someone thinking of competing?
Have fun and take time for yourself and your family (chosen or otherwise).