MR BEAR EUROPE 2017
Henk Heijenga is a great friend of Alphatribe and we were very happy to hear that he won the inaugural Mr Bear Europe Contest. He is a great ambassador and supporter of the gay bear community as well as other gay fetishes and events. Alphatribe has asked Frank to write a personal column reflecting his experience of a gay fetish title contest. We hope his words will encourage other guys – whether you’re a leathermen, superhero, pup, rubbermen, or bear – to enter local contests. They can lead to many lifechanging experiences. And, as the public faces of our communities, these ambassadors do many great deeds whether they are charitable, political or campaigning.
I am Henk from Amsterdam and I was elected Mister Bear Europe 2017 at the end of April in Cologne, Germany. The European election was organised for the first time after a long gap by Gianni, Luca, Frank, Mike, and other bears.
There was online voting where you could vote for your bear (like in the Eurovision Song Contest, your favourite got 12 points,… and so on). All nine candidates had a video presentation on the site where they explained why you should vote for them as the new Mr Bear Europe.
On election night itself, all candidates did a live presentation to show off their best. That night there was a second public and jury vote. They were counted with the results of the online vote to give the final result. It all was very official and controlled by a notary (lawyer).
Third place went to Kris from Belgium, and second place was won by Gabriel from Austria. As Mr Bear Netherlands 2016, I brought the European trophy to Amsterdam which made me, and the Dutch, very happy. Our last Eurovision victory win was 1975 with Teach In – the year after ABBA!
I am very proud to have been chosen (although I probably won because I fucked with all of the jury members… lol). I’ve always gravitated towards the bear scene, ever since I knew I was gay. I always liked hairy, bearded guys who are themselves, and I am proud to represent the bear community in every way. My goals for this year are to attend and be visible at a lot of Bear Prides.
My main reasons for joining this competition was to be seen Europe- and world-wide as a proud poz bear, and to help other poz bears to deal with it.
I strongly encourage any gay fetish man, of whatever tribe or kink, to support and enter his local contest. Not everyone can win, but it is a great experience. And if winning is your thing, you can enter in subsequent years or other locations with your freshly gained competition experience where you will no doubt win! And then the fantastic rollercoaster of brotherhood begins.
MY message is: Even a poz bear can win an important competition. Just be, and respect, yourself.
Furthermore, I want to campaign for gay refugees and help, where needed, gay men who have bigger struggles than we do in Europe. In May I worked some other sash holders in Amsterdam and we raised a lot of money and got media attention for Chechnya. It is absurd and horrible that problems like Chechnya still exist nowadays. So it’s important to be visible and draw media attention at all times and collect money for these guys to help them get a new life somewhere else.
I just finished my first trip outside of Europe to Vancouver, Canada. I walked in the Parade there with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It was an unbelievable experience. I just love the Canadians, especially when they get drunk and then play (I experienced that). I even met some former Mr Bears from New Zealand.
Guys, I hope to meet or see you at some Bear Prides or parties. Maybe in Berlin, San Francisco, Antwerp, Amsterdam, or somewhere else. Just say hi – this bear won’t bite unless you want me too.
Big woofffss to all of you cubs, otters, daddy bears, muscle bears, and all other beary bears.