KC Pioneers – still rolling after 42 years

Members of KC Pioneers at their Trails End Run 40. Photo by Janet Ryan.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

“Everybody has their own desires; what I may do with one person I won’t do with anyone else,” said Dean Galloway, Vice President of KC Pioneers, a Kansas City, Mo., leather/levi club. The club promotes the leather lifestyle through social events and community service, and works with kink/fetish groups throughout the area.

Leather clubs from around the Mid-West attend the KC Pioneers biennial run. Photo by Janet Ryan.

KC Pioneers celebrates the 42nd anniversary of their 1975 founding this year. “At the beginning we were just a social club, more wear your leathers out to a leather bar,” Galloway reminisced. But they, like many leather clubs across the United States, took on a different role when the AIDS epidemic engulfed the LGBT+ community in the 80’s and 90’s. “We became more of a fund raising and working with charity [group].”

The group has a “run” every other year. Runs were originally patterned after events put on by motorcycle clubs. One of the most famous runs is annually at Sturgis, South Dakota. Today, the KC Pioneers’ Trails End run consists of, “Lots of cocktails and fundraising,” joked Galloway.

Fundraising is an important part of what the club does. This year, the Trails End run raised $800 for KC Passages, a group that offers LGBT+ youth in the greater Kansas City area “a place to become strong, proud members of the community by providing a safe, hate-free space.”

That’s not the end of the fundraising for the year. Two years ago the Pioneers gave Passages a grant of $2,000, and they plan another grant at the end of this year. Over the years, they have supported many local charities.

Fundraising is not the only function of the long-time club. They also have an active social calendar and a series of workshops about leather/levi, kink/fetish and SMBD practices. “When we do our workshops, it’s a monthly hands-on thing, not just a demo. At the bondage one you actually get to play with the rope,” said Galloway.

He explained more about leather clubs, “Before the gay movement, the S&M community was very closeted. Members had very distinct roles; people would go into training and become a master of their kink.”

Leather club members from across the Mid-West attend the KC Pioneers biennial Trails End Run. Photo by Janet Ryan.

Today, roles are not so tightly organized. Clubs have full members and pledges. “A pledge, it’s sort of like admission to a fraternity. They get to know us and we get to know them and make sure they are a good fit,” he explained.

Membership has responsibilities. “Full members are obligated to be at all our events, attend the meetings and fundraisers, and to promote the leather lifestyle and be a positive presence in the community.”

Most clubs adopt a uniform to be worn to events. The Pioneers were originally western oriented, so members had to wear a cowboy hat, a white shirt and black pants. It’s more relaxed now; they only require a hat of any kind, a white shirt and black lower garments – slacks or a kilt.

KC Pioneers meets monthly the third Sunday of the month, 5 p.m. at Missie B’s bar. People interested in membership or learning more about the leather/levi community can simply show up for the meeting, or they can contact the group through its website at www.kcpioneers.club. Dates and topics of their workshops can be found on their Facebook page – KC Pioneers.

Copyright The Gayly – September 21, 2017 @ 12:20 p.m. CDT.