This one is a little late in coming, considering the 2006 International bear Rendezvous took place in San Francisco in mid-February but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Puerto Rican daddy bear extraordinaire Ali Lopez, a hot man with a heart of an angel, took away one of the 5 coveted event titles. Appropriatedly he was named Mr. International Daddy Bear 2006. The event, organized annually by the non-profit Bears of San Francisco as a fundraising event and bear social, draws thousands of burly men to the Golden Gate city for what is perhaps the preeminent bear event in the world.
I mention Ali in particular because - well, I know him - but aside from that he has also been an unsung hero to me for many years. Through his participation in these events, his visibility in other bear media, his artwork and generosity, Ali has consistently brought attention to bears of color within bear culture in the United States (go here if you need to ask). Most recently he has been hard at work on efforts to raise money to help those affected by the 2005 Katrina and Rita hurricane disasters.Ali was also featured in a chapter on bears of color in Ron Suresha's landmark 2002 "Bears on Bears" book.
In any case, congratulations go to Ali for a much deserved recognition.