Atons of Minneapolis


3 Part Ceremony from the Atons 50th Anniversary Run

For the Atons 50th Anniversary Run in September 2022, we wanted to honor the club’s past, present, and future and the communities around us. Instead of creating a long ceremony as we’ve done in the past, we created three small ceremonies to mark these three times. We share those ceremonies here in the hope that they will help you to remember our history and inspire your future.

Written by Andrew Bertke and Dan Adolphson
, with help from Keith Cheetham

Atons Members 70s

The Past

We come together on this campground to celebrate the vision of Jim Booth, Jim Courtney, Larry Daniels, and Charles Lamar. In May of 1972, the first LGBT protest marched in Minneapolis on the third anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This era of social change was a catalyst for many organizations to form, including the Atons of Minneapolis.

Inspired by leather clubs to the east, our early members saw the need for a leather/Levi/social fraternity in the Twin Cities that was safe in the early days of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and a place to celebrate, embrace, embrace, and enjoy all that is leather.

Club lore tells us that our founders were inspired to choose the name Atons in honor of the “gay” pharaoh Akhenaten, the father of King Tutankhamen (Tut), and inspired the short-lived religion of Aten.

We went on to be founding members of MACC.

We returned to this site in Whitewater State Park, the site of the club’s largest misadventure when the Whitewater River fork flooded the park, and the ranger walked in on a dungeon scene.

In the 50 years since our brothers first came together, we have had 300 members and associates. For any organization to make it to the 50th anniversary speaks highly to those who came after the founders and kept the vision going, through good times and bad, to bring us to 2022.


As we gather around the circle tonight, the campfire’s flame is a light of remembrance for our founders, friends, and those that blazed the path we walk on now. In our leather community, many were the trailblazers, leaders, lovers, and encouragers whose spirits are with us tonight. Will will not forget them.

We have lost members and friends to violence, AIDS, COVID, cancer, neglect, mental illness, alcohol/chemical dependency, and time.

As we light these candles, please take a moment in silence to remember those who are no longer with us and current members of our respective leather communities who cannot be with us due to health concerns.

Floyd Bednarz – Member
Jon Berglund – Member
Clark Bufkin – Member
Samuel Carlisle – Emeritus
Jim “Anubis” Chalgren – Member
Ralph Chesebrough – Emeritus
Greg Chevalier – Member
Jim Albright Conway – Member
Larry Daniel – Charter Member
Jim Downs – MemberGreg Gust – Member
Richard Harris – Member
Ted Herbert – Member
Kelley Herridge – Trustee
Harry Holmes – Member
Darren Holt – Member
Jack Hunt – Emeritus
Les “Tigger” James – Associate
Jerry Johns – Member
Maury Jones – Member
Charles Lamar – Charter Member
Tony Maio – Member
John Manderfeld – Member
Joseph Miller – Emeritus
George Moore – Member

Scott Mugrdechian – Member
James Mullin – Member
Tom Mynor – Member
Duane Naley – Member
Tim Newman – Member
Matthew Novotny – Associate
Larry Pierson – Member
Kevin Puckett – Member
Dick Ruetschilling – Member
Peter Semotink – Member
Bernard Sherman – Member
Gene Skarda – Member
Milo Smith – Member
Brian Spence – Alumnus
Kyle Truss – Member
Lyle Wasson – Member
Gary Way – Member
John Webb – Member
Jim Wells – Member
Daryl Wuebker – Member

The membership type listed indicates the
highest membership status and does not
necessarily reflect the final status.

We invite you to speak the names of others into the circle and share a bit about them.

Now, in their memory, go out and have kinky fun tonight!

The Future

As we close the Atons 50th Anniversary Run, we look into and embrace our future.

Many of us continue walking this path, and we make room for our younger leaders and friends to join us. One day they will eventually surpass us and carry our leather and history to a new generation. May they know they will never walk alone. We will be here with them every step of the way.

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