By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Photos by B FRESH Photography
Special thanks to Mark Graff and Bardot Studios
Mistress Bardot slides into the latex nun habit, her gloved hand smoothing the veil against her cheekbone. She emerges from backstage, charmingly steps into the crowd, and greets friends who traveled thousands of miles to see her.
The Mistress begins her ascension to the stage, gracefully parting the kinky people like a sexual sea. Bardot's intuitive eyes scan the room—her beaming, cherry-painted smile hinting at secret pleasures.
She ushers a lucky redheaded schoolgirl to the fore, and enjoins her to kneel. Bardot's bouncy laugh calls attention to the naughty scene about to transpire. The crowd swells with expectation.
Welcome to the Fetish Ball.
There are dozens of fetish groups and organizations in Minnesota, some dating back as long as 40 years. According to FetLife, the global kink social network, there are nearly 12,000 registered fetish practitioners in our state. You wouldn't know it from looking at us, because the citizenry hardly wear their sexual peccadilloes on their long sleeves.
"People can be fired because they are kinky in their private life," says Susan Wright, author and policy director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "Or they can lose custody of their children."
Wright works to dispel stereotypes and fight stigmas associated with the fetish lifestyle. Media coverage of sex is often sensationalized or made out to be a joke, Wright says, and because of antiquated laws, consenting adults with alternative lifestyles aren't protected against discrimination.
If you are adventurous enough to think up something kinky, it's probably happening in Minnesota, maybe right next door as you're reading this.
But this isn't a story about sex. It's a story about love.
Charger is known by many as the kinkiest person in Minnesota, and his favorite fetish of them all is dressing up as a pony.
"I've done stuff that people only dream about," he says with a jolly laugh, and scratches his brow. "I'll try anything once—twice if I like it."
Charger flops his pony gear out of its suitcase, the leather saddle making a sharp slapping noise as it meets the table. He repositions the pony tail, brushing the knots out with his fingers. A smirk crosses his handsome, scruffy face, as he recalls the day he fell in love with pony play.
Charger grew up on a ranch in Montana, always admiring the symbiotic relationship between the trusting, powerful horse and his handler. One day he sat down at his computer to look at porn. He remembered it started like any typical day, but what he came across in his browsing would change his life forever. Even though he had been into kink for more than 20 years, a flush of virgin excitement took over his body as he witnessed Lady Cheyenne ride a human pony.
"It struck me so hard that within 30 days I had designed and bought equipment for my own pony outfit, spending nearly $2,000," Charger recalls. "It's still the same gear I use today."
The first time Charger transformed into a pony, the endorphins rushed through him like he had found his first true love. It was only a short time before he began his public appearance as a pony.
Several months after seeing the video with Cheyenne, Charger showed up to a Twin Cities event on a warm summer afternoon in June. His sudden, fully formed appearance overwhelmed even veterans of the local leather scene.
"They were in complete awe," Charger says.
Charger's handler helps him slip on the horse body wrap, which laces up like a corset. The roughness and texture of the pony suit becomes a part of him, and his breathing shifts into a more methodical, beastly pace. He bends over and places his arms in crutches covered in leather, bringing his back level to the ground.
"It's very satisfying to me when a woman tells me that the movement she feels is the same as riding on a horse," Charger explains. "And when it's the right situation, I kind of blank out a little."
It may take a few hours before he drifts into the "headspace" of being a pony. It has gotten to the point where he has given so many rides that his body shakes from exhaustion at the end of the day, the leather soaking wet from sweat. He gets emotionally charged from pony play, especially the power exchange.
"[Pony play] is a hard fetish to describe to people," Charger says. "When they can't understand, I have them put on a piece of the headgear, and you can watch their eyes literally change."
"I hate feet without stockings!" Randy belts out as he places the red ball gag in Lady Lin's mouth. "They have to have stockings on."
He turns his white Minnesota Vikings hat backward and brings the Nikon D5000's viewfinder up to his squinting eye. He shoots a few frames, and cautiously steps around her.