Lady arm-wrestlers The Pilgrim, La Nina, Bunny Bruiser, Jacky O’Nasty, Pushy Galore, Heather Wiesen, Kiki Yorbutt and The Captain will match their upper-body strength and grease their palms to reach into your pockets to benefit Family of Woodstock Washbourne House Domestic Violence Shelter and Cabrini Home for Girls Recreation Fund.
BRAWL, short for Hudson Valley Broads Regional Arm Wrestling League, started scraping their knuckles together in April 2009 when a mere 25-30 guests cramped the Black Swan in Tivoli, and has since raised over $8,000 for charities and organizations benefiting women and kids. Its most recent smackdown drew more than 400 fans to Kingston’s Steel House.
The league is as much about theatrics as athletics — the ladies, like their pro-wrestling counterparts, don colorful costumed personas to do battle, enter the arena surrounded by their boxer-style entourages and entice fans to “bet” (or just throw) money on them. All proceeds go to the various good causes BRAWL supports.
“It promises to be a packed evening if our Facebook page is any indication,” said Robert Frazza, the booking agent for the Bearsville Theater (Route 212, just west of central Woodstock, or 291 Tinker St., Woodstock, if you need to plug it into your GPS) who added that he often hears of how “outrageous” the events are. “There are over 200 people confirmed for the event.”
The event will take place on the theater’s stage with professional lighting, staging and a quality sound system. Also, for the first time, there will be a cover charge at the door: a sliding scale between $1 and $100. Event coordinator Tricia Mazzocca explained that in no way should this prevent anyone from participating, but rather just to expect to bring a few extra bucks for the door in addition to heaping piles of singles for betting on their favorite finger-cruncher.
If you are a lady and would like to pit your biceps against the BRAWL-ers, it can happen. But be careful what you wish for. Mazzocca says perhaps just show up for the exhibition tournament, in costume if you dare. “If there’s one thing we love, it’s wacky self-expression,” said Mazzocca. “People love to put an alter ego out there, and it’s fun…we welcome weirdness of almost all kinds.”
Also dropping a simple e-mail can do wonders for the prospective wrestler, Mazzocca promises. (Anyone interested in wrestling should email firstname.lastname@example.org, or can visit the website hudsonvalleybrawl.com.) “You have to have a certain type of personality. Someone who likes to put on a show, and be in the spotlight,” said Mazzocca. “The charity is a huge impetus for people too, of course. Women helping women. A lot of women like to challenge themselves, and a lot of people think that they can’t do this, and that they could never win, and they come up and try it and they surprise themselves.”
Mazzocca said women do it for the love of doing it. “It’s fun for them. The self-expression, the creation of a persona, getting your friends together to be in your entourage. It’s about getting everyone together for one evening, and letting loose.”
The betting is entirely legal, in case you’re worried about your local constabulary knocking down your door the next morning for a follow-up brawl of a less enjoyable kind. Either donate at the door, in the buckets circulated by the wrestler’s entourage or hurl your bread at the wrestlers during their rounds. They’ll get it, and more importantly so will the charities. Rules are determined and managed by the referee, Michael “The Ref” Wilcock, and manipulated and corrupted by the wrestlers, celebrity judges, crowd hecklers and “muscle lovin’ bet-hedgers.”
Magenta Delecta (a.k.a. Jacinta Bummell of Ulster County) is to BRAWL what Don King was to boxing, and she even has a VIP box for family, friends and favored spectators. “Charlie has his angels, Disney has his princesses,” sneered Delecta. “I have my wrestlers.”
The doors for Friday night’s SuperBRAWL open at 8 p.m. with the show an hour later. There’s the $1-$100 sliding scale donation at the door — $50 or more gets a free T-shirt. ++