Forget the Summer Olympics. You want to see true tried-and-true, red-white-and-blue American athleticism? You’ve got to get a load of BRAWL tonight.
BRAWL, a/k/a the Broads’ Regional Arm-Wrestling League, returns to the Water Street Market in New Paltz on Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m. BRAWL is a member of the Collective of Lady Arm-Wrestlers (CLAW), a Charlottesville, Virginia-based national non-profit alliance of theatrical women arm-wrestlers who grit teeth and lock hands to raise money for charity. Their mission: to empower women and strengthen local communities through highly physical and philanthropic arm-wrestling competitions.
Their names – Magenta Delecta, Black-Eyed Susan, Roxy Balboa, Granny Clamp-It, Cotton Kandi – may be aliases, but the action is real. “People ask me all the time if the wrestling is staged, and it’s really not,” said Lucretia O., a/k/a BRAWL representative Tricia Mazzocca. “It’s definitely a competition. There are some people who are about the theatrics, playing a costumed character with a funny name and an enormous entourage, sure. But the wrestling is real deal.”
Audience members are encouraged to bring bills to “bet” on their favorite wrestlers. Throw your money through the air, tuck it into wrestlers’ clothing or drop it into an entourage’s briefcase. “Bets” are actually donations that go to community organizations that empower women and girls.
July’s BRAWL will benefit the Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County (BIUC), which aims to educate the community and provide support to breastfeeding families. BIUC is also building scholarship funds to help community members pursue education as lactation consultants.
No two BRAWLs are alike. In honor of this one – its first outdoor summer event –Magenta Delecta will unveil her troupe of Mini-Me minions, who have choreographed a dance routine just for the occasion. National Public Radio will be there for one night only, to complete its story on CLAW. Emcees Mazzocca and Julie Novak, a/k/a Lady Thumb Prince, will dazzle with airy commentary and pungent punchlines; and SuperCLAW national champions, hometown hero Heather Weizen and Washington, DC’s Amy Smackhouse, will show off their championship cape. After the BRAWL, stick around for a dance party with deejay WA.
Referee Michael Wilcock will be on hand to make sure that no arms get broken – a problem that has plagued other leagues. “It’s easier to do than you think,” said Mazzocca. “It’s something we’re really vigilant about, but we don’t stop people at 25 seconds [in deadlock]. No way.”
Hudson Valley BRAWL barrels into the Water Street Market on Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m. The Water Street Market is located at 10 Main Street in New Paltz. For info and updates, visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hudsonvalleybrawl. Interested in wrestling at a future event? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch the video for Wrists Up to get psyched up! www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNZ6YDVaKQk.