The fiercest of Hudson Valley ladies rolled up their sleeves on Thursday, Oct. 6 at Water Street Market for the third annual “BRAWLing Under the Stars.”
As their only outdoor event of the year, the members of the Broads Regional Arm Wrestling League (BRAWL) brought a packed crowd ready to donate for a cause. And donate they did: after a three-hour match of multiple women exposing their strengths, the league collected over $1,500.
As a 3-year-old regional and now 1-year-old national league, BRAWL was created to empower girls and women. At each arm-wrestling extravaganza, the overall idea is to create a character, bring an entourage and, of course, win the match. Audiences place “bets” for each player and the money collected goes to whichever donation is chosen for each event. For this Water Street Market affair, the money raised went to the Ulster County Crime Victims Assistance Program.
“The money is specifically allocated for clothing and cab fare for crime victims after they’ve been assaulted and their clothing is taken away from them at the hospital for evidence,” said Mariah Bishop, or Muskle Beach Barbie, who was involved with the planning and merchandizing for the event. “Usually we take charities that contact us. We’ve already given to great charities and we will continue giving to them, but I kind of wanted to reach outside the box to something less comfortable. A little more controversial.”
The BRAWL began with MC Lady Thumb Prince, formally known as Julie Novak, with her rendition of “I Love Rock & Roll” by replacing the iconic words with “Come and take your time and wrestle with me.” Prince and co-founder Magenta Delecta (Jacinta Bunnell) introduced the event as a time to “celebrate the strength and unification of women everywhere.” They explained the rules, where the main referee and under-the-table referee must watch for raised butt cheeks, and most importantly, the “arm-breaking position.”
With the crowd full of high energy and fat wallets, the first fight started with Dr. Goldfinger vs. Dr. Moxy. With each gal bedazzled in extravagant costumes and accompanied by a large entourage, the female practitioners competed until Goldfinger took the win.
Although she lost, Moxy, a.k.a. fourth-year geography major Angela DeVivo, said she had only recreationally arm-wrestled before.
“I’m just here for the research. I’m a top researcher in the circuit of human experimentation and human enhancement,” said DeVivo. “Okay, I’ll come out of character now. It’s a really awesome community of people. It was kind of nerve-wracking because they wanted me on first and I’ve barely been to a BRAWL.”
Morgan Smith, who’s a part of Moxy’s entourage, travelled through the crowds to collect money for the Moxy crew.
“I think I did okay. The crowd held out for the ones they were supporting,” said fourth-year student Smith. “I love the BRAWL. I think it’s so much fun and it should be every week.”
With money literally flying through the air, numerous characters including Annie Scissorhands and Roxy Balboa competed throughout the night. The finals came down to Fanny Farmer and Cinderblock. Cinderblock, or Cynthia Crafts during the day, works for the Ulster County Crime Victims Assistance Program and was asked to wrestle at the event.
“When they called and said they wanted to raise money for us, they
wanted someone to volunteer and participate. I was like, ‘Alright, I’m game,’” said Crafts. “I’m having a blast. It’s so much
As a rookie arm-wrestler, Crafts upset the competition, defeating Farmer with ease.
Working day jobs mostly as human service workers, the ladies of BRAWL are all about having a good time while sharing a good cause. Since 2009, the league has raised around $15,000 for several organizations.
“The money is always about the same, whether there’s 150 people or 450,” said Bishop. “People give. It’s nice to give them the opportunity to give because giving feels good.”
For more information on BRAWL and their upcoming events, visit brawlnewyork.wordpress.com.