Lady arm-wrestlers clash for charity cash

Bending an elbow takes on a whole new meaning for cheeky competitors

Referee Philip Yunger reacts as "Scarlett O'Scara," aka Ann Marie Wilson (left) of Silver Spring, and "Amy Smackhouse," aka Andrea Kavanagh of the District, prepare to arm-wrestle during the D.C. Lady Arm Wrestlers league event. The arm-wrestling competitions raise money for charity. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Referee Philip Yunger reacts as “Scarlett O’Scara,” aka Ann Marie Wilson (left) of Silver Spring, and “Amy Smackhouse,” aka Andrea Kavanagh of the District, prepare to arm-wrestle during the D.C. Lady Arm Wrestlers league event. The arm-wrestling competitions raise money for charity. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Amid the sweaty palms, gritted teeth and clenched biceps of the Washington D.C. Lady Arm Wrestlers league, one rule ranks above all others: the one-butt-cheek rule.

A wrestler should keep her feet firmly planted on the floor and her elbow cannot leave the table, but it’s the space between the chair and one’s derriere that determines a fair fight.

“There’s even a butt ref. He’s got a tux and white gloves,” said Andrea Kavanagh, an international ocean-conservation employee by day, but a reigning champ in the ring.

“It’s all about getting out of the gate first — as soon as the ref blows his whistle,” she said. “That, and a twist of the wrist.”

The league is well into its second year and has a fluctuating number of wrestlers depending on the match night. The event schedule also is flexible, but there are usually at least two a year.

Susan Whitney, a founding member and College Park resident, said her husband showed her a newspaper article last February about a similar league in Charlottesville, Va., knowing full well where that would lead. Soon-to-be founders of DCLAW then began chatting on the Facebook page of the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers and discovered there was just as much interest in the Washington area for starting a league.

“The great thing is that all these women are housewives and regular people,” said Phil Yunger, the league’s referee and unofficial coach. “The key, though, is this group does it for charity.”

During the tournament-style matches, bets are made, and the money collected goes to a charity of the wrestling group’s choice, though Ms. Whitney said the goal is to help a nonprofit below the radar.

To date there have been four matches, and the women have raised more than $12,000.

To help entice the audience into parting with their money, the wrestlers adopt alter egos, complete with costumes.

Ms. Whitney, 40, will take the stage as “Nouveau Biche,” wearing a tennis skirt and driving a cardboard Hummer while talking on her cellphone.

“I love the showmanship of it,” she said. “It’s campy, but we’re trying to pull people out of their shells. People put on a costume and say ‘I can do this.’”

The wrestlers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and experience. And they pack a generous helping of creativity and competitive spirit.

On a recent Friday night, a handful of women rehearsed at the Hyattsville-area warehouse of Community Forklift, a consignment and environmentally friendly building-supply shop, for an upcoming match on Saturday.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto