Ladies will arm wrestle to benefit their sisters

ahobbs@theolympian.comMay 24, 2014 

Maureen Maples (left) and Katie Meyer get their grip on as they give a quick arm wrestling demo before the start of an informational meeting Tuesday night at the Le Voyeur restaurant in downtown Olympia regarding starting a ladies arm wrestling club locally.Maples is spearheading the idea which includes a future competition tournament to be held at the restaurant for a charity.

STEVE BLOOM — The Olympian Buy Photo

The Olympia Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers — better known as Oly CLAW — will hold a charity event that promises to titillate the audience and celebrate the city’s creative side.

At least 10 local women and their costumed entourages will face off next Friday at Le Voyeur in downtown Olympia. All proceeds will benefit SafePlace, which serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Each wrestler has adopted a stage persona with names such as Marie Armtoinette, Ivana KrusChu and Stone Cold Stevie Knicks. The latter character, portrayed by Olympia resident Christine Day, is a hybrid between macho pro wrestler Steve Austin and singer Stevie Nicks, who spews taglines such as “this landslide is gonna bring you down!”

Oly CLAW founder Maureen Maples said the show will include plenty of “smack talk” and colorful costumes. One wrestler has an Egyptian-style entourage of shirtless men in gold booty shorts. Maples herself will wrestle as Bambi SpiceBush and dress like a “juggalette” in black-and-white clown makeup.

“It’s much more about the entertainment than the competition,” said Maples, who started recruiting arm wrestlers in March and has been busy planning the event since. “We have so many creative people in town. It’ll just get better from here.”

Maples got the idea for Oly CLAW after watching the documentary “CLAW,” which is based on the original club in Virginia. At Friday’s matches, attendees can place “bets” with special Oly CLAW dollars or bid on auction items between rounds, Maples said. She added that the goal is to raise $1,000 for SafePlace.

Maples’ right-hand man is John Manini, who has produced an 18-second video teaser that features the lady arm wrestlers. Manini will emcee Friday’s event as ring announcer Mickey the Mouth.

“There’s a huge theatrical component to it,” said Manini, noting how he and Maples complement each other. “Maureen and I share the same aesthetic sensibility. … She’s got that same drive and passion to see really rad stuff happen in town.”

Thomasina Cooper, development director for SafePlace, said the donation will benefit crisis intervention and advocacy programs.

“It tops the list of creative fundraisers,” said Cooper, adding that her co-workers are “thrilled and tickled” about this week’s event. “It’s a great connection to SafePlace because it’s all about empowerment.”

Check it out

The first Oly CLAW event will begin at 7 p.m. May 30 at Le Voyeur, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia. Tickets are $10 at the door. Learn more about Oly CLAW at facebook.com/olyclaw. Also check out a video teaser at vimeo.com/95366861.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com

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