From LA to NC Comicon GRAWL will brawl
Rachel Scott discovered she was pregnant shortly after she, Amanda Lehmert Killian and Meagan Albert founded the Greensboro Arm Wrestling League in late 2015. “My husband Joe said ‘Maybe you should give up this thing now that you’re bringing a child into the world,’ but I thought this world would be a lot cooler with a lady’s badass arm wrestling league in it,” she recently told me.
She said the pregnancy motivated her even more. “I want my daughter to be able to say ‘Look at this cool thing that I’m a part of.’ I hope that she will see it as part of her identity.”
Scott’s daughter Ripley isn’t old enough to arm wrestle yet, but Scott will be wrestling as April O’Heel in the GRAWL exhibition at NC Comicon in Raleigh next weekend. Her character, based on the intrepid reporter from Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, represents a childhood fantasy come true. But Scott is excited about more than paying tribute to a hero who wore a yellow jumpsuit rather than a half shell.
“When we hosted our first event at Geeksboro in April 2016, we were thrilled to have raised just $1,000 for bathroom upgrades at the Interactive Resource Center of Greensboro,” she wrote. “We were fine with raising around $2,000 each event.”
That figure more than doubled when GRAWL switched its home to Gibb’s Hundred on 117 W. Lewis St. in January of this year, a venue that afforded more space and much more parking. “Now we are raising over $5,000, and the amount of money we raise and the attendance just keep increasing with every event,” Scott said. Mark Gibb, the owner of GRAWL’s new home, told me that he’s proud to be hosting them. “It’s a great group of folks; they raise a lot of money for [a] good cause, and the events themselves are boisterous with a very positive vibe.”
Killian also told me she’s proud of the way the organization has grown since it started two years ago. “We’ve raised more than $23,000 for local nonprofits,” she said. “I am so proud of what our scrappy little group has done to create good in our community.”
“GRAWL has brought so much excitement, creativity, and genuinely incredibly people into my life,” Albert said. “It never ceases to amaze me how GRAWL has assembled a community that celebrates quirkiness and manifests it for the benefit of worthwhile local organizations.” Albert will be representing GRAWL at NC Comicon for the second year in a row via her character Rosie Rogers, a combination of Captain America’s alter-ego and Rosie the Riveter.
Other women representing GRAWL at NC Comicon include Wendy Leventry, reprising her character Rainbow Dasher of Hopes. Leventry, a mother of three, has also customized her motorcycle to represent that character. Mary-Elise Turner McNaught, an eighth-grade language arts teacher who previously wrestled as Captain McNaughty, will be debuting her version of Wonder Woman. Kitty Lawrence will be appearing as Poison Ivy and S. T. Mason as Barbarian Princess. As usual, they will be accompanied by their entourages.
Liz Skeen, who wrestled as ChewBecki in the GRAWL event at Gibb’s that raised $5,500 for the Kellin Foundation on Feb. 5, will be appearing as Lesbian Subtext. She invented this character when she was part of Laura Eynon-Way’s entourage when Eynon-Way wrestled at Geeksboro as Xena, Warrior Princess.
Skeen and Shannon Reeves, who wrestles as “Harry Potter hottie” Sleazy Weasley, went to Los Angeles in February to represent GRAWL at the LA LAW (Los Angeles Ladies Arm Wrestling) Super CLAW (Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers). They didn’t win, but they had a great time serving as ambassadors to other such organizations.
“It’s always incredible to experience how another league operates,” Skeen said, adding “it’s fascinating to see what other groups bring to the table.” One thing literally on the table was peanut butter and jelly. Skeen took part in a “yuck match” in which she and her opponent Sister Patricia wrestled after dipping their hands in those sticky childhood staples. “She absolutely decimated me,” Skeen said. “I had to wash my hands before heading to the bar for my consolation beer.”
Scott said that GRAWL is recruiting new wrestlers for our June and October events. “If anyone is interested, they should message us on our Facebook page and look out for a new wrestler orientation coming up this spring.”
Ian McDowell is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.