PORTLAND, Maine — Ranger Bushwacker danced and gyrated her strategy to the stage at Geno’s Rock Membership on Saturday evening to the pulsating rhythm of a pounding dance anthem and wild screams of pleasure from the viewers.
Dressed as a park ranger, with inexperienced shorts, a wide-brimmed, brown marketing campaign hat and an opulent beaver puppet on her left hand, it was an unforgettable entrance.
On the stage, the flamboyant Bushwacker bested all her opponents, beating them one-by-one, successful the title of strongest arm wrestler of the night.
She then danced herself off stage, via a throng of delirious followers and again into her common life as Ava Gurekian.
That’s how the Superhero Girl Armwrestlers of Portland occasions are designed to work. They’re presupposed to be a enjoyable time, the place ladies and nonbinary individuals commerce their humdrum, on a regular basis personas for empowered, bombastic variations of themselves whereas performing feats of power.
Likewise, Saturday’s occasion was meant to be a lighthearted present, capping off a month of Portland Delight occasions, whereas celebrating the group’s tenth anniversary, with all proceeds going towards MaineTransNet.
However after Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court docket ruling, throwing out 50 years of abortion rights, the arm wresling bout took on a brand new undercurrent of urgency, energy and anger.
“It endangers all of us,” mentioned occasion co-organizer Diamond Duryea of the court docket’s ruling.
The Superhero Girl Armwrestlers of Portland, often called SLAP, is the native chapter of CLAW, the worldwide Collective of Girl Armwrestlers. They mix skilled wrestling-like theatrics with real-life arm wrestling.
Proceeds from bouts all the time go to charity.
One new character, making her debut on Saturday, appeared to talk in direct opposition to the excessive court docket’s current determination.
Amber Cornish, dressed as Pope Benelicks LXIX, made her entrance to serene Gregorian chants. However simply earlier than reaching the stage, the music made an abrupt change to one thing a lot sooner and extra raucous.
Cornish then busted her transfer, baring her proper buttock the place she had written “F-the patriarchy” below a rainbow.
The group went wild.
Left to proper, Pope Benelicks LXIX, the alter ego of Amber Cornish, stares down her opponent throughout a Superhero Girl Armwrestlers of Portland Delight Month occasion at Geno’s Rock Membership on Saturday evening, June 25, 2022. Sully McCarthy, who goes by the stage title Farmhand Fanny, straightens her hat earlier than squaring off towards an opponent at a Superhero Girl Armwrestlers of Portland Delight Month occasion within the metropolis on Saturday evening, June 25, 2022. Ranger Bushwacker, aka Ava Gurekian, makes her entrance at a Superhero Girl Armwrestlers of Portland occasion at Geno’s Rock Membership on Saturday evening, June 25, 2022. Credit score: Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Cash from ticket gross sales, in addition to additional money collected from the viewers by every wrestler’s entourage, went to MaineTransNet, a statewide group offering peer-to-peer help for transgender of us, as nicely a cultural competency coaching for medical, psychological well being and social service suppliers.
“We raised round $3,000,” Duryea mentioned.
Throughout intermission, Quinn Gormley, govt director of MaineTransNet, took the stage.
“Not going to lie. The following few years will suck — and never in a great way,” Gormley mentioned, stating Justice Clarence Thomas’ written opinion suggesting the court docket have a look at homosexual marriage rights and contraception ensures subsequent.
“All the cash raised tonight will go towards resisting any assaults coming at us within the subsequent legislature — and there can be many,” Gormley mentioned.
Opponents mentioned whereas the Supreme Court docket ruling added fireplace to the SLAP occasion, the group has been about empowering ladies from the beginning.
“That is ladies being highly effective,” mentioned competitor Emily Smith.
Smith is a nurturing mom and caring nurse by day. By evening, she wrestles as deranged Russian scientist Nuclear Nadia, somebody devoted to inflicting ache.
“She’s unhealthy. All people hates her,” Smith mentioned. “That is my strategy to break away.”
Sully McCarthy, who goes by Farmhand Fanny on stage, agreed.
“Once they’re chanting your title, throwing cash at you — you are feeling tremendous assured,” McCarthy mentioned. “How will you not get excited?”
Farmhand Fanny is a cowgirl character primarily based on Dolly Parton’s function within the musical film “Finest Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
The evening’s runner up was Kelsea Dunham, enjoying the function of Princess Puff Puff, Portland’s stoner royalty with a crown and scepter produced from a bong.
For Dunham it’s about freedom, in addition to empowerment.
“The place else are you able to go on stage, play costume up, preserve Portland bizarre and earn cash for a very good trigger, all of sudden?” she mentioned.
After Gurekian received the arm wrestling competitors, Olivia Orr, enjoying a mall rat named Thot Subject, was topped “Madame Moneymaker.”
Orr and her entourage received the title after amassing essentially the most cash from the gang. She was then requested to kneel on stage because the money was dumped over her.
“It feels even higher understanding that it’s going to help MaineTransNet,” Orr mentioned.
Watch the SLAP web site for details about upcoming occasions.