At first glance, Women’s Arm Wrestling and Pride Week seem like an odd combination. One is a pro-wrestling-esque promotion that features women with elaborate stage personae test their arm strength, the other is a celebration of sexual liberation and equal rights. The two things don’t seem to have very much in common.
On closer examination, there is a certain logic to WAW’s presence at Pride. If ever there was an appropriate time for an event that features female feats of strength, men and women in booty shorts, go-go dancers in drag, and a high-camp sensibility, Pride Week would be it. And judging by the response from the crowd at WAW’s Pride tournament, which took place on the Alterna-Queer Stage just prior to Sunday’s parade, Women’s Arm Wrestling may become a regular part of the festivities.
According to co-founder and referee Scotty B. Goode, the events started after he and colleague/local promoter Steve Rock saw a spontaneous women’s arm-wrestling match break out in the bar.
“Some girls started arm-wrestling and the whole bar seemed to get off on it,” he said. “Then all the girls in the bar started arm-wrestling at their own tables, and we though it would be good to do it for charity.”
Scarlett O’Terror and Faye Tality are two of of the organization’s longest standing competitors. The Pride tournament ended with Tality, a crowd favourite and bad ass with a heart of gold, losing to the loathsome heel O’Terror. Away from the arm-wrestling table, the two athletes—whose real names are Amanda Flynn and Stephanie Flynn—are actually sisters.
“Steve and Scott are all really good friends of ours, so when they came up with the concept, they mentioned it to us and we had to get involved,” said Stephanie.
In the almost three years since the first event, Goode says he’s seen a tremendous change in terms of both stage presence and athletic performance.
“The theatrics have grown, he said. “The girls are getting better and better at competing and creating characters and making matches exciting.”
Aurielle St. Cyr is WAW’s ring card girl, treasurer, and the final third of the organizing team. She says that the Pride show is just the first part of a much larger expansion plan.
“We just got back from New York,” she said. “We’re looking to go across Canada, go out west, take it to Montreal. It’s just getting bigger and bigger and we’re giving more and more money to charity.”