CLLAW XXVIII: FALL of the Patriarchy

What do you get when you combine arm wrestling tournaments with the brash, over-the-top showmanship of ‘80s-era professional wrestling? The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers.

CLLAW XXVIII: FALL of the Patriarchy on Nov. 3 was the organization’s 28th tournament. CLLAW competitors come from various walks of life: teachers, lawyers and graphic designers, among others. Anyone who identifies as female is welcome to participate as wrestlers or in other roles, such as managers or entourage members.

The wrestlers were accompanied by their managers whose names often relate to the wrestler’s persona and character. For example, first-time wrestler Special Agent Dana Skull-y—portrayed by Alex Betzel—who works in fundraising for a public media company was accompanied by manager Fox Murder—portrayed by Kate Scott Daly—a photojournalist. Both of their names pay homage to the lead characters of “The X-Files.”

The night’s champion was Tawdry Horne, portrayed by Amelia Buzzell. This was Buzzell’s first CLLAW championship win and her 11th time participating.

CLLAW is one of the multiple leagues that came out of the original CLAW, which started in 2008, as the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers in Charlottesville, Virginia. The league quickly grew and the Chicago satellite, one of the first formed after the Charlottesville league, was founded in 2009. In 2011, CLAW USA, “The Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers,” was established to represent leagues in more than 25 cities in the U.S. and internationally.

All proceeds from CLLAW tournaments go to charity. This tournament raised $7,600 for the Chicago Women’s Health Center, 1025 W. Sunnyside Ave, and Sideshow Theatre Company, a Chicago nonprofit that organizes and produces matches three times a year.

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