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Female Arm Wrestlers Bring 'Bar Brawl' to Brooklyn

By Meredith Hoffman | August 17, 2012 7:34am

WILLIAMSBURG — The Olympics may be over, but another fierce physical showdown is on its way — and Brooklyn bar-goers don't need a TV to watch these competitors flex their muscles.

The bold women of 5 Borough Ladies Arm Wrestling are planning to hit tables at the Public Assembly for their next heated four-round, eight-woman tournament.

"The theme this time is 'Bar Brawl,'" the group's outreach coordinator, Alie Cirgenski, said of the Sept. 22 event in the pub's back room. "But every wrestler comes in their own personae dressed to kill with a posse in tow."

In the grassroots group's first six tournaments, competitors' get-ups have included "Justin Beaver" (the female equivalent of teen heartthrob Justin Bieber) and the bride from the movie "Kill Bill."

"It's instantly gratifying empowerment," the group's cofounder, Kate McNeely, told DNAinfo.com New York earlier this year. "Here you are as a woman doing a strenghth-based activity... It's a whole new way of dealing with feminism."

The upcoming tournament is free, but audience members are encouraged to bet on their "wrestler of choice," Cirgenski said, with all proceeds this time going to the nonprofit Rainbow Heights Club for LGBTQ individuals requiring mental health services. 

"People throw money on the stage," McNeely, from Bushwick, explained. "It's a whole new way of fundraising."

Both veteran arm wrestlers and first-timers will compete in the September brawl, Cirgenski noted, and spots are still open for wrestlers to enroll by emailing nydawls@gmail.com.

"I'm excited to see newcomers Tom Bruise and Sleaze Lightning show us their skills," she said of two new competitors.

BAR BRAWL is Sept. 22 at Public Assembly. Doors open at 10 p.m.