Arm wrestlers put muscle into KZMU

Last moments before “La La Left Arm” claims victory over “Charmin Elektra.”
Photo by Aidan McClean

On Saturday, March 30, Moab’s local bar Club Rio hosted an unusual fundraiser to support KZMU, Grand County’s public, solar-powered radio station.

The event invited ladies and female-identifying persons to take part in a good old-fashioned arm wrestling competition, something KZMU hasn’t done in about six years.

Serah Mead, KZMU station manager, brought the arm wrestling competition back because she missed the camaraderie of it. “I love Moab so much; I am hooked on the community’s readiness to get weird and celebrate its unique culture.”

There were a total of 18 wrestlers and a couple of last minute good sports. Patrons were encouraged to wear creative costumes and make up pseudonyms that identified their persona for the night. Spectators huddled close to the stage as one bold soul after another challenged for prizes.

Mayor Emily Niehaus, fitted in a blue wig and American flag tank, commentated on the first round, which invited non-binary challengers up to the stage. “Cozy Cole,” also a KZMU DJ and one of the hosts of the event, challenged Megan List, otherwise known as DJ Nutmeg, neither of whom planned on competing.

Cole won the battle and proudly strutted around the dance floor in a sparkly basketball jersey and a hot pink tutu. The next rounds were only for female and female-identifying challengers. Elimination lasted only about six seconds, with competitors pinned against each other such as “Chikadee vs. Mystery,” and “Lady J vs. Charmin Elektra,” while referee Nara Bopp, also the manager of Wabi Sabi, supervised the action.

Referee Nara Bopp supervises the match between “Chickadee” and “Mystery.”
Photo by Aidan McClean

Characters “Chikadee,” “Lala Left Arm,” the aforementioned “Charmin Elektra,” and “Bone Saw,” won the prizes for first, second and third place. Charmin Elektra, coming in second place, won a basket filled with amusing giveaways from Wabi Sabi, including a fashion feather necklace, a book, a DVD of “The Queen,” and a figurine of a lion. “I’ve never done this before; it was exhilarating!” said Elektra on her win.

The first place winner went by the name of Bone Saw, who is a personal trainer in her daily life. She had never entered a competition like this before but was confident before signing up. “I knew I’d win; I wouldn’t have entered if I wasn’t going to.” Little did the other participants know, she is in every way left-handed, but used her non-dominant hand so as not to hurt anyone.

The first place trophy was comprised of “a recycled lamp, a glove I found on the street while biking, plastic bags, and a painted pomegranate juice bottle,” said Pimo, a local artist and spectator who donated the award.

Aside from personal training and an occasional arm wrestling competition, Bone Saw, who goes by Bitsy Tatera, is also an artist and will be featured in Moab’s next art walk, in case readers want to find her and ask for a redemption round.

The event made the Rio the go-to place that night. “We’ve been super busy,” said bartender Toni Padovano. “Maybe we should have arm wrestling competitions more often!”

“Bone Saw” hugging the 1st place trophy after triumphant win.
Photo by Aidan McClean

The night wound down with a big thank you to everyone who came out to support the station. Songs like “Woman,” by Kesha, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, and “Man, I feel like a Woman,” by Shania Twain, ended the event, turning it into an all-out dance party sound-tracked by female musicians.

he night wound down with a big thank you to everyone who came out to support the station. Songs like “Woman,” by Kesha, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, and “Man, I feel like a Woman,” by Shania Twain, ended the event, turning it into an all-out dance party sound-tracked by female musicians.

Mead stated how important it was to her that the event be inclusive to all female-identifying humans. “We decided to have all categories to be able to be present in the gender equality conversation.”

Christian Wright, a KZMU DJ who goes by Atlas1984, a spectator, and an avid listener stated that “KZMU is an anchor for the community and this event is an inspiring form of feminist action.”

All proceeds go to KZMU radio station, which was defunded by the Corporationfor Public Broadcasting in 2015, but has since been able to remain on air thanks to contributions from its members and state support from Utah Division of Arts & Museums. Events like this help keep the grassroots radio station on the air so listeners can enjoy the array of scheduled shows, Mead noted.