League of Lady Wrestlers combatants Shreeeka and Garbageface take to the mat in the Island Rumble III on September 9th, 2016 in Toronto. (Heather Rappard/League of Lady Wrestlers)

After five years, Dawson City’s League of Lady Wrestlers to storm the ring one last time

‘It’s going to be a lot of emotion and a lot of energy. It’s a big work of beauty.’

Break out the whisky and set your tampon-guns to stun because the League of Lady Wrestlers is winding back to deliver its last-ever show in Dawson City August 5.

LOLW plans go out with a bang at their final throwdown, Thunderdome. The event will feature wrestlers from all three LOLW chapters — Dawson City, Victoria and Toronto — as well as guest wrestlers from the unaffiliated but similar sister syndicate, Fairbanks Ladies of Wrestling.

This serious rumble features more than a half-dozen bouts, with a host of old and new fighters, including three new wrestlers over the age of 60 for whom this will be the first show, said LOLW organizer and performer Yasmine Renaud.

Senior Sex Siren (Lulu Keating), one of the new kickass grand-dames of wrestling, saw the last LOLW event in Dawson featuring a bout by Anita Pad, who “was just a girl frustrated at how expensive tampons are,” said Renaud. Anita Pad featured sanitary pads, a bad attitude and a tampon gun, which shot tampons into the crowd. When Keating saw that, she just had to be part of the show, Renaud said.

“Our league has created a space where women — any woman — can come and create and feel powerful, be seen and be heard,” said Renaud.

“Lulu couldn’t believe it,” Renaud said. “When she was a girl she had to go to the pharmacy and wait for the male pharmacist to leave to ask the female clerk to get tampons for her. They came in an unmarked brown box.”

Renaud, who has had two previous characters, will be playing Fedora Todd in this event,

Todd is a “men’s rights activist” she said, although he “probably wouldn’t describe himself that way.” Renaud describes his as the caricature of online “trolls.”

“He’s a self-described ‘nice guy’… who takes his frustrations out on women online,” she said.

The most important aspect of the events — and one of the things Renaud said she will miss the most — is the audience.

“They show up in costume, they have characters…. It’s hard to keep them out of the ring sometimes,” she said. “They’re just so involved.”

“If you looks at the faces of audience members sometimes, they’re just losing their minds.”

Just like professional wrestling matches, LOLW is more performance art than actual combat. Fights are scripted and rehearsed, said Renaud, and each performer is responsible for their own character, dialogue and bout. It’s the best performance, in fact, that wins the overall competition, in place of a clear fight ‘winner,’ she said.

“We do get criticism about how we’re not ‘respecting’ wrestling,” she said. “But this isn’t about wrestling. (LOLW) could be about train conducting, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a vehicle we use.”

“Honestly, I don’t care what some men out there think about the event. It’s not for them.”

One interesting thing, Renaud notes, is that the LOLW doesn’t really have any “heroes.” When creating characters, most women in LOLW don’t want to be a hero, she said.

“We’re (as women) always told to be polite and kind and all the girls just want to be rude and crude and wild,” Renaud said.

“A lot of aspects of the patriarchy are based on gender roles. That’s what (LOLW) is all about — just taking up space and making noise.”

The league started in Dawson City in 2012, and soon expanded to Toronto and Victoria thanks to the naturally migratory behaviour of Yukoners. Now, five years later, it’s time to put the event to rest, Renaud said.

“We never intended it to be this big,” said Renaud.

Renaud said the event takes a huge amount of time and commitment both from members and the community. She and the other lady wrestlers are ready to move on to other “badass projects” including writing a “how-to” manual for other feminist groups looking to do this kind of event.

“I’m happy to see it end — I want to blow this thing up instead of seeing it fade out,” Renaud said. “But I’m going to miss it.”

“It’s bittersweet,” said Andrea Pelletier, who plays the long running-character Shreeeka. “There’s something nice about feeling like you’re ending on top, but at the same time it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the community and Shreeeka herself.”

Pelletier said mixed feelings aside, this final event is going to be one of the best shows the LOLW has ever put on.

“We’re kind of storming the town with feminists. It’s awesome,” Pelletier said.

“This will be the biggest and best performance we’ve ever put on…. We’re going to leave it all out there in the ring…. It’s going to be an epic goodbye,” she said.

“It’s going to be a lot of emotion and a lot of energy. It’s a big work of beauty.”

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

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