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Babes in boy land

Cassie Pence
Illustration by Dawn Beacon
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VAIL ” Intuition isn’t usually a factor when it comes to arm wrestling. Strength, speed, stamina ” these are all traits that lead to victory in arm sport.

Unless you’re talking about female arm wrestling. In this case, that sixth sense that separates the women from the boys plays a major role in competition.

Dominque Jackson, aka The Bommer, was almost pinned at a recent female arm-wrestling contest in Carbondale. Dressed in a leather Wonder Woman costume, Jackson, locked in position, wavered at a 45-degree angle for what seemed like minutes.

“The next thing you know, in my head, I was like, ‘I need to take a rest here, this is killing me,'” Jackson said. “I stopped giving her resistance, and she backed off. It was a female-intuition moment where we both decided we needed a break. We went back to center, holding each other’s hand ” and then, bam, it was on. I threw her down in five seconds.”

You would never see this in men’s arm wrestling ” ever ” which is why the female variety is so much more entertaining. Add freaky costumes and free kegs into the mix, and it’s a perfect Saturday night.

Bret Roedemeier, aka host Gordon Saucepan, came up with the idea out of a need for something fun to do in Carbondale. His friends had attended a competition in Brooklyn, and he thought with all the fit mountain women around, female arm wrestling could really take off. Roedemeier has hosted contests in Glenwood, Aspen and Carbondale, and he said it’s been a “wild success.” On Saturday, Vail will see its first Female Arm Wrestling Death Match at 8150, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Contestants register and a bracket is built. A professional arm-wrestling table is set up on stage, and a video camera feeds up-close live footage to the bar’s TVs. The women dress up in costume and take on crazy alter egos, think WWF, and Gordon Saucepan plays an all-’80s vinyl set, featuring the classic chick pump-up songs by artists like Joan Jett, Billy Idol and Heart.

“It’s really intense,” Roedemeier said. “At first, it’s all giggles, but it really narrows down to some serious competition. There are girls who absolutely come to win.”

In Carbondale, Barb Jacksa, aka The Croatian Princess, has wrestled herself into semi-celebrity status. She’s never lost a match and plans on contending in Vail. The princess’ secret, she said, is strength, quickness and understanding how a fulcrum works ” a lesson she uses as an architect.

“I also drink a lot of Jack Daniels,” Jacksa said. “But now I’m semi-retired, because after the Floyd Landis thing, they’re talking about testing me.”

Jacksa said the arm-wrestling nights attract a diverse and interesting mix of people. Every type of woman has competed, she said, from the prissy type to the rock-climbing type to old beat-up women and gym rats, like herself.

“There was a 70-year-old ranch woman who competed, and she was strong,” Jacksa said. “Her comment after the match was, ‘If I was 10 years younger, I would have kicked your ass.'”

The men in the room, Jacksa said, are just waiting for a hair-pulling cat fight to break out. Or, they’ll nestle up to one of the contenders as “manager.” If both scenarios fail to pan out, the men often look for a little competition themselves.

“It never fails; guys always want to beat me afterward,” Jacksa said.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938 or

cpence@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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