Dozens of women from five hard-hitting sports teams came together on Oct. 23 at Santa Rosa Park to compete in feats of strength and raise just over $1,200 for the SLO Women's Shelter. Dubbed the "SLO Town Throw Down," the event featured fun but physical challenges—arm wrestling, pie eating, relay races—that kept the playing field even for women of varying athletic backgrounds.
The women's rugby team dominated the competition, with the Central Coast Roller Derby girls coming in second. Also in attendance were an Arroyo Grande softball team called the Borrachas, the jiu-jitsu girls of Paragon Gym, and the SurvivOars, a rowing team whose members are all cancer survivors.
Gabriel Mirsaidi helped put the rugby team over the top with her arm-wrestling victory.
“I was using my left hand, since my right shoulder was hurting,“ Mirsaidi said with a sly smile. “I’m obviously that awesome.“
Paragon put on a demonstration of self defense for women. Groups like League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women set up booths to promote community involvement. Many of the women who spoke with New Times said the aggressive, non-lady-like sports gave them a sense of empowerment and confidence while helping to relieve stress.
“We spend all week dealing with work and children and husbands. Then we get to go out and beat people up and drink beer afterward,“ Carey "Cheeba" Jones said. “It’s way cheaper than anger management.“
A raffle with prizes from local tattoo artists, wineries, and restaurants brought in some much-needed funds for Women’s Shelter SLO, which runs a safe house and 24-hour crisis line (781-6400) for abused women.
“We really rely on community support during the holidays,“ said shelter Prevention Coordinator Sarah Ou. “We need gifts for the children and food for holiday feasts. Every little bit helps a lot.“