Women's Arm Wrestling
Eighth annual WOVV Women’s Arm Wrestling Champion is Kim Hansen, center, with third-place winner Melessa Owsley, second from right, and second-place winner Katelyn Murphy, right. Giles Russell, referee, is at left.

Amidst a cheering crowd, islander Kim Hansen captured the Eighth Annual WOVV Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament championship Thursday night in the Ocracoke Community Center.

Melessa Owsley as “Fat Jesus,”of Rittman, Ohio, defended her 2015 title against about 20 other competitors in the double elimination contest, but came in third.  Second-place winner Katelyn Murphy of Atlanta, a first-time island visitor, vied as “the Ripped Reader.”

Hansen, whose moniker was “Wrestles with Bears,” competed for the first time in the contest that drew more than 180 viewers and volunteers.

Kim Hansen, aka 'Wrestles with Bears,' right, takes down 'The Ripped Reader.'
Kim Hansen, aka ‘Wrestles with Bears,’ right, takes down ‘The Ripped Reader.’ Volunteer scorekeeper Charles Temple holds the championship belt at rear while referee Giles Russell monitors the wrestlers’ form.

Competitors are encouraged to wear costumes, and on their registration form to create colorful personae.

Islander Bill Cole donned a rainbow-colored wig and announced the contestants as if it were a WWE Smackdown accompanied by loud hollering from the audience.

It was Hansen’s first time competing, and as she cradled the victory belt the champions pose with after winning, said she was overwhelmed.

“It’s nice sometimes to be a powerful and a woman, and that’s OK,” she said. “Sometimes being a strong woman pays.”

Chrissi Gasklill, calling herself “Girl-zilla,” was the first-place winner for the costumes with her full-body, inflatable Godzilla costume. 

 “It was like living in a greenhouse for three hours,” she said after the event.

womens arm wrestling 2016
Chrissi Gaskill, left, as ‘Girl-zilla.’

Gaskill has competed in seven of the eight contests since it began.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “It’s an excuse to get into a costume and drink alcohol.”

Other costume winners were islander Connie Leinbach, second place as “HB2,” and three visitors who all dressed Jolly Green Giant-fashion as “The Green Team” won third place.

Event coordinator Tommy Hutcherson said the event cleared about $3,800 for the community radio station 90.1 FM.

Hutcherson said the committee decided to move the event from the original location of behind the Village Thrift across from Community Square after rain deluged the island on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

But they were happy with the inside location that was away from mosquitoes and had air conditioning.

“It went really well,” Hutcherson said Friday about the event. “All and all, it was a very good time with great response.” 

The organizing committee consisted of Hutcherson, John Simpson, Cole, Debbie Wells, Brad Yeatman and Sarah Fiore.

Among the major sponsors were Dajio Restaurant and Devil’s Backbone Beer.

For more Ocracoke news, click here.

The crowd in the Ocracoke Community Center.
The crowd in the Ocracoke Community Center.
Emcee Bill Cole, left, announces the winner Kim Hansen.
Emcee Bill Cole, left, with winner Kim Hansen.
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