The ladies rule Dawson City this weekend.
First up, the Dawson City League of Lady Wrestlers presents the North End Knockout on Saturday, August 6.
On Sunday, August 7, the best female pokers players in the Yukon gather to play it out for prize money.
Why are there these all-women events in what are thought of, by some, as male-dominated pastimes?
The idea of bringing female wrestling to Dawson City started in 2013 as a way for women to celebrate feminine identities, question traditional gender stereotypes, and for a bit of physical fun, as well.
Yasmine Renaud, Kimberly Edgar and Andy Pelletier are this year’s event producers for the North End Knockout.
They encourage participants to choose what type of personality they would like to portray. It can be their own identity, or an alter-ego. Its up to the women to develop the characters, as little or as much as they want.
Renaud herself has developed an over-the-top personality. As a wrestler she is Reverend Annie Goodfellow, an evangelical preacher from the Southern US, a strong woman, a bigot and running mate of Donald Trump.
“Annie and I are not the same person – I don’t agree with her, but she’s powerful,” says Renaud.
She points out that by developing a character rather than portraying yourself, you have more control as to how you’ll be perceived, something that doesn’t always happen in real life.
“There are some interesting choices,” she says. “Most women want to be the loud and rude bad ones. Maybe this is reflective of societal oppression of women. If you’re shy in real life, you can let loose with the personality you choose. You can be anything you want and try out different identities.”
In the end, says Renaud, wrestling is the medium for a message that women can make noise and take up space.
She says that she’s seen women grow stronger as they get louder.
“We get together and share common experiences and in the meantime, gain confidence as well.”
This is the league’s fourth fight. Attendance to the fights grows every year. Renaud says they’re all proud of the show and love the community support the league of lady wrestlers receives.
“Everyone has a great time and usually leaves with a smile on their face.”
There is just as much fun to be had at the Ladies Poker Tournament, says Thomas McCabe, director of the tournament. It takes place at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall and started years ago in order for women to play together and not necessarily have the pressure or intimidation of playing with men. The tournament lasts for four to five hours and is no-limit Texas hold ‘em, one of the most popular forms of poker.
Entry fee is $125, which buys a player 500 tournament chips. Each table holds a maximum of 10 players. Once in the game, players are also able to build their pot for an additional $50, but when that’s gone, they can’t buy any more chips.
“It goes until the last woman standing,” says McCabe.
Size of the groups have varied over the years. This year, they’re expecting up to 20 players, mostly from Dawson City and other Yukon communities.
There are lots of regulars, but new players are always welcome, says McCabe.
“It’s a fun introduction to poker.”
The drink of choice during the tournament is mimosas, made up of champagne and orange juice.
“We go through lots of champagne,” says McCabe.
For more information on the League of Lady Wrestlers, go to: www.LeagueofLadyWrestlers.com. Doors open at 7, the fight starts at 8.
For more information on the Ladies Poker Tournament, call 867-993-5575. Participants can sign up that night at 7.