Imagine yourself in a vat about 7 ft x 7 ft of cold blue/green/orange colored jello, wrestling another human being, in front of a wild crowd of about 400 adults. Well, that was the enthusiastic performance of 9 teams last night at the Slaughterhouse on 1102 W. Grant Rd. (east of the I-10) for the 27th annual Jell-O Wrestling event to benefit SAAF (So. AZ Aids Foundation).
Before and during the matches, little containers (“jello shots”) of lime/orange/strawberry/blackberry jello (with vodka or rum) were sold to the audience. I confess I had at least 3 of them. The fun began with Mistress of Ceremonies DIVA Lucinda Holliday introducing other Divas (including Miss Gay Arizona) who sang throughout the evening, while people donated funds in plastic buckets or fishing nets to SAAF. 9 different teams of two each wrestled from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. along with a live auction of lovely art, gift baskets, restaurant meals, and hotel nights in Mexico. The auctions bids ranged from $20 to $1000, and it was announced that over $50,000 was raised last night.
SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks just informed me that the final figure raised was over $56,000.
Since this was my first Jell-o wrestling event, I had gone to see friend Mia Hansen (“Mighty Mia”) of FEATsAZ take on Kurt Tallis aka Kaptain “Krunch” Kurt of 4th Avenue fame. Kurt came dressed as a pirate while Mia was dressed like Wonder Woman (with a Ron Barber bumper sticker taped on her behind). After a rambunctious wrestling match in which Kurt lifted Mia on his shoulders at least twice, she was able to subdue him for a win.
Other wrestlers were creatively dressed as male gladiators, female gladiators, men in kilts, black tux & black gown, Harry Potter vs. Voldemort, Lost Boys (one in a hula skirt) arriving on motorcycles, and roller derby women contestants. SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks and Ben’s Bells Executive Director Jeannette Mare were dressed as long haired rock stars prior to the match, then wrestled to a tie, according to the referee.
I sat next to two gay friends who recently got married in California. Coincidentally they told me that they had met a jello wrestling match 12 years ago here in Tucson. How romantic. Former Mayor Bob Walkup and his wife Beth were sponsors of this event and in attendance. The long red AIDS Ribbon was also displayed and carried around the wrestling ring, with soulful guitar music to remember those who have passed on. One lucky winner won the raffle of 2 tickets to see Britney Spear in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood.
This event was truly the extravaganza it was advertised to be. Seeing is believing, and if you haven’t been to one of these jello wrestling benefits, make sure you attend the 28th annual one next Spring. This benefit was started by Tucsonan Reno Gannon to raise awareness of AIDS/HIV. He died at the young age of 23 from AIDS. He would have been very pleased to hear how much money was raised last night, and also how much fun people had at this benefit in support of SAAF.
More photos of the wrestling matches promised by T-Media Promotion, www.tmediapromotion.com, so stay tuned.