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Lake Oswegan Kate Carney mixes up a mean mocha, and she can also stir up trouble in the ring as a professional wrestler

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswegan Kate Carney is an independent pro wrestler who enjoys bouts throughout the area, including one coming up Nov. 8 in Troutdale.Kate Carney doesn’t usually wear gold lamé to work — at least not for her day job.

But at night and on some weekends, the bright-eyed barista with powerful arms puts on a brightly colored two-piece, sparkly nail polish, dramatic eyeliner and fishnet stockings before climbing into the ring as a professional wrestler.

Don’t let the sweet face and charming trappings fool you — or the skill with which Carney can mix up a latte at Chuck’s Place in downtown Lake Oswego. The 23-year-old lives to take on opponents and can’t resist the thrill of the fight.

“It’s dangerous,” she says of her time in the ring, so she’s mastered the skill of tucking in her chin as soon as the mat comes rushing up at her during a match. “But it’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - By day, Kate Carney works as a barista at Chucks Place in downtown Lake Oswego.Carney usually can be seen at venues throughout the Portland metro area, but recently this LO powerhouse went international. She spent February to July in Paraguay for her role on “Luchando en las Americas,” a national TV show. She was a luchadora, a woman who competes in lucha libre, or free wrestling, a term common in Central America and other Spanish-speaking countries.

“It was absolutely a joy,” Carney says of the experience.

Just like a professional wrestler in the U.S., luchadors or luchadoras might lift, toss or take down an opponent. These fighters tend to possess smaller physiques, and aerial and high-flying moves are popular. They also wear masks, like the one actor Jack Black’s character donned in the eponymous 2006 movie “Nacho Libre.” In the sport’s tradition of stylish garb, he also put on a cape, tights and red shorts.

But as lively and colorful as it seems, pro wrestling can be a bruising sport that requires a lot of finesse. So Carney didn’t just jump into a cool costume one day and pick a fight — she’s been in the pro-wrestling business for two years. Her training involves hefting weights and advancing her technique. The work, for her, is worth it.

“Every time I got in the ring, I just fell more and more in love with it,” she says. “It was all I could think about, all of the time.”

She didn’t intend to join the industry. Carney had a boyfriend whose lifelong dream was to be a pro wrestler, so she accompanied him to DOA Pro Wrestling Academy in Troutdale. Head trainer Brock Kliever saw an opportunity when Carney walked in: Her given name is perfect for the sport, because carnival workers — carnies — are credited with starting pro wrestling. Plus, she’s a strong female.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Pro wrestler Kate Carney takes on opponent Krystal Dye, also a friend of hers, in a recent match.“The head trainer said, ‘You’re a girl,’” Carney says. “’You look athletic. Do you want to try it?’ I said, ‘It sure looks awesome, and I’ll be back next week.’”

When Carney returned, she brought a natural athleticism with her. She started as a dancer at Cleveland High School, making the transition to cheerleader when she attended Southern Oregon University. Cheer and dance aren’t synonymous, but Carney persuaded the coach to let her join — and she worked hard to do her team proud. She says that’s typical, because she takes commitments “very, very seriously.”

It’s the same approach she has to wrestling, and, as an independent contractor, she now finds bouts through not only DOA Pro Wrestling Academy but also West Coast Wrestling Connection, Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling and anywhere else she can.

She loves the bright lights, the roar of a rowdy audience and the satisfaction of a fight well done.

“In wrestling, my biggest goal is to just keep improving,” she says. “I always want to be more proud of the last match I had than the one I had before it.”

Carney’s petite — at 5 feet, four inches, she does get lifted up by bigger opponents quite a bit. But she knows how to take down a larger person, darting around them with the speed of a dancer while getting in plenty of kicks.

“I do a lot of cardio to keep my wind up,” she explains. “That’s the thing with bigger people — you can sustain longer than they can.”

Now Carney wants to up her game and take a stab at wrestling men. She’s already fought most of the women involved in pro wrestling in the area.

“I’ve enjoyed wrestling with them, but I also want to experience new things,” she says.

Her next match is coming up Nov. 8 at DOA Pro Wrestling Academy in Troutdale, and Carney’s dad, Tom Carney, recommends the experience.

“I love going to her matches,” he says. “I’ve seen every one in Portland, but I didn’t go to Paraguay.”

As a wrestler, he says, his daughter “is very determined, and she enjoys herself.”

Plus, the atmosphere is enjoyable.

“It’s fun for the whole family,” Tom Carney says. “Everybody can have a good time. The story lines are great. It’s very exciting.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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