Photo by Bobby DealAs U.S. troops engaged in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces Saturday, Jim "Poorman" Trenton filmed his "Bikini Brigade"—a dozen professional swimsuit and glamour models—wrestling in the sand at his Newport beachfront home. The "Battle Royale" was for Trenton's TV show, Poorman's Bikini Beach. Poorman is nothing if not a self-promoter, and he says his show is "the most popular" on KDOC, which is completely believable, given the network's normal reruns of Perry Mason, Charles in Charge and Hot Seat with Wally George.
Before a festive and somewhat-juiced crowd of beachgoers and surfers, the bikini girls wrestled one another simultaneously in a 20-foot-diameter sand ring. Any girl pinned for three seconds had to leave the ring.
"All I can say is I hope you have a plastic surgeon on call," one artificially endowed wrestler told Trenton shortly before the match. "We don't need any poppage."
The match went on for almost an hour—prolonged more by breaks to re-tie bikini tops than by sustained action. The exhausted winner went home with a trophy, some scratches and $150.
We asked a few of the models and attendant "celebrities" what they thought of holding the match at the same time war was raging in Iraq.
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Dalene Kurtis, 25, Los Angeles
2002 Playboy Playmate of the Year/trophy presenter
"I thought this was going to be a bikini contest. To be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't have come out for this. But to each his own." Brenna, 20, San Diego
Bikini Brigade wrestler/fashion student
"We need it because everyone is so concerned with the war. It's good to spend a fabulous day in the sun and celebrate life. It's a positive thing. I'd rather do this than be glued to the TV. You never know: this could be our last day out in the sun, so you'd better enjoy it." Greg Vaughan, 29, Los Angeles
Portrays "Lucky" on General Hospital
"As Americans, we are so fortunate to have so many freedoms. We're fighting right now over there to give them the power to express their opinions. Many just can't watch TV anymore—the war's on 24/7, but this kind of breaks up that atmosphere. It gives people clarity. But I think about [the troops]; I think they're the real heroes, over there doing what needs to be done." Kari Kroll, 24, West Hollywood
Bikini Brigade wrestler/dancer
"This probably doesn't seem to be the most appropriate thing to do, but our people are over there fighting for other people's freedoms. Life goes on. I'm thinking about the war, but we have to go about our lives." Deanna Merryman, "over 25," Los Angeles
Bikini Brigade wrestler/glamour model
"I think there should be more sand wrestling. But let's throw in some chocolate or caramel sauce or whipped cream so it's not so painful. I was the first to drop out [of the match] because I have a major photo shoot next week, and I didn't want to get injured."