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Whole Lot a Shakin' Goin' on

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THE LIGHTS PULSATE. THE MUSIC POUNDS SUGGESTIVELY. THE women—several hundred—wait expectantly. Then, as Rod Stewart’s Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? weaves its lusty magic, six male dancers bounce onstage—and we do mean bounce. Each is shirtless, wearing only a bow tie and collar, a pair of white cuffs and black pants. They are showing a lot of skin—some of it draping over their waistbands. Swept away by all this untrammeled virility, one woman rushes forward and stuffs a dollar bill into a dancer’s pants. As the music soars, the men belly-bump and grind, shake and shimmy. Let the rest of the world have hunks. Albuquerque, N.Mex., boasts the one, the only, the meaty, “beaty,” big and bouncy…Chunkendales!

Originally conceived last June as a station promotion gag by local disc jockey Phil Sisneros, 39, the Chunks, who all have day jobs, were an overnight overweight success in their hometown and have since attracted national attention. Sisneros, 5’8″ and 240 lbs., says the idea struck him when his station, KKOB-FM, was promoting an appearance by the somewhat better-known Chippendale male dancers. “I said, ‘How many of you gals want to see what real men look like?’ ” he recalls. “And the phones rang off the hook. So I asked the guys, ‘Are there any real men out there interested in joining the Chunkendales?’ I set a 220-lb. minimum.” A dozen wannabes volunteered, and Sisneros chose the four flabbiest.

The troupe made its debut at the American Rock Cafe, an Albuquerque nightclub, where hundreds of women had to be turned away. After that show, the dancers donated $1,200 in tips to a local children’s hospital, and appearances at several other charity benefits followed. “We’re not promoting obesity,” says Sisneros, whose nom de danse, the Trailer, was inspired by his fondness for fishing. “We’re big guys and we’re having fun.”

Not joining the fun is Robert Isenberg, an attorney representing the Chippendales organization, who has sent a letter complaining of trademark infringement. “I can’t believe that the Chippendales would feel threatened by six fat guys from Albuquerque doing stuff for charity,” says Sisneros. But Chunkendale Dave “Boom Boom” Riley, 40, a tax consultant by day, is not surprised by the fuss or the female attention. After all, he observes, “Why settle for a Chip when you can have a Chunk?”