Roller derby girls returnNearly 30 hard-nosed derby girls from around the region will be here Saturday for big-blocks and hip-checks as roller derby returns to Wilson Arena.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Nearly 30 hard-nosed derby girls from around the region will be here Saturday for big-blocks and hip-checks as roller derby returns to Wilson Arena.
This isn’t the roller derby of the 1970s, but rather flat track roller derby. Today women compete in a different sport and are called “derby girls” when they enter the track.
Teams are comprised of jammers, blockers and pivots. Each team has a jammer as both teams skate around on a flat track. The jammer has to get through the pack, passing the opposing team’s blockers and pivots to score points.
Any contact from hands, elbows, feet or the head is illegal. Contact above the shoulders or below the mid-thigh is also illegal.
“Seeing women in an aggressive sport is pretty exciting,” said Jen Kross, a Buff City Brawler who skates under the name RocZ Camaro. “The girls are out there having a good time but they’re really competitive and they want to win — and its action and there are not a lot of sports you play on quad skates.”
Saturday’s bout is a mixer as derby girls will come from five different squads, including Jamestown. There will be skaters from Minot, Bismarck/Mandan, Aberdeen, S.D., and Rock Island, Ill.
Buff City Brawlers have competed in mixers in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Devils Lake and Grand Rapids, Minn.
“It’s a sport that was restarted by the skaters. It’s not something that’s being put on by a promoter,” said Kara Paiement, who skates under the name KarrahhVette for the Buff City Brawlers. “We do all of the behind-the-scenes jobs by ourselves, and you can see the amount of effort it takes to skate and keep going and there’s true athleticism in it.”
The eight women who make up the Buff City Brawlers will be putting on the event Saturday at Wilson Arena as well as skating in it. Referees and volunteers will also be on hand to help.
As the team enters its third year in existence in Jamestown it is growing, but more skaters mean more bouts. This will be the only bout in Jamestown unless the team continues to grow.
“Our newest skaters have an amazing amount of determination to get in and get to know derby and do their best,” Paiement said.
So what does it take to be a derby girl? Both Paiement and Kross said it takes a competitive drive. Skate skills aren’t initially required because those can be taught, they said.
Body type doesn’t matter either, they said.
“I have seen women of every body type — to very petite, to fairly large — be amazing derby players,” Paiement said. “The thing it takes most to be a good derby player is commitment and determination.”
Derby girls also range in age by about 20 years, and come from different backgrounds.
“Along with being roller derby girls we’re wives and mothers and employees and have a few other things on our plate as well,” Paiement said.
A business woman, North Dakota National Guard member, student and a church employee all are members of the Buff City Brawlers. Anyone interested is encouraged to ask how to get involved.
This year’s bout also has a theme: “Bully Beat Down.”
Derby girls here will try to raise awareness for a serious problem in schools across the country.
“We choose as derby players to hit hard on the track and be tough, but we don’t think anyone should have to put up with that in their day-to-day life,” Paiement said. “No one should have to feel oppressed or that they’re not as important as somebody else.”
The first 100 fans through the door will get anti-bullying bracelets.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with the bout festivities starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door for adults. There is a $2 discount for students and military personnel. Tickets for 14 and under are $5 and under 5 are free.
Tickets are available at the north Stop-N-Go, at The Buff, the Jamestown Parks and Recreation office or from any derby girl.
There will also be an area sectioned off for adults who wish to consume alcoholic beverages.
“They should expect to watch a fun, fast-paced game that is full of strategy once you get to know it,” Paiement said. “Kids love it, adults love there it, definitely fun for all ages.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com