Go Play: Grand Junction Roller Girls look for fresh meat
WHAT: Grand Junction Roller Girls vs. Project Mayhem bout
WHEN: 12 p.m., Sunday, July 6
WHERE: Spin City, 637 24 1/2 Road, Grand Junction
COST: $10 per person
DERBY BOUT BASICS
Thirty-minute halfs are broken down into shifts called jams.
The front eight players are called a pack and blockers.
Two players behind the pack are called jammers. The jammers try to skate their way through the pack to reach the other side.
Once the jammers skate through the pack the first time, they are ready to begin scoring. They score a point when they legally pass a member of the opposing team.
The team with the most points wins.
Illegal passes earn times in the penalty box and no point.
Illegal passes include elbows, tripping, back blocking and passing out of bounds.
The jam ends when the lead jammer places hands on her hips or two minutes have passed. Thirty seconds later, the two-minute jam starts again
SOURCE: Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
Bumps, bruises, scrapes, fast skating, and body slams — to be a derby girl, it takes more than a tough outer layer. It also takes heart and passion.
For Grand Junction Roller Girls, membership is more than being on a team. It’s like joining a family (and you even get a dangerous-sounding nickname).
“The derby community is very supportive from everywhere,” Grand Junction Roller Girls member Holly Corbin (aka Sweet GougeYa Peaches) said. “It’s not just about competition.”
If you are part of one derby team, you’re connected to all of them, she added. For instance, Montrose recently started a derby team and Grand Junction Roller Girls “are going over to help them out.
“It’s a niche and the roller derby way.”
Check out their grit and valor at an upcoming bout (match between two teams) scheduled for Sunday, July 6, at Spin City (637 24 1/2 Road, Grand Junction). The event starts at noon against Project Mayhem from Denver. Admission costs $10 per person.
“Come out, watch for the first time and enjoy it,” another Grand Junction Roller Girls member Alicia Mitchell (aka Puncho Villa) said.
Upcoming bouts will help the Grand Junction Roller Girls team gain affiliation with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is like “the NFL of roller derby,” Mitchell said. The team formed in 2010.
THE DERBY GIRL WAY
According to Corbin, Grand Junction Roller Girls are always recruiting new teammates, referees and coaches. Their roster includes women, ages ranging between 20 and 40, from all walks of life — from nurses to mechanics to students. Roller derby rules dictate 14 girls can make up a team; Grand Junction Roller Girls currently have 16 members.
Grand Junction Roller Girls practice on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in Canyon View Park at the roller hockey rink. The City of Grand Junction recently painted a track for them. Cost to be part of the team includes gear, travel, and $20 monthly league dues.
Mitchell, who works as KAFM Community Radio’s music director, joined the team in March. She’s also a shop technician at Western Colorado Conservation Corps of Partners. Corbin, an outdoor education student at Colorado Mesa University, started skating with the team in November 2012.
“We are a very open group,” Corbin said. “It’s a great thing to be a part of.”
Prospective derby girls don’t need to skate well to join the team. Both Corbin and Mitchell said they learned after joining.
“We started crawling on the ground at first,” Mitchell said.
Other skills learned during practice include how to stop, fall, and work around a tight group of players. Another way to learn the rules of the game is to start as a non-skating official.
“It’s a fun dichotomy thing —come wear a tutu, but hit each other and have a cute name and play on words,” Corbin said.
Grand Junction Roller Girls regularly compete against other derby teams located throughout western Colorado and eastern Utah, including Moab, Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Eagle.
For more information, visit http://www.grandjunctionrollergirls.com.
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