March Spotlight: Killer Queen

Meet Duke City Roller Derby's March spotlight member, Killer Queen! You probably recognize her as a long time skater for the Muñecas Muertas, as well as from our home bouts. This month, we're going to learn a little bit more about the woman behind the fierce blocking.

So first things first: who are you outside of roller derby?

I am an event planner at a catering company in Santa Fe, Walter Burke Catering. This takes up a huge amount of my energy in the summertime. Beyond that, I am a lover of the Rio Grande and spend as much time as I can on it when not on 8 wheels or at work!

You've been a Disco Brawler for a long time, and this year you're a Dooms Dame. How do you feel about that change, and about facing off against your long time home team?

Well, I have been skating for a really long time! My original home team was the Dooms Dames so I definitely feel a kinship there! Having "created" the Brawlers team, and being a disco lover, I will always have a tremendous amount of affection and loyalty there. Honestly, when I get on the track, I don't see colors, or faces, it's usually just bodies and I could be skating against anyone!

You just got new skates, right? Everyone loves gear! What did you get?

I got Falcon plus plates and Riedell 495 skates. They will take a bit of breaking in and I had to take them to a cobbler to stretch them out, but I am so excited to have them fit my feet like a badass glove.

So that means you're not retiring any time soon, right?

I have been skating for 12 consecutive years. I have so much respect for older skaters that are just starting now at my age of 44. I have often asked myself this question, when should I just hang up my hat? I still feel like a relevant and helpful skater to the travel team and my home team. So, no plans for retiring any time soon. Roller derby brings so much to my life that no other thing possibly could. I see skaters in their 50's kicking butt! There is no clear end in sight for me. I am an addict!

Photo Credit: Jamelyn Ebelacker

Photo Credit: Jamelyn Ebelacker

Is there something unique about you as a skater?

Well, I once had someone tell me that I seemed to put down roots when I skated. Which was always a really interesting concept to me. It's not that I never fall! But I like the idea of sinking into the earth a little for stability and strength.

And of course we have to know - what's the best taco filling?

Derby taco: the thickest, juiciest, opponent that fights back, and I still win!

Edible taco: El Parasol up here (Santa Fe) makes the best veggie tacos. I am not a vegetarian but these are to die for. Mushed up broccoli, potato, spices, avocado, and then they deep fry the whole thing and serve it with the hottest red salsa ever. YUM!

Make sure to check out our season schedule to see Killer Queen in action this year!

Posted on March 1, 2017 .

Happy Valentine's Day from Duke City Roller Derby!

Team White: first scrimmage of the season. Photo: Amy V. Marks

Team White: first scrimmage of the season.
Photo: Amy V. Marks

It's that time of year - the stores are littered with red and pink teddy bears, flowers, and chocolates; the radio and television commercials for jewelry have gotten even more insistent that your special gal really deserves a tennis bracelet; and children are coming home with class lists for their sweetheart parties. Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is a holiday that doesn't pass by unnoticed.

In the spirit of the season, Duke City Roller Derby would like to celebrate and profess our undying love to ourselves and our sport. We asked some of our members what they love about roller derby and our league culture, and here are some of the answers we received:

Ivy A. Nightmare and TamTrum before scrimmage.

Ivy A. Nightmare and TamTrum before scrimmage.

"The sisterhood of amazing strong women/skaters!"

"Strong players who support each other to grow!"

"I love how we listen to and respect each other, on and off the track. "

"I love how many of my teammates are similarly obsessed with cats, science, and tacos. "

"They always push you to do better because they know you can. "

"DCRD accepts me exactly as I am, regardless of how accepting I feel about myself."

"Some of the best friends I have made that I can't imagine life without!"

Team Black: first scrimmage of the season. Photo: Amy V. Marks

Team Black: first scrimmage of the season.
Photo: Amy V. Marks

Roller derby, as we all know, isn't just about skating fast, turning left, and hittin' @$%!es. It's about community, respect, and helping each other find the strength to keep going when you don't think you can anymore - and that sounds a lot like true love to me.

Thank you for being our Valentine, DCRD.


Posted on February 13, 2017 .

February Spotlight: Swearin'Marie

Duke City Roller Derby is back for the 2017 season! To kick off our year, meet our February spotlight member, Swearin'Marie. You've probably seen her jamming, blocking, and dancing as one of our favorite HoBots at our home bouts. Swearin'Marie also skates with our all-star travel team, the Muñecas Muertas.

How did you come to roller derby?

Photo credit: Zak Rutledge

Photo credit: Zak Rutledge

I was helping my boyfriend Zak (now husband) with a local Zine that was doing a story on Duke City Derby. I shot the photos at a scrimmage and fell in love with the sport.

Can you tell us about your name?

I have always had a potty mouth and one day I was in the car with Zak cussing up a storm at traffic. He looked at me and said, "You should be Swearin'Marie instead of Aaron Marie!" And that's how I got my name.

How long have you been skating?

Since 2009

You've been with DCRD for a long time! Can you tell us about the work you've done with the league?

I have been the art director for DCRD since I passed skills in 2010. Zak and I revamped many of the logos we use for the league today. In 2013 we re-branded the league with a new logo and website.

One of the many wonderful posters Swearin'Marie has created for the league. Credit: Aaron Marie Rutledge

One of the many wonderful posters Swearin'Marie has created for the league.
Credit: Aaron Marie Rutledge

Do you have any pre-bout rituals?

I get up super early and go for a walk.

What does your life outside of roller derby look like?

I am an artist, mother, wife and shift leader at Rebel Donut.

You are a very strong all around player - seemingly switching between jamming and blocking with ease. Do you feel an affinity for one role more than another?

I love to jam but I feel like I am better at blocking (...but I really love to jam.) I guess my best position is pivot. I do pretty well at that role because I get a chance to jam in emergency situations.  

Photo credit: Zak Rutledge

Photo credit: Zak Rutledge

What is your favorite derby story?

Any story that involves Leddy. But one of my favs is when she threw up at Dust Devil 2013. She stashed a barf bag in her boobs for the rest of the tournament. Priceless. 

What advice do you have - not just for new skaters, but also skaters who have been around for awhile and are looking to up their level of play?

Keep an open mind because this game is constantly in flux. Learn new things whenever you can.

Posted on February 2, 2017 .

Off-Season in the Duke City.

We all know that playing roller derby isn't always JUST about skatin' and hittin'. There are a lot of little nuts and bolts that are required to make practices and bouts happen. That can be tiring - especially when you consider that the skaters do all the work themselves, in addition to training and their normal "Day Jobs" and family lives.

"Our season is 10 months long, and I've just finished my 7th season. This means that for 7 years I have spent an average of 3 days each week at practice, 44 weeks per year. During the season, I spend at minimum 25 hours a month on league work, 20 hours at practice, 16 hours commuting, and 15 hours cross-training." - Leigh Featherstone, Muñecas Muertas captain.

Kell's Inferno rakes a mess of leaves; it's much more of a workout than you think!

Kell's Inferno rakes a mess of leaves; it's much more of a workout than you think!

A lot of skaters look forward to off-season for this very reason - a chance to sit for a few weeks and not have to drive any further than the nearest grocery store. Whether it's families that miss us, illness, or just straight up fatigue, November is always greeted with a sort of sigh of relief.

"The first week or so I take a complete break from exercise. I'm always amazed at how much inflammation goes down during this time."
 - Leigh Featherstone

Some skaters just don't stop: "I change things up by focusing on strength training, specifically during off season." - Harley Darlin'

A number of skaters also look to this time of the year to recuperate their bodies and prepare for the next season.

Leigh Featherstone killin' it with a strong clean.

Leigh Featherstone killin' it with a strong clean.

"I get to work on strength training because it's harder to build muscle during the season. I make it to an Olympic lifting gym 3 or 4 days per week and follow the program designed by my weightlifting coach. I also spend time to make sure my muscles are working correctly, especially with pre-hab exercises for my ankles and glutes." - Leigh Featherstone

Gwynn the Gremlin, a skater who joined DCRD mid-season, says, "I've been going to the gym consistently. Building some [strength to my arms and legs] and core. Also doing cardio. It should help me at least get contact cleared early in the new year if anything."

"I am doing off season strength training.  Mondays I meet with a trainer and we do arms. Tuesday and Thursday nights I do an hour long boot camp that involves strength training as well as endurance. Wednesday I am back with my trainer doing leg work.  He actually has me put my skates on the last 15 minutes and he has me do a variety of pushing & hitting drills.  Finally there is a Saturday am boot camp." - Harley Darlin'

Skela-Laur engaging beast mode.

Skela-Laur engaging beast mode.

Some of us have things we're looking for specifically. SkelaLaur, who is entering her fourth season, has a workout with the goal of building overall strength and muscle mass. She achieves this by "...lifting heavy; doing squats, cleans, and bench, adding other weightlifting to complement these lifts, like back (upper and lower), triceps, biceps, and hamstring work. I lift like this 2-3 times per week."

There is an amazing group of newer skaters who spend every spare moment hitting Bosque trails with their skates, the local skating rink, and just generally chatting about how to retain everything they learned this year and carry it over into the next.

TermiSkater takes a breather on a long trail skate.

TermiSkater takes a breather on a long trail skate.

"I like lifting heavy but I tried to focus on doing less weight and more reps. I've also been working on balance by incorporating plyometric-like exercises between lifting reps." - Black Mamba

Tylina LaCochina and Black Mamba getting ready to crush the gym.

Tylina LaCochina and Black Mamba getting ready to crush the gym.

Black Mamba and Marie Furie also state that they've been doing plenty of wall sits during every day activities like brushing teeth, planks, and enjoying time at the local skate park.

Whatever you do - even if that's nothing at all - we at Duke City hope you are enjoying your off-season and have caught up on Gilmore Girls.

"The best part of the off-season? I binge watch movies and television I haven't had time for in months. " - Leigh Featherstone.

Posted on December 23, 2016 .

October Spotlight: Ima Hazard

Meet Duke City Roller Derby’s October spotlight member, Ima Hazard! Hazard has been with DCRD for two seasons. You may have seen her playing on the Hobots home team (or subbing in for the Dooms Dames!), running Saturday afternoon newbie practice, or hooking up DCRD with community projects! 

Posted on October 21, 2016 .

August Spotlight: Fowl Play

Meet Duke City Roller Derby's August spotlight member, Fowl Play! You've probably seen Fowl Play jam reffing at Duke City bouts and helping out at junior and newbie practices. You may also know him as spouse of Duke City's well-known skater, ref, and coach, and August '15 spotlight member, Doom Dee Doom.

Posted on August 26, 2016 .

June Spotlight: David Reed

Meet Duke City Roller Derby’s June Spotlight Member, David Reed! David is our league Head Official, and just celebrated his first derby-versary. You can usually find him officiating in a pink NSO shirt at bouts, or wrangling new volunteers at our weekly scrimmages.

Posted on June 21, 2016 .

May 28 Doubleheader Preview

Duke City’s second home event of the year is this Saturday, May 28 at the Heights Community Center. This is an outdoor event, so be sure to bring your sunscreen! The vendor village will feature a number of local businesses including Gatos Y Galletas and Sister Bar. Food truck TFK Smokehouse will be on site, and junior derby skaters from The Marionettes will host a bake sale.

Posted on May 25, 2016 .

May Spotlight: Hearno Evil

How did you get involved with roller derby? 

I came to know roller derby while I was directing a camp for deaf/hard of hearing children through the Lions Club and my co-director was actually starting up roller derby in Las Cruces with her best friend. She encouraged me to come and watch a practice. I went and watched their practices, immediately fell in love, and began saving up to buy my first pair of skates.

Posted on May 20, 2016 .