Behind the skates volume 1: Bo Derelict

In this series, we are taking a look at the diverse nature of people roller derby attracts - who they are in their day jobs and what brings them to the sport.

Today, we're talking to Bo Derelict, who joined Duke City Roller Derby last year and quickly sky-rocketed to a coveted spot on the Muñecas Muertas. She jammed for the second half of the All-Star's recent game against West Texas Roller Derby to great success - earning lead jammer more often than not and helping to secure the 205-44 win.

Photo Credit: Jaynie McConnell

Photo Credit: Jaynie McConnell

What is your day job?

I work at UNM’s Center for Teaching and Learning where I am the STEM Program Specialist for the Center for Academic Support (CAPS). Basically, CAPS serves as the learning center for UNM’s undergraduate students. I oversee about 45 tutors who provide academic support to 7,000 students a year for about 50,000 hours.  The tutors I supervise facilitate conversations about content, conduct individual appointments, and lead workshops so students can become independent, lifelong learners. Students who use CAPS statistically graduate faster and with higher GPA’s than other students so we are a meaningful part of many student’s lives.  A large portion of my job is the training and supervision of my tutors, including their professional development, payroll, and managing budget allocations for the three locations I oversee, and helping them navigate the professional world, perhaps for the first time. On top of my day job, I am also completing my PHD in Civil Engineering which will emphasize in housing policy and the impacts/implications of sustainable design policy on affordable housing.

What brought you to roller derby?

I have played sports my entire life and I love being part of a team. When I stopped playing sports competitively, and no longer had to worry about being injured, I wanted to give derby a try. The outright intensity of derby excited me. When I started, I was thrilled to be part of a team again but, perhaps more importantly, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to learn something new around a bunch of seriously amazing, positive, and uplifting women.  If you haven’t gotten the chance to meet the people of DCRD, make sure you do. They are the bee’s knee’s.  

What work do you do in the league?

I am the committee head for Human Resources with DCRD. Basically, I help to make sure that everyone has submitted necessary paperwork to play and is up to date on policies and procedures. I send a lot of emails and ask a lot of questions.

How do you feel that your career has transferred to you as a skater and what you do for the league?

My jobs has a few prongs: a) observing others and making corrective measures to ensure the best outcomes, b) researching, and implementing, best practices, and c) being a support system for fellow staff.  This requires me to be a bit behind the scenes, observant, and rely on a growth mentality with those I supervise and interact with. The fundamentals of my day job transfer to DCRD really well. At practices and games, I observe techniques and methods for gameplay and skills. Behind the scenes I watch games and read blogs to make sure I understand the things I have observed. Having a growth mentality is also very helpful because it reminds me that we all have to start somewhere, and that we have never fully arrived. When I am learning a new skill, or I am having a frustrating practice,  my day job fundamentals come out and it helps me stay positive.

Also, my job is very HR oriented so working DCRD HR isn’t a stretch for me.

How do you balance work and derby and life?

Are Epsom salt, Ibuprofen, and coffee acceptable answers?

Photo Credit: Renee French

Photo Credit: Renee French

To balance work and derby requires scheduling, planning, and dedication.  Derby is a commitment of time and energy. The more time you put in the more you get out of it! So I have to plan out my days and my commitments to make sure I am fulfilling responsibilities across the board.  But at the end of the day, when you love doing something you can make time for it and it doesn’t feel like a balancing act or a sacrifice. And I love this sport.

Posted on April 11, 2017 .

April Spotlight: Smith

Please meet our April Spotlight Member: Smith! They're are a member of -  as well as a coach for -  the Muñecas Muertas for the 2017 season. You've probably seen them sporting red and drab for the Dooms Dames, or even helping with Non-Skating-Official duties at local games. Here, learn a bit more about them.

What is your life like outside of derby?

Really busy! I work full time with an investment company, train twice a week with a personal trainer, and am a parent of four children - two at home, two in school out of state. In addition, I have a spouse I really like spending time with, friends I like playing board games with, a dog I like to take for walks, and bread I like to bake. Oh, and Star Trek and video games to catch up on. Whew.

How did you get involved in roller derby and why?

There was this girl, you see...

Coach Smith, calming their pre-game nerves with a selfie.

Coach Smith, calming their pre-game nerves with a selfie.

I met up with a lady I had a major crush on for a skate night at our local rink, and she encouraged me to come try roller derby. I had been roller skating since I was wee, and was contemplating taking up some kind of skating sport anyway (at that time I thought artistic), so I went. I bought the stuff, and I couldn't stop to save my life, but I went. And then I stayed, because the connection with other strong personalities and the freedom I felt was exactly what I needed right then.

What is your favorite thing about the sport?

The people. No, wait, the endorphins. No! Hittin' %^$!#$@! AHH!

Kind've all of the above. I've met some of the best people I've ever known - including my wonderful spouse -  through this sport. When I'm having one of those days (be it work, kids, dog, whatever), I can always depend on going to practice and skating it off and coming home happy and settled because of the great workout I just had with great people.

How long have you been skating?

For roller derby: this August will be six years. I got my first pair of pink adjustable skates when I was four or five.

You made the DCRD All Star team, the Muñecas Muertas, this year.  What did you do to make this happen?

Mostly this season I am coaching, but I definitely made the roster! I went into the end of season last year with the attitude that 2017 was THE YEAR that I got my skates on the All Stars. So, I hired a personal trainer and started getting really serious about my derby "homework" - I watch a lot of bout footage and read a lot of blogs and ask many annoying questions.

2017 home team opener Photo Credit: Amy V. Marks

2017 home team opener
Photo Credit: Amy V. Marks

Tell us about your roller derby hero.

I really enjoy watching Shaina Serelson (from Victoria) on the track; she has almost supernatural track awareness, and a really amazing ability to move from defense to offense and back in the blink of an eye.

The true derby heroes, however, are those who keep coming back. Those who have never put on skates before and fall just by breathing. Those who don't believe they have an athletic bone in their bodies. They come, they fall, they cry, they feel like they can't - and they bench coach and NSO for us, they're at all of the events, and they keep coming back to practice and keep trying. They are our driving force, and the ones who end up being the true threats on the track - after all it takes for them to pass skills to play there is absolutely no stopping them. They're amazing.

Guest interview by Betty OOP

Posted on March 31, 2017 .

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 .