October Spotlight: Fighting Girlfriend

As our season at Duke City Roller Derby comes to a close, we're celebrating with a skater who has served as co-captain, jammer, blocker, and story-teller extraordinaire. Join us as we learn more about everyone's favorite "blammer" (and tank!), Fighting Girlfriend.

Image credit: Pelvis Chestly

Image credit: Pelvis Chestly

Your derby name sparks a lot of conversations - tell us about that?

Fighting Girlfriend was the name of a tank that was driven by a Soviet woman named Mariya Oktyabrskaya during World War II. She got to name the tank because, after her husband died in the war, she sold everything she had, bought a T-34 tank, and donated it to the Red Army. She asked if she could please drive the tank and if she could call it Fighting Girlfriend. She was pretty much allowed to do so as a publicity stunt, but she was also AWESOME at tank driving, and was quickly promoted to Sergeant. She ended up getting the Hero of the Soviet Union award, which is their highest military honor. (I love talking about her, and other WWII stories, so hit me up, everybody!)

I like to say that tanks are my spirit animal, because they’re strong and heavy and unstoppable. It kind of matches my derby style—I tend to power through instead of going around, and I’m really bad at jumping.  

"Science," or "SCIENCE!"? What's your day job? 

I’m a mechanical engineer. I spent four years working on nuclear reactors for the Navy. Now I run hazard analyses and risk assessments for DoE experiments here in Albuquerque. I get to work with particle accelerators and wind turbines, so that’s neat. I’m SLOWLY working on a master’s degree in Systems Engineering. I’m obsessed with space, and octopuses, and alternative energy. Science!

 

You played hockey for ten years. Can you tell us how that's influenced your derby style and perhaps some of the not-so-obvious challenges in changing from inline skates to quads?

It took me a while to figure out that in derby, stopping is just as important and often much more important than going the fastest. And of course, stopping in quad skates is completely different than stopping in inline skates, so that was a learning curve. I’m right-handed, so as a hockey player I was always leaning to the right. Playing flat track derby and skating counter-clockwise means that now I’m always leaning to the left. I joke that I’m trying to straighten out my back from all those years playing hockey, but honestly? Whenever we do reverse-direction drills, my back immediately starts aching, so maybe there’s some truth to all that.

Image credit: M.A.L. Photography

Image credit: M.A.L. Photography

Who is your derby idol and why?

I love many roller derby athletes, but Freight Train is my current favorite. She’s so strong and so fast. It’s incredibly exciting to see her smash into people! She also starts jams by standing straight up on the line until the whistle blows. You don’t see a lot of other jammers doing that, and it inspires me because the old derby mantra of “get lower” isn’t true for all situations. We’re all different skaters!

I also love all these jammers-turned-pivots that are playing for highly-ranked teams. Any big strong lady who is great at blocking and also great at jamming, who can take a star pass and complete scoring laps, who forces the lead jammer to call it because she’s such a threat as a backup jammer is so inspiring. They are such assets to their teams.

 

You've been a core jammer for the Muñecas, but you're also a very skilled blocker. Do you have a preference for one over the other?

The positions are so different and lovely in their own ways. I love flinging my body against my opponents as a jammer. I love thinking of the opposing blockers as points, and problem-solving to collect points for my team. I love feeling unstoppable. I especially love knocking people over! But I also love feeling like a big, strong, immovable mountain as a blocker. There’s something very meaningful about literally holding my friends up on their feet, or taking a hit to give my jammer an opportunity to escape. When blockers lose an opposing jammer, they’ve got about ten seconds to reset, adjust, and face her again, and that fast turnaround between “failure” and another attempt is difficult but very satisfying. In either position, it’s possible to have big, obvious victories, but sometimes you also have to search for small successes when the game gets tough. I just love everything about roller derby, and I’ll play any position I can for as long as I can!

Image credit:  Fighting Girlfriend

Image credit:  Fighting Girlfriend

Can you tell me about your cats?

I have a big, young, black cat named Katniss Everdeen (derby name Join the Blockingjay, #D13) and a small, old, tabby cat named Mommy Cat (derby name Whozya Mama, #004). Katniss is tougher, but oh man does Mommy have a devastating game face. I’m a pretty new cat owner—I’ve only had them both for about a year and a half, but I’m obsessed with them, obviously.

Photo credit: Naughta Stalker

Photo credit: Naughta Stalker

 

 

Which part of roller derby is your favorite?

My favorite thing about roller derby is that it’s so different from the mindset that our culture trains women to adopt. Rolling out onto the track with the intention to take up spaceand not let anyone shove you around is an immediate reversal from most situations women experience. Working out with the goal of making my body stronger for myself and for my teammates, as opposed to making my body nicer-looking and more acceptable to society, is brain-changing. I like saying that roller derby is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, because it’s true!

My second-favorite thing is that roller derby really is a sport for all kinds of body types. One of the first derby lessons I learned was DO NOT make assumptions about people’s abilities based on who they are or how they look: I’ve met tiny women who can knock me down, large women who fly past me in a race, and much older or much younger women with the skills of my dreams. I love that people of all types and backgrounds can succeed in our sport. 

 

What is your favorite derby story?

In 2016 at the Classic City Crush in Athens, Georgia, the Muñecas played four games, more than any other team at the event. We kept winning, but the games got progressively harder. Our final game was the last of the weekend, against the home team, and it was close, and we were exhausted. We figured we had one jam left, and we were up by seven. It was my turn to jam, but my teammate Meep Meep had been on fire all weekend, so I asked her if she wanted the last jam. She said, “Nah, you got this.” I got lead, got a track cut for cutting my own teammates, went to the box thinking I’d lost the game, and finished what had become a two-minute jam. We won by ten. All of the exhaustion and emotions of the weekend hit me at once and I skated back to the bench, just WEEPING, and we all shared a big, mushy, sweaty, boogery, gross group hug. The opportunity to finish the game as a first-season jammer meant the world to me, and I was so relieved that I hadn’t blown it!

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Posted on October 20, 2017 .

September Spotlight: Krraken

After a hectic July of traveling to Athens, Georgia for Classic Crush and then Las Vegas, Nevada for RollerCon, we've returned with a new Spotlight Member: Krraken! If you've been to our games this season, you've probably seen her blowing through walls like rum through a pirate, scoring not just points, but also multiple MVP awards - all in her very first season!

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Tell me how you found roller derby?

I have actually wanted to get into playing roller derby for a while. It's always been in the back of my mind, but I never knew how to get involved/ where to start. Earlier this year I mentioned the idea to one of my co-workers (Banshee) and I happened to google roller derby, and alas Duke City was having a Bootcamp that same weekend. It was super last minute, but we both registered and showed up to the Bootcamp the next day! 

You were chosen as MVP in your very first game - how did that feel?

It honestly felt surreal - I was not expecting that outcome at all (especially for being my first bout, just three months after starting skating.) It was encouraging for me to know that these people had seen potential in me. It made me want to train harder and continue developing my skills, to really learn and understand the game and get better at it!

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Our announcer loves to shout, "Release the Krraken!" when you jam. Can you hear him? Does it make you laugh?

If you couldn't already tell from the huge cheese-ball smile on my face when I'm jamming, the answer is yes.

Image credit: Selfie!

Image credit: Selfie!

I know you're fairly new to the Albuquerque area. What was the biggest challenge or culture shock you've faced?

Moving to New Mexico from New York was a culture shock at first for sure. I don't know if I would call it challenging, just different. I do miss how green NY is, the seasons, and being near water. Also everything is much slower here.

On that note, I'm obligated to ask: Red or Green?


I've grown to appreciate both red and green chile, really depending on what I have it with - and even sometimes "Christmas". 

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

July Spotlight: Black Mamba

This month, we're celebrating one of our newer skaters, Black Mamba. Join me as we learn more about her!

Tell us about your name: are you really a deadly snake?

Quentin Tarantino's movies are some of my favorites. I enjoy the strong female characters he bases some of his movies on. Black Mamba is played by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Her character is just so rad and amazing. In the movie, it is also explained how deadly Black Mambas are. I wanted to embody that on the track. My derby wife showed me a documentary about Black Mambas and they ARE a totally amazing species!

You do some pretty important work outside of derby. Do you mind telling us about that?

Sure! I don't mind at all, but this is going to be lengthy.
I am a Permanency Planning Worker for the Children, Youth, and Families Department. A social worker basically. Once the case has been investigated and the child(ren) is taken into custody, the case comes to me. I am responsible for the child's safety as their Legal Guardian. I conduct monthly home visits at their foster homes and address any issues. I am also responsible for getting the biological parents to engage in their treatment plans in order to gain back custody. I create their treatment plans based on the allegations and causes and conditions that brought the child(ren) into care. This may look like going to substance abuse groups, domestic violence counseling, submitting random drug screenings, participating in visitations with the child(ren), etc. Each case is individually specific and special. I may have to visit parents at the Metropolitan Detention Center. I may have to move a child into a treatment foster home if they disrupt from a regular foster placement. I may have to travel to other states to visit children in custody that now live out of state. Some parents go completely M.I.A and I have to find a way to track them down. I've had to hold a child who ran at me freaking out after seeing her mother for the first time in months and being completely afraid of her. Only she knows the trauma she has been through as she is only 2 years old--too young to verbalize her trauma. Did I mention I am the Legal Guardian to 18 children? I carry 14 cases at the moment. I also go to court. A lot. I prepare court documents reflecting the progress (mostly lack of) that the parents are making toward gaining back custody. I've seen a lot and do a lot for these kids each day.

How did it feel to be invited to join the Muñecas Muertas after just a few months in the sport?

FREAKIN' AMAZING!!! My teammates have, and continue to believe in me and support me at each practice, game, and scrimmage. It was an extremely pleasant and positively overwhelming surprise!

We're hoping you'll have a long derby career with many exciting stories to tell. So far, though, what is your best derby moment or memory?

Thank you! I plan on sticking around for a looong while.  It's so hard to choose. My favorite moment so far is definitely when I was drafted on to the Muñecas Muertas. One of my favorite memories is also when I attended the WinTour camp with a few of my league mates and they told me that they were talking about how much it seemed I had progressed in just a few months. Y'all are so awesome! And well, of course, I got to swoon over Scald Eagle, Brawn Swanson, and Lady Trample.

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Image credit: Abuko D. Estrada

Posted on July 12, 2017 .

June Spotlight: Clips

This month, we're happy to kick off summer with June Spotlight member, Clips. She's the captain of the Disco Brawlers, skater for the Muñecas Muertas, and all around cool person.

You have been playing with home teams for awhile, and this year you've been drafted to the Muñecas Muertas. What do you find different between the types of teams?

Image Credit: Ani Burkett

Image Credit: Ani Burkett

I really love playing against people outside my home league! At home team games, we all know how one another plays and the common moves of those skaters.  Playing against new skaters is challenging as you have to adapt to a brand new playing style. It has made me more conscientious of “tells" and paying closer attention to specific players during the game both on and off the track.  I’ve played in a lot of mashup games over the years and I think that has helped me become more comfortable playing at the travel team level.

You are also the captain of a home team, the Disco Brawlers. How are you enjoying that role?

I love my Brawlers! They have made captaining so much fun and they roll with all of my new ideas.  I am seriously happy to have every one of the them on my team.  It has been great!

Image Credit: Soozi Bercerra

Image Credit: Soozi Bercerra

Follow-up: what are some of the challenges of captaining a home team?

Not to brag about how amazing my team is, but they’ve made the managing aspects of my job really easy.  There’s a Picasso quote in which he said, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” I guess that is my challenge.  I know the rules of roller derby, but learning the exact wording and intent of the rules is really helpful for official reviews.

What is your favorite derby story?

Image Credit: Soozi Bercerra

Image Credit: Soozi Bercerra

This is so hard!  There are so many funny stories that I have from roller derby.  One time I caught Big Wheels by the face - that was pretty great.  There was a pretty epic trip to White Sands, too!  Let’s go with the most family-friendly story, and the one that will earn me wife points! A few years ago, I played in a co-ed mashup in Amarillo and played against my husband.  We can get kind of competitive with each other, but we had so much fun and it continues to be one of my favorite games!

And finally, who are you when you're not on your skates?

I teach Art History and Humanities courses at CNM and online at Southern New Hampshire University.  The two subjects have a lot in common so I find that I’m pushing art on everyone!  I mainly try to teach survey courses and courses that present art created before the Renaissance, but I love teaching all of it! I’ve studied oral stories, preserved altarpieces made in medieval Spain, and the connection between cultural identity and lowriders, so the survey courses allow me to introduce a wider variety of arts in my classes.  I spent a bit of time in Rome, so Ancient Rome and the Renaissance brings back some really fun memories.

I’ve learned to tell my students that I play roller derby after a few students stayed after class because they were concerned about me showing up with bruises all over my arms.  Those might have been the sweetest students ever, but it totally made me laugh.

I also have tons of pets…or maybe just 5.

Posted on June 7, 2017 .

May Spotlight: Kell's Inferno

This month, we're re-introducing Kell's Inferno as our May Spotlight member. You may remember her previous featured appearance on this blog, in December of 2015 - now we have some follow up questions!

Taking a star pass in the last Disco Brawlers vs. Dooms Dames home game, May 2017 Image via Amy V. Marks

Taking a star pass in the last Disco Brawlers vs. Dooms Dames home game, May 2017
Image via Amy V. Marks

Since the last interview, you've done more announcing. Can you tell me about that - what you love, what you find challenging, etc?

I have announced almost every home game I have not skated in for the last year and a half. I love being able to really watch the game and relay play by play to the crowd. I think having an experienced derby player help announce the game can be very beneficial for the crowd, giving sort of an "insider perspective" to what is happening on the track. Most of the games I announce are for our juniors, The Marionettes. It is very exciting to see these young skaters progress in skill level over time and they are really fun to watch. I'm going to fangirl for a moment here.... a few of my favorites to watch are Alleycat, who has become such a strong jammer; Neanderdoll, one of the captains who is a really great utility player with a fiery personality, and Venom - so tiny, yet so fierce!
As for what is challenging..the thing I find most challenging is probably not what those who know me would expect ...everyone who knows me knows I have a potty mouth and curse like a sailor. Just as I do at work, I can control myself when I need to, like when I am on the mic. My husband actually thought me announcing was a bad idea and that I wouldn't last as an announcer because of my foul mouth. He is shocked I haven't cursed on the mic. (Not that he has even heard me yet; he would rather watch me skate.)
The most challenging thing for me is when there are errors - this can be one of two things, a team/skater error or an officiating error.  For example: a jammer is calling it off when she is not lead jammer.  I am not the coach so I cannot yell to her that she is not lead.  Another example: a jam ref does not indicate the jammer lap point on a scoring pass when in fact there should have been one. I always remind myself that I am not there to make a call or give my opinion about what should have happened and I always relay the calls the officials made. I really enjoy when I see officiating errors get corrected because of great teamwork and communication between the officials.


You're a strong jammer, and you spent the 2016 season as a primary jammer for the Muñecas. Has that changed your take on the game at all?

Image via Abuko D. Estrada

Image via Abuko D. Estrada

Honestly, it's sort of taken me back to my derby roots. Many people probably don't realize it, but when I began my derby journey 10 years ago, I started as a jammer for the Hard Knox Roller Girls Brawlers (B-team). However, I really wanted to make the All-Star Team and an All-Star jammer, I was not.
My coach said to me, "You may not be the best jammer, but you are a smart jammer" so I think it made perfect sense that I found the role of Pivot to be my home on the track for so long. I took so many successful star passes over the years, now I joke, "if you are too good of a Pivot, you may end up jamming.". Honestly though, when the Muñecas lost 3 of our 4 primary jammers at the end of 2015, it seemed to make the most sense that I should be the one to don the star once again. The team needed me in a different role so I had to step up to the plate. I have to say, that our captain, Leigh Featherstone, helped me to believe that I could actually do it. (Sometimes I think she was wrong though... and to quote the movie Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this Sh!t").
I think that being a Pivot has made me a better jammer and also vice versa. As a jammer, I feel more patient on the track to see holes my team makes for me. Also, having skated in the pack with some of my teammates for so long....we have some good nonverbal communication, and I swear some of them can read my mind!  I see a lot more opportunities for offensive and defensive plays for the team as a whole. The team even named an offensive play after me, called the Kell's Yeah; it was an idea I had for a quick offensive move in a certain situation on the track when I was jamming.

You've seen a lot of rules changes throughout your years with the sport - do you ever miss things like two whistle starts or minor penalties?

Not really but it is fun to reminisce about some of those things....like cougaring/poodling to get your 4th minor as a blocker instead of a jammer. That was always a strategy I liked, not that I really miss minor penalties, however! Recently, I went out of town to visit family and went to my very first banked track roller derby game. It really brought me back, seeing some of those older rules, like the double whistle starts. I was intrigued by some of the rule differences, like the blocker starting box for example.  As for rule changes, I just sorta go with the flow.

Team Halloween for a RollerCon themed bout.

Team Halloween for a RollerCon themed bout.

What's your favorite RollerCon costume challenge? Both that you've participated in and in general?

I do LOVE costumes and dressing up! Honestly I think derby has helped me with the confidence to wear some of the ridiculous boutfits I have worn over the years (firefighter, cat woman, witch, etc). As for RollerCon, I think my favorites I have participated in would be: Halloween vs. Christmas, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to dress as a character from one of my favorite movies for Team Halloween, Jack Skellington, face paint and all. And I think #1 would have to be last year's Strippers vs. Burlesque. Burlesque was red (one of my favorite colors) - and, yes I skated in a bustier, ruffle bustle and panties, fishnets and a garter belt. I was a little worried about a wardrobe malfunction so I was prepared with red pasties just in case. ;)  I have definitely learned that nothing is too much for RollerCon!
Some of my favorites to watch so far have been Fasholes vs. Tomboys, and of course Magic Mike vs. Chippendales.
 

And finally, can we see pictures of your cats?

I would love to show you pictures of my cats (I don't do instagram often but when I do, it's to show pictures of my cats!) I have 3 fur babies!  Sienna, Alexi, and Smokey!

Smokey and Alexi

Smokey and Alexi

Sienna

Sienna

 

 

 

Posted on May 16, 2017 .

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 .