LAKE CRYSTAL - After nearly a year of preparation, anticipation and community service, the Goosetown Roller Girls began Roller Derby competition for real Saturday in a nine-team mixer at the Lake Crystal Recreation Center.
In front of a full-house crowd of several hundred people, competitors came from as far away as Bismarck-Mandan, N.D. to create four teams in the event designed to introduce the growing sport to Southern Minnesota.
"It's exciting to see it finally start," said Deutschland Dolly of Courtland, who helped coordinate the event that donated a portion of proceeds to the Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA, Inc.)
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
From left, Goosetown Roller Girls (in yellow socks) VaudeVille, Deutschland Dolly, RIP Tease and Sour Kraut participate in a nine-team Roller Derby mixer Saturday at the Lake Crystal Recreation Center.
A non-profit organization, the Roller Girls wore yellow socks to help New Ulm fans identify them from other competitors from the Twin Cities, Fargo-Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud Area, Aberdeen, S.D. and Bismarck-Mandan, N.D.
"Lots of these women played rugby and/or la crosse earlier in their lives and joined Roller Derby for fun and to make new friends," said Garrett Doucette of St. Cloud. His girlfriend plays for the SCAR (St. Cloud Area Rollers) Dolls. "The mixer is a good way to introduce the sport to people. This is real, not choreographed like Roller Derby on TV was decades ago. Lots of people think the sport it like it used to be but not all of it is."
Rink Floyd of St. Paul, an official who was watching the event, said Roller Derby is a good way for women to get involved in community service with non-profit fund-raising, making friends, getting exercise and networking, which he said could be a great way to find a new job these days.
"It's a great way for women done with college to get together and have fun," Floyd said.
The Minnesota Roller Girls (Twin Cities team) competes in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, next to the Excel Center in St. Paul.
Skaters wear helmets, knee and elbow pads to block, hit or check. Contact below the neck to the upper arms and upper thighs on the front side are legal blocking zones for blocking, hitting or checking. Skaters can only be blocked, hit or checked from behind on their hands, arms and outer shoulders. They can be struck anywhere below the neck to the upper thighs from the front.
Teams have a jammer who wears a helmet cover with stars and scores points by passing opposing team members. A jammer may transfer her position to the pivot during the bout by removing her helmet cover and passing it to the pivot.
Blockers help the team's jammer progress through the pack and hinder the opposing team's jammer by preventing her from passing.
The Goosetown Roller Girls are recruiting women age 21 and older as skaters and referees, men 21 and older as referees and anyone for volunteers.
Future bouts begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 against the Med City Mafia, Rochester; March 23 against the MAD Girls, Mankato; April 20 at the New Ulm Civic Center vs. the Duluth Derby Divas and May 11 at the New Ulm Civic Center vs. the Med City Mafia.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org