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Derby Dames like it rough

Vermont Roller Derby not for the faint of heart

Published: Monday, March 1, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:05

Rollerderby

Andre Malerba

Women of the Green Mountain Derby Dames compete against Skate or Die New Hampshire on Feb. 20.

Bring together a bunch of women, some skimpy outfits, plenty of aggression and a crowd full of beer and what do you get?

No, the answer is not a keg party catfight — it's an all-girl roller derby.

The Green Mountain Derby Dames are Vermont's first and only ladies' derby league, and they are serious about their sport.

"The mix of athleticism, female bonding and the do-anything-you-want-alter-ego aesthetic is impossible to find elsewhere," UVM alumna Sarah "Blitzkreig Blondie" Neith said.

The Derby Dames league was founded in 2007 after a gag grew into something more serious.

"[At first] everyone thought it was a joke, impossible and something that would never catch on," founding member Courtney "Wreckless Love Mama" Reckell said, "which is obviously not the case since we sell out crowds of 1,500."

The Derby Dames displayed their chops at the Heartbreaker Bout — their first competition of the 2010 season — on Feb. 20.

On one side there was a beer garden — which finished the initial five kegs. On the other side there was everyone from eager preteens to parents and kids.

"I've never seen derby before," audience member Kelly Kirkpatrick said. "I was confused, yet very excited."

"It is a sport that young, old, women and men can enjoy as a spectator," Derby Dame Melissa "Tuffy Magilicutty" Robair said.

Perhaps it was the possibility of rowdiness that kept people in their seats, because by the second half the sold-out bout got significantly more aggressive.

As announcer "Candy Corn-Ary" said, "They don't play nice in the Northeast Kingdom."

Skaters knocked each other down left and right in an effort to become the lead jammer — a coveted role that gives the skater the ability to end the jam whenever they choose.

The ladies were sent to the timeout box for illegal checks, at least one skater returned to her team looking beyond annoyed after a bad jam and there was even a six-skater pile-up.

"I love full-contact sports," announcer "Pelvis Costello" said.

However, even the beer garden looked concerned when a timeout was called because a skater from Skate or Die New Hampshire was injured in a fall.

The Skater — "PatUNya Grave" — was taken away in a wheelchair but seemed to be okay.

The Heartbreaker Bout was tied at the end of the game — an extremely rare occurrence in roller derby — with Skate or Die New Hampshire winning by seven after the tiebreaker jam.

Still, despite the aggression that takes place during the game, there is a sense of camaraderie surrounding the sport.

"After you're done roughing up another skater on the track, you leave that all behind, and appreciate the other team's performance over after-party beers," UVM alumna "Modesty Blaze" said.

Any eager female can try out to become a Derby Dame, and the skaters encourage it.

"Don't be intimidated or scared," Neith said. "While it may take a while to get your groove, it's totally worth the work, sweat and pain."

The Derby Dames' next bout is March 13 against Central New York Roller Derby Utica Clubbers at the Champlain Valley Expo.

For more information of Roller Derby and the Derby Dames visit http://www.gmderbydames.com.

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