DolL fAce KILr, SLAManda, Mae B. Brutal, Bruzez T' Pruvit, Mia Wallups, Fiona Fiasco ... Boise, these are your daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. These are restaurant managers, nurses, students, nannies and corporate types. They are also members of the Treasure Valley Rollergirls (TVR) four-team roller derby league: the Derailers, the Devil's Darlings, the B-Town Batallion and Cell Block B. These ladies mean business.
Sara Kline, marketing and PR person for TVR, told BW that a little over a year ago, a couple of women decided that Boise needed a roller derby league. Now, a year later, TVR is a limited liability company and the first all-female sports league in Idaho.
And just what is roller derby? According to their Web site, www.treasurevalleyrollergirls.net, "Two teams of five skaters ... take up positions alongside each other in a pack formation. Each team consists of three blockers (defense), one pivot (last line of defense) and one jammer (scorer). Helmet colors or designs are typically used to differentiate between player roles. A signal is given and the jam commences.
"Blockers (including pivots) start skating at the referee's first signal. A second signal is given to launch the jammers, who must catch up to the rear of the pack. Jammers navigate through or around the pack, then lap around the track until reaching back of the pack again.
"Scoring commences when the jammers lap around the back of the pack and go through for a second time. One point is scored for each member of the opposing team passed by an inbound jammer (passing is determined by the skaters' hips). Blockers try to stop the opposing jammer from passing them, while defending their own jammer, whom they can assist by pushing or pulling (whipping) in an attempt to advance them through the pack."
This sport is for real. No scripts, no choreography--World Wrestling Federation this isn't. Bruzez T' Pruvit said, "Nobody knows what is going to happen until it does."
Every rollergirl has a story--Bruzez T' Pruvit struggled with an identity crisis, fighting her wild inner hellion while baking cookies. Once upon a time, she'd down a few brews with her friends and roll through the North End until motherhood and a day job changed her free-wheeling ways. But then, she found out about the league from a friend and co-worker (DolL fAce KIlr), struggled with the inevitable question of time versus commitments and went to her first practice. Pow, zap, ow! Next thing she knew, she was hooked.
The A&E television program, ROLLERGIRLS, spread like a contagion infecting several of the league's members. Mia Wallups said, "The minute I started seeing ads for the show, I knew that was something for me." All of them agree that the sport has captivated them and become a major part of their lives. Supportive husbands, understanding significant others and cheering families help these women thrive in a sport that is enjoying an enthusiastic revival.
Despite their diverse occupations, backgrounds, ages and styles, the rollergirls all share a common element: sisterhood. Roller derby has brought these women together and bonded them in ways they never anticipated. As individuals, they've built strength and confidence through the sport. As a group, they've melded into cohesive, supportive and passionate teams for whom roller derby has become more than just spare time fun. They are also actively involved in charity work for the Idaho Foodbank, they recently hosted a fundraiser for City Lights and they've Raked Up Boise.
Women who'd like to try roller derby, just need to show up at one of the Sunday practices (basic skating technique instruction is taught from 11:15 to 12:45) at the Rollerdrome in Nampa. The league is eager to recruit new members as long as potential rollergirls realize that most of the learning process is time spent on the ground. The litany is, "Practice, practice, practice" (and learn how to fall properly). Devil's Dimes is "fresh meat" coordinator, and always willing to give a crash course on becoming a derby girl.
The age range is generous, from 19 to 40, and every body type and personality is welcomed. Keep in mind, there are injuries--like the time Devil's Dimes belly-flopped on a cone after taking a hit. She thought she might have ruptured her spleen, but had in fact torn an abdominal muscle. "The worst part," she seethed, "was that I was off skates for about two weeks afterwards."
The rollergirls' expo season begins with bouts on March 21 and 28 at Expo Idaho (fairgrounds). After the first two bouts, TVR will go on the road. With Idaho's first all-female league--owned and run by women for women--it seems only right that the Treasure Valley should fill the stands and make these gals feel appreciated for their fearlessness, athleticism and dedication.
And, really, what could be more fun than watching Twisted Pixie, Nurse Naughty, Hippie Hellfire, Koffin Kitty, Bar Scar Sally and the rest of the rollergirls chase each other around the track, slamming and dodging and blocking? But if you're entertaining thoughts of what it might be like to date a rollergirl, bear this in mind: You may need to take a back seat to her roller addiction.
Treasure Valley Rollergirls take to the track March 21. Doors at 6 p.m. Bout starts at 7 p.m. $10 advance, $12 at the door, Expo Idaho (fairgrounds), 5610 Glenwod St., Garden City. www.treasurevalleyrollergirls.net.