10th Mountain Roller Dolls host Melee in the Mountains roller derby tourney
Take the Turtle Bus:
For $15, Turtle Bus and Tubing is offering round-trip transportation for spectators from three upvalley locations:
Vail Village Transportation Center (pickup: 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
Loaded Joe’s, Avon (pickup: 11:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.)
Woody’s Pub, Edwards (pickup: 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.)
Spectators can enjoy music and a cash bar on the way to the event on the Turtle Bus as well as a safe ride home from the after-party. Call 970-471-0547 for more information.
Roller derby is more than women with cool nicknames duking it out on the rink. For the 10th Mountain Division Roller Dolls, it’s a way of life.
The team in Eagle formed in 2011 and is starting to get serious in the world of roller derby. In March, the team graduated from its apprenticeship with The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association to member, allowing the Roller Dolls to participate in sanctioned events.
“It’s changed a lot,” said Alayna Wade, aka Push-up Brawl. “It was more of a rec team, and now we’re more independently owned and operated by the skaters. We’re more competitive as a team.”
The Roller Dolls fund their own dues, rink time and even trips across the state, and the region, through ticket sales, silent auction items at games and other events. They also give back to the community, this year by working with Girls on the Run.
“It’s not very easy,” Wade said of fundraising.
But for Wade and the rest of the fearless women skating for the 10th Mountain Roller Dolls, it’s something worthy of their time and effort.
“It’s women doing something that people don’t expect, and you just meet so many strong, amazing people doing this sport,” Wade said. “It’s really changed my life in the way that I’m more confident as a person.”
Roller derby is a physical sport, taking a toll on the athletes’ bodies.
“It’s very dangerous,” Wade said. “From my side of things, I’ve been playing for 10 years, so I feel like my body’s falling apart. But that’s how much I love it. I won’t quit.”
Wade said professional soccer players pretend they’re hurt, while roller derby girls pretend they’re not hurt.
The sport itself combines mental toughness and strategy with physical ability.
“Roller derby is like chess football to me,” Wade said. “It’s so loud and there’s all these people right next to you, going by you, but you’re trying to make your strategy really happen and work with your teammates.
“It’s really fast paced, and it’s really physical. Sometimes you come off the track and you’re like, ‘what just happened out there?’”
ROLLER DERBY 101
The bout is played by two teams of five skating simultaneously on a flat or banked track. Each team designates a scoring player, the jammer, and the other four are blockers. (One blocker can be designated as a pivot, a blocker allowed to become a jammer.)
Each half is 30 minutes, and points are scored for every time the jammer passes through the pack after the initial pass. Each team’s blockers use body contact and other tactics to help their jammer while hindering the opposing jammer.
Roller derby is a game where both offense and defense are played at the same time, which complicates strategy and tactics. The sport combines skill, strategy and style.
Push-up Brawl, Vicious Kitty, Little Ninja and Miso Bad are some of the nicknames of the women playing for the 10th Mountain Roller Dolls. They’re all making a name for themselves around the world of roller derby.
“We hope to play more difficult teams. This year, we’re playing some high-level teams that we haven’t had the opportunity to play before,” Wade said. “I think we’re kind of getting noticed and respected as a team.”
The Roller Dolls have been hosting the Melee in the Mountains roller derby event the past few years, but this year will be different. Instead of having anyone sign up and being placed on a team, the 10th Mountain Roller Dolls will face off against other roller derby teams across the region.
“It’s going to be totally different this year,” Wade said. “I’m really excited about it because people locally want to see me play with my team, 10th Mountain, so we’re going to compete against Boulder, Durango and the Salida girls.”
The Melee in the Mountains tournament is Saturday at the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink, and Turtle Bus and Tubing is offering transportation at a discounted price. Other local companies supporting the Roller Dolls include Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, Bonfire Brewing Co. and Pazzo’s Pizza.
“I think it’s awesome getting to play a lot of people that are kind of in the same area because we all know each other a little bit,” said Shaheen “Shotgun Shaheen” Hood, of the Durango Roller Girls. “We’re all best friends, but we’re ‘frienemies’ on the track.”
“We always love getting into tournaments,” said Taylor “Buffy the Jammer Slayer” Stein. “They give us the opportunity to get multiple games in during a weekend, as well as really get to know some of our fellow leagues in the area.”
It can be an intimidating sport for young girls to get into, but the rewards are endless.
“If you’re thinking about trying it, try it,” Wade said. “It might change your life.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.