Roller derby rumble

Last weekend we celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday with a sushi dinner at uber-chic Uchi and tickets to—get this—a Lonestar Rollergirls roller derby bout.

My dad, who lives in North Carolina, had been wanting to see the roller derby since watching the A&E series “Rollergirls,” and by pure luck his and his wife’s visit coincided with a match-up between the Hellcats and the Putas del Fuego. (I don’t make up the names. I just report them.)

Skating on an oval banked track set up in the convention center downtown, the provocatively costumed rollergirls crouched low with elbows out, looking over their shoulders as they blocked opposing skaters and protected their “jammer,” a designated skater who scores points by fighting her way through the pack and passing skaters on the opposing team. “Curly Suicide,” the blonde jammer pictured above, was a frequent scorer, employing a combination of speed and lithe dodging to escape the pack. Here she’s being slung forward, for extra acceleration, by her teammate.

The jammer, a sprint skater, is designated by a star on her helmet. In this shot, both jammers can be seen breaking free of the pack and lunging forward to try to lap the opposing team’s skaters. Each one she passes earns her team a point, but she has only 60 seconds to do it.

Watching the roller derby was a complete hoot, with lots of exciting and athletic skating, a few over-the-top fake fights (a la professional wrestling), burlesque role-playing by the skaters, and a loudly enthusiastic but well-behaved crowd of all ages. Dad loved it.

A number of fans came in costume and waved signs for their favorite teams or skaters.

These Hellcats fans mugged for the cameras.

I’d heard about the roller derby for years but hadn’t given much thought to going until my friend Anna posted about seeing her cousin, “Sindra Dee,” pictured above, skate for the Hellcats. When it was all over the Hellcats were victorious, and the rollergirls were sweat-streaked and bruised but still smiling.

Here is my friend Anna in her Hellcats t-shirt. Check out her brand-new cooking blog, Therabake, for more rollergirl pics and a recipe for the hot-pink Hellcats Cupcakes she whipped up in honor of her cousin’s team. And if you feel like leaving an encouraging comment, I bet she’d love it.

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

14 Responses

  1. Randy says:

    What a hoot! I wish my mom and dad were more active, but they choose to stay locked up in their home only venturing out to the doctor and grocery store.

    Oh, that’s no fun! But maybe I can understand if they have a fabulous, full garden, like yours, at home. —Pam

  2. There’s a pretty active roller derby scene here but I’ve only read about it; never seen them live. Now I know what I’m missing!

    It was a fun experience, Linda. You should go. I’ll await exciting action shots from Mark and the play-by-play from you on your blog. —Pam

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is a HOOT. I am glad you gifted Dad with this experience. I am sure you were all enriched. ;)

    We really did enjoy it. I’m glad we went. —Pam

  4. I haven’t been to a TXRD bout in awhile, when they first moved their banked track to the convention center. Isn’t it fun and exciting? We got a bit addicted several years ago, at which time the Putas del Fuego were far better than the Hellcats. I’m glad to see it’s still going strong and the Hellcats are having their day. Thanks for the reminder!

    I think many of the fans in attendance were regulars. I can see how it would be an addicting experience. And while it’s a little risque, older kids can have a fun time there too. —Pam

  5. Curmudgeon says:

    Gotta love that name–Putas del Fuego! ROFL! Last year, after watching the documentary Blood on the Fast Track, I dragged Wing Nut kicking and screaming to a Rat City Rollergirls event. She got so hooked! It was very family/kid friendly. The skating was pretty impressive. The league here has 4 teams. My faves are The Sockit Wenches. LOL!

    Funny name! The team names and skater aliases are half the fun, aren’t they? The Lonestar Rollergirls league has five teams. Plus, there’s a flat-track league that skates at a local rink. Lots of rollergirl action. —Pam

  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed the derby. Your pictures are fantastic!

    Your post was the inspiration, so thank you for blogging about it, Anna. As for the pics, I can’t take credit for the ones tagged K. Tarr. My stepmother took those with her nice telephoto lens. I had camera envy! —Pam

  7. That’s awesome! I went to my first roller derby on 3/24… my friend Colleen is a member of the Cleveland Steamers, as is my (new) boyfriend’s friend from college. It was a lot of fun… kinda made me wish that I had time for another sports addiction. *grin*

    Hmm, I wonder what your rollergirl name would be, Blackswamp Girl? :-) —Pam

  8. Germi says:

    I watched that show religiously and am a HUGE Putas Del Fuego fan! What a cool gift to your obviously super-cool Dad!
    Oh, Austin! Austin! How I LOVE Austin!


    There’s always something interesting going on, and I think it’s great that you know about the Putas. You’d have loved the live spectacle, Germi. —Pam

  9. chuck b. says:

    GREAT pictures, Pam! It seems your skills with the camera extend well beyond the garden!

    Thanks, Chuck. But as I pointed out to another commenter, many of these pics were taken by my stepmother, K., who has a good eye and a powerful telephoto lens that I’m quite envious of. —Pam

  10. Les says:

    What a great post! My favorite picture, but not in a salacious way, was the one with the two women on their knees. I remember how much my great grandfather enjoyed watching roller derby back in the 60’s on a B&W television. I think it was the only thing he would ever sit still for long enough to watch.

    I like that backside shot too, Les. The skaters played up the rear view with short skirts, fishnet stockings, and frilly underwear. So I couldn’t resist when I saw them taking a rest on their knees. —Pam

  11. Cheryl says:

    Pam, you just captured two of my favorite things in Austin…Uchi and the wild girls!!! What a fun night!

    Good food and good fun! —Pam

  12. Lisa says:

    This post really took me back! I used to love watching roller derby when they broadcasted it on TV when i was a kid. Fun stuff!

  13. LOL! HIlarious! Great photos, Pam!

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