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It's Derby Time
Photo by Scott Jones
We can all remember roller-skating in our youth. Glowing white tees, big hair, shooting the duck and waiting for the guy to pick us for the evening's snowball skate. While birthday parties at roller rinks may be a thing of the past, a new wave of roller sports has taken over, Roller Derby!
Roller Derby has actually been around since the early 1930-40's but was predominantly known more as a form of sports entertainment than the real, legitimate, empowering sport it has become today. Derby bouts consist of two teams with five skaters from each simultaneously skating counter clockwise on a flat track. One skater, known as the Jammer, scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. While Jammers usually possess speed and skill, their path to scoring points is a tough one as the opposing teams blockers are tough as well as agile and are meant to bring the Jammer down. While the concept may seem easy enough there are definite strategies used throughout an entire bout.
I have always commented on the amazing athletic ability and competitive spirit the people in this town possess so it comes as no surprise that Fernie has its own Roller Derby team. We at Giv' Er Shirt Works have printed the girls derby wear and merchandise so I was somewhat familiar with the team but I asked Co -captain, Jacqueline Fieldhouse, or better known by her derby name CrackHer Jax, to give me the full low down on Fernie's Avalanche City Roller Girls (ACRG).
The team was founded just over a year ago by local Lindsay Adams, aka Lacey "DD" Daggers, and started as just a few girls skating twice a week in the covered structure by the high school track, fondly nicknamed the Rollerdome. Another Fernie resident Bronya Frost aka Foxxxy Frostbite was actually skating with the Cranbrook team at the time but also trained the ACRG girls for the first few months. She helped prepare them for their Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) skills testing or "benchmarking," which is required by all skaters to participate in derby. Foxxxy Frostbite eventually defected to her home team, and along with 12 other skaters and one coach, form the ACRG. Their first year was full of practices, skill and strategy learning and plenty of bruises. It has obviously paid off, as they are currently 2-0 in their first official bouts of the inaugural season of the East Kootenay Roller Derby League (EKRDL).
The EKRDL is also comprised of Cranbrook’s Mountain Town Maulers, Kimberley’s Bavarian Barbarians, Invermere’s Killer Rollbots and Creston’s Black Eyed Cherries. Our home girls’ next bout is against another undefeated team the Killer Rollbots. The bout will be hosted at the Marysville Arena just outside Kimberley on June 23. Fernie will then host the semi finals at our arena August 4 and the season will wrap up back in Marysville for the finals September 15. All tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door with kids six-12 $5 and kids five and under free. All bout proceeds help fund league expenses and training opportunities, and bouts are action packed with sporting fun for the family, and like all major sporting events, are a good place to drink some beer in the refreshment gardens.
Any ladies interested in giving derby a try are encouraged to check out one of the ACRG practices, Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-9pm at the Fernie Arena until August 4 or at Max Turyk after that date. Newbies are referred to as “fresh meat” and are always welcome to join. While the league is ladies only at this time, guys are welcome to contribute as potential referees, and of course as fans. Check out fernierollerderby.com and eastkootenayrollerderby.com for more information.
The girls would like to give a shout out to new coach Jeremy Grassick, main sponsor The Northern Bar and Stage, as well as Edge of the World, Fernie Chrysler and Poison Apple tattoo for their awesome logo. Derby love also to the refs and NSO’s (non skating officials).