September 2011 Featured League: Charm City Roller Girls

September 8, 2011

We may have missed the most recent opportunity to eat cake at a roller derby bout, but the Charm City Roller Girls have more fun planned for fans when they co-host this year’s East Region Playoffs (with the DC Rollergirls). They’ve been a competitive force in the Eastern region for the past 6 years, and are committed not only to high quality roller derby in Baltimore, but also in their entire region. Learn more about the Charm City Roller Girls here...

Photo by Manish Gosalia

The Charm City Roller Girls are located in Baltimore, Maryland.

How does your season run?
We’ve experimented with different season structures. In 2012, we will be transitioning to a split home team and All Star season. In general, though, our season runs from January to November.

Are you close to any other WFTDA leagues?
We’re very fortunate to be part of a not too far away East region! Our Nightmare on 95 (East Region Playoffs) co-hosts, the DC Rollergirls, are the closest, along with the Philly Roller Girls, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, River City Rollergirls, Dutchland Derby Rollers, Harrisburg Area Roller Derby, and the Mason-Dixon Roller Vixens, a WFTDA Apprentice league, just to name a few.

How many skaters/teams do you have?
We have four home teams comprised of 14 to 18 skaters each, which makes up the majority of our league. Our interleague program has the Charm City Roller Girls’ All Stars and our B-Team, the B-nanas. Approximately 30 skaters make up the full interleague squad at a given time.

How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
We are an LLC with most league management run by a Governance Board, and the league is included in voting on all major matters. We work in committees including marketing, bout production, coaching, and finance, among others.

How many days a week do you practice?
League wide practice is offered three to four days a week, including one night of scrimmage for scrimmage-cleared skaters. Our All Star team holds a team practice once a week.

CCRG celebrating a victory over Boston
Photo by Craig Lammes

Who is Charm City's biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
We have a long history with both Carolina Rollergirls and Boston Derby Dames of trading wins back and forth over the years. Carolina was one of our very first interleague opponents back when the All Stars were the Mobtown Maulers (we lost!), and beating Boston last year at Derby in the Burbs to make our first trip to the WFTDA Championships was certainly memorable.

Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
This past July, the All Stars visited Denver to play the Denver Roller Dolls’ Mile High Club and our leagues were joined in holy derby matrimony, so a big hello to our wives in Denver! We also have deep love for our regional sister leagues mentioned above, as well as international friends we’ve made in Montréal Roller Derby and London Rollergirls! We’d also like to send a shout out to our derby brothers at Harm City Homicide.

What are the individual challenges of your city?
Baltimore is an urban area, but we’re lucky enough to still have a number of roller rinks around and in the city for us to use as practice space, and in previous seasons as venues. We’re hoping to find our own practice space in the next year or so but finding adequate room within the city and immediate suburbs is tough.

Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
We love all of our sponsors but have had wonderful longstanding relationships with Charm City Cakes, Mission Media, and Flying Dog Brewery. In fact, we’ve had a few skaters come from these sponsors!

What are your biggest training challenges?
Since we don’t have our own practice space, finding enough time to dedicate to a wide range of skaters and allowing teams to have their own practice time is a big challenge. We have a very dedicated coaching staff of skaters who give their own practice time to keeping us in top derby shape.

Who are the best "behind the scenes" skaters who make your league run?
Since CCRG has been around for six years, we’ve been lucky to have a dedicated staff of founders who have given their heart and soul to the league, including working on the business of CCRG. These skaters include Lady Quebeaum, Cindy Lop-her, Duchess of Torque, Flo Shizzle and Rosie the Rioter. Some of these skaters have stayed within the business side of CCRG even after retiring as skaters.

Holly GoHardly @ Championships 2010
Photo by Brian Mackie

Who are some of your star on-track skaters and why?
Everyone knows our Wondertwins, Joy Collision and Dolly Rocket. Not only do Joy and Dolly always put their best on the track, but they have also both given tirelessly as coaches and leaders of the All Stars and our league. Holly GoHardly, I.M. Pain, and Just Carol have been consistent star skaters for our All Stars and home teams alike. Our home teams feature some of our biggest crowd favorites like Nuckin Futz, Tyrannosaurus Lex, Mya Bloody Valentine, and Quickshot Kitty.

One of your league skaters, Joy Collision, was selected to Team USA for the Roller Derby World Cup in Toronto this November. Considering that this was a very competitive roster to make, how does it feel knowing that one of your All Stars was able to make the cut?
We are very proud to have Joy representing CCRG on Team USA and to the world!

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We’ve experimented with a couple different types of locations for practice. Currently we skate primarily at a skating rink just east of the city. As far as bouting, this is our fourth season skating at the Clarence “Du Burns” Arena. We’ve really taken DIY to its limits at this venue by laying a chipboard underfloor and sportcourt floor, and selling our own beer. All of our skaters and volunteers work very hard to put on bouts for our fans here.

We understand that your league hosts open scrimmages, aptly called “Pick Up, Throwdown Scrimmages". Why did Charm City decide to host open scrimmages? How often do you host these scrimmages, and who can participate?
We decided to host open scrimmages as a way to introduce derby outside of Baltimore to skaters on our league, to play with a variety of players, and to bring our area derby community closer together. This was the first year we hosted the scrimmages and we are looking forward to making them a regular occurrence. We invite any skaters playing under a WFTDA rule set that are cleared to scrimmage and welcome officials too!

"Charm School" is your monthly open practice for anyone interested in joining roller derby. How did this recruitment method develop? Do you hold these open practices all year long? What are your aspiring skaters’ next steps after attending Charm School?
As CCRG has become more competitive, we’ve strived for ways to keep all interested skaters involved with CCRG and building up their skills in between tryouts. We’ve also welcomed a number of retired skaters to Charm School who just felt like strapping on their skates again as a way to keep fit. We try to hold Charm School once a month, and hope that skaters attending Charm School will try out for CCRG someday.

Awards Banquet cake made by sponsor, Charm City Cakes
Photo by Carrie Lancos

What is Charm City Cake Fan Appreciation Day? And did we already miss out on the cake?
You did! It was good too. Charm City Cakes, best known as the setting for the “Ace of Cakes” TV show on the Food Network is a long time sponsor of CCRG. We were even in an episode where the staff made a roller skate shaped cake to celebrate the All Stars playing Dallas Derby Devils. At our most recent home bout, the Charm City Cakes staff sold slices of cake for $1 with proceeds going to Moveable Feast, a charity near and dear to the hearts of CCRG. We also held a cake-eating contest at halftime featuring fans and skaters, including Federal Kill and Twibite from CCRG.

Charm City has consistently earned the third place ranking in the Eastern Region (since the third quarter of 2010), and has always held either third or fourth place since the fourth quarter of 2008. What does it take to maintain that level of consistency in ranking in the WFTDA Eastern Region?
Being a top team in the East Region is an effort that goes beyond what you see the All Stars put on the track. It’s the result of efforts from coaching and management staff, league fundraising, interleague planning, and non-stop support involving the entire league. The All Stars represent the best of CCRG on and off the track.

What are the benefits and challenges of being in the Eastern Region?
The benefits are so many leagues within driving distance for games, scrimmages, and support. The challenges are without a doubt that it is a tough region. There are so many talented teams in the East and everyone gets better every year. It keeps us on our toes for sure.

The Charm City Roller Girls are co-hosting this year’s WFTDA East Region Playoffs, Nightmare on 95, with the DC Rollergirls at DuBurns Arena September 16-18. What prompted your league to co-host this event? In your experience so far, what are the benefits and challenges of co-hosting a Region Playoff tournament?
DC had been interested in hosting a tournament for some time but had difficulty finding an affordable venue in DC proper. They approached us about using our venue and production resources in hosting the Playoffs, and as a league we decided it was worth pursuing. So far the biggest benefit is being close to home for our skaters, volunteers and fans alike, and getting to host so many of our friends playing the sport we all love. The challenges have largely been logistical, but we have worked hard with DC to put on what we hope is a great tournament.

Is this the first time Charm City and the DC Rollergirls have worked together?
Officially, it is, but we’ve had working/skating relationships with DC for some time now. We’ve shared a few skaters between the leagues and our officiating staff frequently works together for CCRG and DC games. We’ve played each other a number of times, including this year when DC’s three home teams took on three of our home teams in an expo bout.

In addition to hosting the WFTDA East Region Playoffs, Charm City will also be competing. What about this event is your league most excited? How is the entire league – not only the All Stars – preparing for Nightmare on 95?
Sleeping in our own beds! No really, we are happy to host so many of our closest derby friends including the London Rollergirls who graciously hosted us during the Anarchy in the UK tournament earlier this year. The entire league has been involved in planning including structuring our own season to accommodate hosting the tournament.

Championships 2010
Photo by Ziv Kruger

The Charm City All Stars have a significant amount of tournament experience, including at WFTDA Regional and Championship tournaments. How will the All Stars make use of that experience as they prepare for, and compete in, this year's East Region Playoffs?
This year’s All Star team features a number of new faces playing in a WFTDA Playoff for the first time, and the experience from long time All Star vets is invaluable in prepping for the “playoff mindset”, as well as having played many of our opponents in the tournament setting before.

Would you like to make any predictions for this year's WFTDA Big 5 Tournament season?
The East Region Playoffs will rule! There has been so much movement in the East; it’s going to be hard to predict! We are also eagerly awaiting winding down after our tournament hosting and watching all the other regions battle it out.

Is there any other information that you would like to share with
We would like to thank the wonderful people at IceCourt, the providers of our new floor we’ll be using at Nightmare on 95, and the WFTDA for facilitating the discount through their relationship with IceCourt.

Do you have a special message to your fans?
We’d like to thank all our fans, volunteers, current and former skaters, sponsors, and the Baltimore community at large for their tireless support of CCRG over the last six years.

Would your league like to be the WFTDA Featured League of the month? Have you had an extraordinarily successful season that you'd like to share with the fans? If you are a full WFTDA member league and have the authorization to speak on behalf of your league, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.