September 2, 2014
Demolition City Roller Derby is doing double-duty this tournament season, as they compete in the D2 Playoffs in Kitchener-Waterloo while preparing to host the D1 Playoffs in their hometown of Evansville, IN, September 19-21. Read on to learn more about this month's Featured League.
Where are you located?
We are located in Evansville, Indiana.
How does your season run?
Our home season this year was April through July. We have been adjusting that each year to coincide with other teams in an attempt to make scheduling a little easier. We tried to stay away from scheduling our away bouts during the months of our home bouts with giving us a break from competition the months of November and December.
What are the closest WFTDA leagues to you?
We're actually in a great location as far as being located near other WFTDA leagues. It's a one-day trip to play Arch Rival, Naptown, Circle City, Bleeding Heartland, Derby City, Cincinnati, Black-n-Bluegrass, Nashville, Lafayette and more!
How many skaters/teams do you have?
We keep right around 35 active skaters at this time. These skaters make up the two teams we have: Dynamite Dolls (All-Star team) and our Destruction Dames (B team).
How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
Both of our teams travel to get the best learning experience possible, but our All-Stars do the majority of the traveling. We are run by a Board of Directors and numerous committees. Every active skater is required to actively serve on a committee and contribute to our league's success in order to be bout eligible. We also have volunteers, retired skaters, parents of skaters, significant others, etc. who love us so much that they also serve on committees and/or help with officiating, NSOing and other very important jobs that we couldn't do without them.
Who is your biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments when you've played them?
We don't really have a biggest rival. Of course we want to come out on top of any team we play, but there aren't any teams close enough to us that allows us the opportunity to have the fun "rivalry" that many teams have. When Rollergirls of Southern Indiana (ROSI) was still together here in Evansville, we had a rivalry with them. A couple of years ago, they invited us to play in a mixed scrimmage benefitting breast cancer so we did and it was so much fun! That was the beginning of a new chapter for us. They had some really great skaters who eventually joined our league and that is exactly what has helped us get to where we are now. Our city isn't big enough to have two leagues - it only split the talent. Now we are one and couldn't be happier!
Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
Of course! Naptown Roller Girls helped us get our start and have provided us with support and guidance along the way. They also helped us get our last sanctioned game in before the June 30th deadline so we'd be eligible for our first-ever Playoffs. We owe them big time! We have the utmost respect for all of the skaters of Naptown and we'll always be in their corner! The girls from Bleeding Heartland have also become very close. We enjoy skating with them when we can whether it's at a practice, scrimmage or whenever we can!
What are the individual challenges of your city?
We don't feel that any of the challenges we face are unique to Evansville, but of course we have some. One of our biggest challenges is the lack of finding a practice space to call our own. We've been practicing the last 2 years or so at a Sports Complex shared by soccer teams, volleyball teams, etc. It's a great place, but we don't have a big enough space there to have a full-sized regulation track. So that's a huge challenge for us. Other large challenges include getting the word out about our sport being a legitimate sport and keeping a strong fan base. We are so fortunate to have been selected to host one of the D1 Playoffs. This has proven to be so wonderful to our city as a whole, but also to our league. News and radio stations, print media including newspapers and magazines, potential sponsors, etc. are all seeing that the sport of roller derby is huge and that we are fortunate to have a WFTDA team in our city. We are really looking forward to what this means for our league next season and seasons to come!
What are your biggest training challenges?
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest training challenges would be our smaller-than-regulation track size at a shared sports complex. Since we don't have our own space to use whenever we want, we are limited as far as on-track/on-skates derby practice. Another challenge is the difference in the skill levels of our skaters. Every single skater is needed and appreciated so much. It's just a challenge to provide our top skaters with a challenging practice all while helping others fine-tune skills they need to work on to improve their skating ability. From the girls who just recently graduated our Fresh Meat program to the ones who have been playing for 5+ years, each and every skater is important to the success of this league.
What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We train at Metro Sports Center which we share with soccer teams, volleyball teams, etc. We bout at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in downtown Evansville. It's a historic building with a lot of charm. We get compliments all of the time from our visiting teams who get to play in our beautiful venue.
How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among your teams/skaters?
We have four practices each week (not including fresh meat practices). Two of them are league practices that any skater can attend. Then we have a night just for our charter team and a night for our B team and newer skaters. Most of our skaters also have a pretty intense workout regimen outside of derby as well.
Who are some “behind the scenes” skaters/members who really help your league run?
My goodness there's no way we could list who those folks are because there are so many who are crucial to our team. It's really incredible to us how many active skaters we have who do so much more outside of their eight wheels as well. We are also blessed with so many kind people who volunteer their time to help us in every way possible. Most of those folks are people who try to hide from the camera when we take league photos because they really don't want the recognition. We will say this though, we couldn't do what we do without every single person we have. Everyone is important from the #1 skater to the person who sits trackside waiting to lay tape to fix the track during the bout, from the person taking tickets to the one behind the scenes working on our website. Our league is so blessed!
Who are some of your star skaters on the track, and why?
Bambi ThumpHer is our star jammer with the highest points scored. She is the most agile skater we have ever had and may even be the tiniest one we've ever had as well! All she needs is a millisecond to squeeze or hop through a hole that the opposing skaters didn't even think was there. She's amazing to watch! Stepheree has proven to be a force to be reckoned with especially this season. She is a double threat; she is our strongest blocker, but can also wear the star when our smaller jammers are having a hard time getting through walls and she rams her way right through the opposing team. She's very strong and has a natural competitive spirit that can't be taught.
Your home bouts always include a snappy, clever theme to help promote: how do you come up with the themes for your bouts and what is the response from fans? What can you share about your recent Star Wars-themed bout?
It's our people! We have the best league members and volunteers ever! Our Creative and Bout Production committees team together to come up with our bout themes and make them happen. Once their brilliant minds come together with all of these great ideas, they hit the ground running to coordinate outside groups to come in that will enhance the fan experience. At the same time, we seek out other non-profit groups that will fit into that theme in some way that we could possibly help. On the surface, it comes together so seamlessly. Behind the scenes, it's a ton of hard work and organization from our very dedicated league members. We try to get the kids in the crowd as involved as we can throughout our bouts. In the last couple of years, our fan-base dynamic has started to shift a little. We are very much promoting the "family-friendly" aspect of our bouts. When it was brought to our attention that the Star Wars group from Indy would be in Evansville the weekend of one of our bouts for Comic Con, we knew we had to attempt to work together if at all possible. And it worked! That bout was so fun. Our fans were dressed up in their favorite Star Wars character. There were tons of fan pictures taken with the Star Wars characters and it was just a super fun bout. They got involved with our halftime and were very active with keeping the crowd entertained throughout the entire double-header.
Do you have any big bouts coming up that you're really looking forward to? Why?
We don't have anymore this season that we're looking forward to as our season is now over. However we just competed in our first-ever tournament and it happened to be D2 Playoffs in Canada! It was a weekend full of "firsts" for us. It was our first tournament (not just playoffs, but our first TOURNAMENT ever), first time we've ever played an international opponent, first time we've ever played more than two bouts in one weekend and for many of our skaters, it was the first time they had ever been outside of the country!
Please tell us more about your first time at WFTDA D2 Playoffs in Kitchener-Waterloo.
The entire experience was very surreal and exciting! We worked so hard to get to the D2 tournament, but we were all in awe of the level of play showcased in Kitchener. It was an incredible time and something we won't soon forget! The most we have ever played in a weekend (until this tournament) was two bouts. Playing four bouts in one weekend certainly taught us a lot. We know that we need to take better care of our bodies to be healthy enough for that many bouts as well as take care to lessen the risk of injuries with proper stretching, cool-downs, etc. We also learned that we MUST work on our offense. Up until this tournament, our defense has really gotten us through. We typically don't provide our jammers with off-the-line offense, but going against teams at this level has taught us that we have to do that. We could go on and on about all of the things we learned at the tournament. One thing we definitely want to mention is that we were just honored to be a part of the tournament and especially WFTDA's first international Playoffs. The experience from this tournament is exactly what we needed in order to be able to hone in on what we need to do to get to that next level. Plus it was so exciting to meet so many skaters and other teams that we've always looked up to. Many of us were "star-struck" the entire weekend! :)
How did your league handle attending and hosting two different playoff tournaments within a month of each other?
We are so blessed with so many people in our league who have stepped up to help make both things happen. Without them, it would not have been possible at all, let alone organized! WFTDA has been a tremendous help in keeping us on track with what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and when. We just have to connect the dots, so thank you WFTDA for being so organized! There are many people who deserve a special shoutout because everyone has stepped up to the plate, but we have one person in particular who has had her hands in all of it and she keeps us on our toes and organized. That person is Kinney Shot. Without her, the tournament planning would be so much harder on the entire league. Thank you, Kinney! Derby is what we love. If we didn't love it, we absolutely would not be dedicating so much of our time to it. It's that love that has gotten us through the organized chaos of being heavily involved in two huge tournaments.
How does your league give back to the community?
When we aren't busy practicing, bouting, or doing committee work, one can usually find at least a group of us somewhere in the area giving back whether it's helping out with a local event, fundraising, giving recognition to local groups at our bout's halftime and doing half-pot raffles at our bouts to give to a local charity. We love our city and enjoy being able to give back!
Do you have any big fundraisers coming up?
No we do not. We are in our "off season" right now. In order to get to Canada for the D2 Playoffs, we set up a GoFundMe account and our fans, family and friends helped us raise right around $6,000! We also sold a ton of candy bars, Thirty-One products and more to help get us there.
Do you have a special message for your fans?
We have the BEST fans we could possibly ask for! We are overwhelmed with the continued support from our fans who include skaters from other teams, skaters' family and significant others, friends, and others who are just die-hard derby fans. Without you, we'd be nothing, so THANK YOU for cheering us on and supporting us while we do what we love so dearly! Next season is going to be the biggest and BEST season yet for us! We're going to be bringing you trackside to the best roller derby you have seen yet!
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 wftda.com 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! Or nominate your favorite league and tell us why they should be featured on wftda.com! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.