May 1, 2014
Life in Sin City is full of action, and the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls have fought hard to earn a loyal following from fans in the community. They've also had an impact on the WFTDA rankings in 2013, competing in the 2013 Division 2 Playoffs in Des Moines, and placing 4th overall. Taking on challenges as big as the Vegas strip, the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls are gearing up to host this year's WFTDA annual meeting on Memorial Day weekend (for the second time), and they have big aspirations for their 2014 season. Learn more about how this month's featured league manages to get things done on and off the track, while still remaining oh so fabulous!
What city are you based in? We are located in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!
How does your season run?
We are “in-season” from January to October, and take November and December for off-season. Our bout schedule runs from March to October, and sometimes later for our travel teams. We used to have our off-season in the summer months because we practiced at an outdoor track. Once we moved to our indoor facility, we shifted our season schedule to be more in line with other WFTDA leagues. The 2014 season is already our 9th season!
What are the closest WFTDA leagues to you?
The closest WFTDA leagues to us are the Southern California leagues. Believe it or not, we’re the only active WFTDA league in Nevada! We don’t think very many leagues can claim that for their entire state.
How many skaters/teams do you have?
SCRG currently has: four home teams, three travel teams, and a fresh meat group. Including volunteers, we have approximately 100 members.
How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
This is where a flow chart would probably be helpful! SCRG is set up with split management. The board of directors focuses mainly on the business side of things (i.e., items that directly affect our bank account), events and appearances, any grievances that may come in, and oversees the various committees. SCRG Training Committee focuses on all things skating related. It is comprised of home team captains, travel team captains, our non-skater coaches, and BoD vice-president co-heads with an elected committee head. Each active skater is expected to do a minimum of five league work hours per month.
We have four home teams: The Notorious VIP, Tommy Gun Terrors, Hoover Damned, and Flying Aces. We also have three levels of travel teams: SCRG All-Stars (WFTDA Charter), Black Spade Betties (B level), and F.A.S.T. (C level).
Who is your biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
The Santa Cruz Derby Girls have always been one of our toughest yet funnest opponents to play. We have yet to beat them, but hopefully we will someday! We had the opportunity to play them at their first bout at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. The stands were packed and it was such a close game! It felt electric. It has been amazing to watch them improve each season and move up the rankings from Division 2 to a solid Division 1 placement.
Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
Des Moines Derby Dames! We were first introduced when Des Moines hosted the D2 Playoff tournament we attended in 2013. We were blown away by their amazing hosting skills! Special shout out to Whackajawea: she was our hostess with the mostest for the 2013 tournament and definitely went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of that weekend. Since then, they have travelled to our city to play us and it was a wonderful weekend. They are a tough team and we look forward to seeing them at D2 Playoffs eventually!
What are the individual challenges of your city?
Being in Las Vegas, entertainment capital of the US, we have a LOT of competition. That would be the biggest issue; trying to keep boosting ticket sales in a city with a billion other entertainment/sporting distractions can be tough. We try to do a lot of promoting around town at different events to talk up our games.
Being in fabulous Las Vegas, have you had any opportunities to work with any celebrities?
We did an episode of “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” that aired on the History Channel and it was a lot of fun!
What are your biggest training challenges?
We experience various training challenges throughout a season but the main one would be space! SCRG leases a 10,000 square foot warehouse that is exclusively ours. However, all of our practices have to take place in the evening because the majority of our skaters work traditional Monday to Friday, 9a.m. to 5p.m. jobs. It takes some serious juggling to make sure all of our practices are accommodated.
What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
When SCRG was first formed, all practices took place at a local park that allowed us to paint our own derby track on the inline hockey rink. Fast forward to five years later and we were able to lease a warehouse on the North side of town. Now affectionately known as The Fab Lab, we have a home and we love it. It’s not the fanciest of facilities, but it’s ours! We share the facility with the Sin City Junior Rollers as well. Our public bouts are held on the Las Vegas Strip at the Riviera Hotel & Casino.
How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among your teams/skaters?
Skaters enter our Fresh Meat Bootcamp and eventually graduate to Scrimmage 101 to prepare for minimum skills. Once they pass minimum skills they move into our Spades program and are eligible to be drafted to one of our four home teams. After a skater is drafted to a home team, they become eligible to participate in the next round of travel team tryouts. This is the first year we’ve been able to hold tryouts for a C level team and we’re so excited about that! This is our “F.A.S.T.” group, which stands for Future All Stars in Training and their training will mimic that of the A and B level teams.
Our A and B level travel teams practice together with the goal of being “30 strong” rather than split into A Team and B Team. We hold just a couple of tryouts per year as needed to fill any open spots. With approximately 75 active skaters, we are running 11 required two-hour practices per week and additional extra credit practices as well. Each level has two practices and one scrimmage per week, and travel teams have additional practices in the two weeks leading up to a game. Home teams schedule their practices on their own. Skaters are typically skating three to six days per week and are encouraged to do as many off-skates workouts as possible.
Who are some “behind the scenes” skaters/members who really help your league run?
Every member in SCRG has a HUGE part in making things happen! A big cornerstone for our league is accountability. If something isn’t getting done, everyone is responsible for it. Some individuals who have been with SCRG for a while and tend to go well beyond their job descriptions would be Art Head CMY K.O., Marketing Head Lisa Carr, ref/handyman DVS-One, Vice President Sticky Fingers, Treasurer Despicable Mia, President 21 Guns, long time bout volunteer Julie Starr, and our head WFTDA rep/WFTDACon planning guru Erma Gherd. But truly, SCRG has so many behind the scenes superstars it’s hard to single out any one person!
Who are some of your star skaters on the track, and why?
Our charter roster has experienced some pretty big changes since the end of the 2013 season and our appearance at D2 Playoffs. The 2014 WFTDA charter is really one big superstar! So many of our skaters have really stepped up and taken their game to the next level. All of SCRG envies our All-Star captain Dairy Heir for her amazing defensive use of her derriere! Anti-Hero is our other All-Star captain and she has the ability to analyze game play in ways most of us dream of. Geneva Conviction is an amazing blocker, jammer, and leader. She is a huge role model to every single skater in SCRG not only due to her versatility on the track, but she’s also a huge motivator for us to complete our off skates workouts.
In 2013 you competed in the Division 2 Playoffs as the number one seed and finished in 4th place out of a tough bracket. Congratulations! What are some of your league’s ambitions heading into the 2014 season?
We definitely learned a lot about our team at D2 Playoffs in 2013. It was a huge opportunity to be at the first ever WFTDA D2 playoff tournament and one that we didn’t take lightly. Our goals for the 2014 season are to further develop and foster a positive, challenging, and rewarding team environment; expand and diversify the skills, abilities, and makeup of our skaters; lay the groundwork for continued success and future growth; participate in challenging, competitive bouts; and return to D2 Playoffs and earn a place on the podium (bring home some WFTDA jewelry!).
Do you have any big bouts coming up that you’re really looking forward to? Why?
On May 24th our All-Stars are playing San Fernando Valley Roller Derby. This will take place during the WFTDA annual meeting weekend, and we’re super excited to put on a good game for the crowd of derby lovers! On July 12th our All-Stars will head to Wasatch Roller Derby and we’re looking forward to the challenge, WRD is always an exciting matchup for us.
Your league has really built not only a solid reputation in your community, but also a recognizable “brand” through marketing and promotions. In a city with no lack of nightly activities, what advice do you have for other leagues who are working to build a bigger presence in a competitive entertainment environment?
We know we can’t compete with the marketing budgets of the traditional Las Vegas strip entertainment options so we try to get the biggest bang for our much smaller bucks. Our advice is to focus first on what’s free or inexpensive: social media, consistent press releases, street team (events and flyering businesses), and an email newsletter. We used to be able to sell out bouts by focusing solely on social media, especially Facebook. With the changes in the Facebook news feed algorithm, we’ve had to add paid Facebook campaigns into our marketing budget. Also, focus on consistency in the look and feel of your materials. Our art and marketing committee heads sit down to find their “voice” and style guidelines at the beginning of each season. We have been fortunate to have very talented skaters who work in graphic design. If you don’t have those resources available, reach out to a local college or reach out to your fans to see if you can wrangle a graphic design professional as a volunteer.
If you’re in a smaller market, traditional media might be much more reasonably priced for you. Billboards and TV have been out of reach for us but we recently tried some radio spots, which more than doubled the traffic to our website. And as we mentioned, we are very lucky to have the Las Vegas Weekly magazine as an in-kind sponsor that provides advertising space the week of each bout.
How does your league give back to the community?
At all of our bouts we hold a raffle with prizes from various sponsors. The raffle proceeds are then donated to the charity we’ve adopted for the season. For our 9th season we chose The Shade Tree, a women’s shelter located in Las Vegas.
You’ll be hosting the 2014 WFTDA Annual Meeting over Memorial Day weekend. What can attendees look forward to experiencing at the conference?
A lot of fun! We have evening events scheduled for each day of the conference. We plan to kick things off with a pool party reception on Thursday, so be sure to bring your sunscreen and floaties! There will be drinks, dancing, and, of course, some derby debauchery on Friday and Saturday. Saturday will also bring San Fernando Valley Roller Derby to play the SCRG All-Stars, featuring an opening bout by the Sin City Junior Rollers! The weekend will end with an open scrimmage on Sunday night.
This will be SCRG’s second time hosting the Annual Meeting. The WFTDA-verse thanks you! How has the conference evolved since the last time you hosted in 2011?
The social aspect of the meeting is a lot more important in the planning of things, but meetings and classes still take precedence. The number of WFTDA member leagues has grown A LOT since we last hosted so the number of attendees has grown with it. Overall, the general size of the conference has increased!
Do you have any big fundraisers coming up?
We have a golf tournament fundraiser coming up on Mother’s Day weekend! Details can be found on our website!
Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
Whole Foods Las Vegas has been providing our bout day fuel for two seasons. We love them! They always make sure we have plenty of water, sports drinks, and snacks to make it through game day. Viva Las Vegas Skate Co. is run by one of our skaters, BeatHer Bailey. It is our only local skate shop and they do an excellent job of taking care of our skaters. Las Vegas Weekly has also been an amazing in-kind sponsor, providing very generous advertising space.
Do you have a special message for your fans?
THANK YOU! It has been such an incredibly exciting nine seasons and we would not be here without your continued support!!
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Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.