October 2012 Featured League: Wasatch Roller Derby

October 10, 2012

Wasatch Roller Derby’s journey through this season exemplifies the league's commitment and perseverance. These skaters from Salt Lake City, Utah are tough! After playing four back to back full length bouts, they won the 2011 Spudtown Knockdown tournament (hosted by the Treasure Valley Rollergirls). This season, WRD has proved they are ready to compete at the highest levels of roller derby. With a league of 55 members, WRD has worked hard to train and prepare, and their debut at the 2012 West Region Playoffs is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Read on to learn more about Wasatch Roller Derby!

Wasatch Roller Derby
Photo by Jason O'Durgy

Wasatch Roller Derby is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

How does your season run?
We have a long season like most leagues do. The season runs from January to October and then we take November and December to plan for the next season.

What are the closest WFTDA leagues to you?
Our closest WFTDA league is Junction City Roller Dolls about an hour north of us in Ogden ,Utah. We also have the Happy Valley Derby Darlins, currently a WFTDA Apprentice league, south of us in Spanish Fork, Utah.

How many skaters/teams do you have?
WRD is currently comprised of 55 skaters. In addition, we have the most amazing crew of officials who make it all possible.

How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
We are a non-profit and have a board of directors. We have two home teams: Hot Wheelers and Black Diamond Divas, and in 2013 we will add an additional home team (Salt Flat Fallout). We have both "A" and "B" travel teams, the Midnight Terror and Bonneville Bone Crushers respectively.

Photo by Masonite Burn

Who are Wasatch Roller Derby’s biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
As far as rivals go that seems to be ever changing. As our skill has increased, we have had the chance to face off against so many amazing teams. In the past we have had some amazing games with the Treasure Valley Rollergirls, and have loved traveling to Boise, Idaho as well as welcoming them on our turf. In addition, we had two amazing games against the Angel City Derby Girls this year and look forward to more.

Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
There are some many amazing teams that Wasatch Roller Derby has had contact with over the past four years. We'd like to give a shout out to Angel City Derby Girls, Rat City Rollergirls, and Arizona Roller Derby. We had a blast playing all of you at West Region Playoffs this year! Also, a shout out to the Red Rockettes Roller Derby, the recreational roller derby league in Salt Lake City.

How does roller derby fit into the culture of Salt Lake City, Utah? How does your league work to attract fans and skaters?
Salt Lake City is very conservative. Like other cities with a dominant religion, we need to understand the culture and the fan base that we have a desire to grow. WRD focuses on trying to create more of a family friendly atmosphere for our bouts and events. Living in a state with strong religious ties you need to be able to advertise to a broad spectrum of fans. We have a very conservative league due to our demographic, but we think the people of Utah have really started to love roller derby.

We understand that you hold numerous roller derby clinics and “picnic” scrimmages throughout the year, including one coming up on the 12th and 13th of October. Please tell us how these events are organized.
When we started this league we wanted to focus all of our efforts on playing roller derby. Our picnic scrimmages are our main fundraisers throughout the year. They are meant to be laid back, fun events to bring all roller derby people together. Our events include both women's and co-ed scrimmages, and down the road we may add some clinics for juniors. We also have clinics for officials as part of the event. These include both on- and off-skates training.

Skull Candi and Honey Delunatic
Photo by Jason O'Durgy

The event is organized to have something for everyone and build camaraderie with neighboring leagues.

What are your biggest training challenges?
We think there are always training challenges and we face new ones every year. This year our biggest challenge was training newer skaters while we were also trying to prepare Midnight Terror (our WFTDA chartered team) to head off to Region Playoffs for the first time. Every time our league grows exponentially it is also another hurdle that we must overcome.

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We lease a warehouse. We currently have roller derby there six days a week. We also hold bouts at our warehouse, which we fondly refer to as the Derby Depot.

How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among the league teams?
We have regular league practice twice a week and scrimmage twice a month. The travel teams arrange their own schedules. This is a benefit of having a warehouse! The biggest challenge of having a warehouse is paying for it!!

WRD's Midnight Terror made it to this year's West Region Playoffs, Bay of Reckoning, for the first time ever. Congratulations! What steps did your league take to reach this goal?
It has been a goal since day one and it has been the main focus of WRD. Every year we planned and trained to eventually play at Region Playoffs, and 2012 was the year!

The Midnight Terror had an impressive showing at Bay of Reckoning, especially for your league's first time at a playoff tournament. Congratulations again! How did you prepare for this multi-day, multi-bout tournament?
We learned the power of endurance at the Treasure Valley Rollergirls' Spudtown Knockdown tournament in 2011. We played through the loser's bracket, played four back to back full length bouts with less than 30 minutes between each game, and won the tournament. We had bleeding feet, broken skates, and injured girls, but we succeeded. We just continue to train in case we ever have to repeat that situation (hopefully that will never happen again!)

Medusa Damage
Photo by Jason O'Durgy

What has the Midnight Terror's experience at Bay of Reckoning taught you for next season? What are WRD's goals for 2013?
Playing at West Region Playoffs taught us that we have a good foundation and we need to continue to improve. So, Wasatch will continue to strive to increase its skill and competitive spirit into 2013.

Who are the “behind the scenes” skaters who make your league run?
Medusa Damage and Honey Delunatic are the founders of our league. They have really worked hard to make this league grow and prosper. Honey is retiring from roller derby at the end of 2012. Medusa will continue on with the league. We also have a great Board of Directors that helps to “keep the ship sailing.”

Who are some of your star on-track skaters and why?
We have lots of great skaters at WRD. Everyone who went to West Region Playoffs is amazing. But what really makes WRD skaters awesome is that we work together as a team.

WRD had a loud and proud fan section in attendance at Bay of Reckoning. Please tell us about the giant cut out faces they were waving. What does it mean to WRD to have such devoted fans?

WRD Fans at 2012 West Region Playoffs
Photo by Jules Doyle

That is not the first time that we debuted WRD's cheering sections. We really take them everywhere with us. Our fans help to keep the team energized on the track. We really do have the most amazing fans who have spent countless hours driving or money flying to our away games this year. We will never be able to say enough thanks. For the giant heads, the idea was originally done at one of our away games for Colonel Skirts so the team decided to take the heads on the road. We placed them all in a box to make the journey to California with us.

Wasatch Roller Derby is a member of the WFTDA’s West region. What do you think are the benefits and challenges of being in the West region?
We love being part of the West region. There is great roller derby played here. For most areas of the west – Not Utah – there are so many teams condensed into small areas. It helps to just play more derby.

What next big bout are you most looking forward to and why? Or, conversely, what big plans does WRD have for the off season?
The off season is relative. WRD will shut down for two weeks around Christmas but otherwise we will still be busy. As far as 2013, we are currently planning our schedule and we are excited to see who is on it and how it turns out!

WRD chooses a variety of non-profit charities to support through your skating. What are some of the charities that are nearest and dearest to WRD's heart? How does your team select the charities each year?
We love all of our charities. It is hard to pick just one. American Diabetes Association was our first charity and is near and dear to a few of us at WRD. We have a charity committee who decides which charities to spotlight, and we take suggestions from league members and fans. As far as events left for 2012: every year we do a clothing and goods drive for South Valley Sanctuary, which is a local domestic violence shelter. This will be our fifth year supporting that charity.

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! Please contact webmaster@wftda.com.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.