When many think of womenâ€™s roller derby, visions of lean, mean, women on wheels, elbowing and beating each other to the ground may come to mind. While the nature of the full-contact sport encourages a few hip bumps and shoves, there are an equal number of smiles and high fives among the ladies on our Townâ€™s roller derby team. The Castle Rock â€˜nâ€™ Rollers are friends who pride themselves in playing hard and empowering women, while also lending their time to a sport that supports the community.
The local non-profit has represented Castle Rock among the nationâ€™s top roller derby leagues since 2008. That was the year that a few local women skaters decided to make their idea a reality, setting out to form the Castle Rock â€˜nâ€™ Rollers (CRR); the first local all-female, flat track league.
Founders sought to create a team that invited all women to join, despite age or athletic ability. â€œOur team has all shapes, sizes and ages,â€ commented team Co-Captain, Stoli Roller, â€œWe have all levels, from ladies who have never put on skates before to ladies who are pretty good on skates.â€ In welcoming a diverse group of women, the team has yet to turn anyone who shows an interest in skating away.
Ladies with a desire to â€˜derbyâ€™ need only learn a set of skills and pass a test to graduate. â€œThereâ€™s a set of skills you have to learn before you are allowed to scrimmage and bout (participate in scoring games) â€“ we donâ€™t just throw girls in there and say â€˜okay, now hit somebody,â€™â€ smiled Stoli. â€œThat (training) usually takes about three months if you are experienced skater, six to eight months if youâ€™re new to skating.â€
Because itâ€™s a full-contact sport, making sure participants are outfitted in the proper gear and practicing safety is similarly important. â€œCRR follows Womenâ€™s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules and safety guidelines. Obviously, there is some danger of getting hurt, so we want skaters to be protected and to feel comfortable on their skates â€“ not only for themselves but for everyone else,â€ she added.
After gearing up and passing the test, a skater then graduates to earning a â€˜derbyâ€™ name. That particular day brought skaters over to introduce themselves, letting names like â€˜Awesome Sauce, Evie Rider, Lovestruck and Per Pressure roll off their tongues. Stoli remarked, â€œWhen you first start in derby you go by your real name and then after passing your skills test you get your derby name; itâ€™s like a rite of passage.â€
Girls just want to have fun
Although Colorado happens to be home to Rocky Mountain Roller Dolls and Denver Roller Derby – some of the top female derby leagues in the nation – Castle Rock â€˜nâ€™ Rollers have opted for a less competitive route. â€œWhatâ€™s unique about our teams is that we have suburban moms and several girls with busy schedules,â€ Stoli said. Rather than trying to stick to a tough practice schedule and attain status in the derby world, they are focusing on having fun and helping out the community.
The team of skaters gives back to Castle Rock by donating the $12-14 dollar entrance fee the public pays to local non-profits like the Crisis Center as well as to the Castle Rock Fire and Police Departments. â€œWe have had events where our team skates against some people from the Castle Rock Fire Department. For those events, after we pay for the venue, whatever is left gets donated,â€ smiled Stoli.
But when all is said and done, the team wants to stay focused on the basics: getting a great workout, having a blast and giving back to the community they are part of. â€œThe team has an amazing group of girls who have fun knocking each other around,â€ Stoli laughed. â€œAfter weâ€™re done (with a practice or bout), we go somewhere to knock down a few beers.â€
For more information on attending a bout or joining the team, please visit: Castle Rock ‘n’ Rollers