The tradition of a physical sport that has become somewhat of a religion in the Valley for a group of tattooed and sassy women and their faithful followers is set to begin its eighth year with many familiar faces as well as fresh meat.
At 7 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 15, inside Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona Derby Dames Roller Derby League is scheduled to begin its season opener with two matches that will be brutally, if not beautifully, played for blood, guts, glory and fun.
The Brutal Beauties will take on the Schoolyard Scrappers in the first bout and the Bombshells and Coffin Draggers will mix it up in the nightcap.
The Rev. Knuckleface, co-captain of the Regulators, a team of referees patrolling the rink to make sure everything is on the up and up, wants to spread the message about the upcoming season:
“I’m crazy excited about the upcoming bout,” Knuckleface said. “We have been training and studying hard in preparation for the upcoming season.”
Players Rowdy Roulette, blocker for the Runaway Brides, Sho Nuff and Emma Grenade, blocker and pivot for the Bombshells, respectively, the Hot-Shots and All-Star are among just a few of the favorites fans will return to see.
The league players practice the mantra: “Live Fast and Die Pretty.”
The players will dish out hits as well as take them in one-minute “jams,” speeding around the track on roller skates to see who can score the most points by the number of opposing players they can speed past.
“I’m excited to play against the Draggers. The Coffin Draggers are the best of the best,” Sho Nuff said. “I want the Bombshells to be the first team to take away the Draggers’ three-year winning streak.”
For the last three years, the Coffin Draggers have ended the regular season undefeated and have won the league championship five of the last seven years.
There are about 125 members in the league. About half of them being from the East Valley and most range in age from late 20’s to late 30’s, according to league president Kristi Bravo, a.k.a. Rowdy Roulette.
Participants must be 18 or older.
The league has six teams: The Bombshells, the Brutal Beauties, Runaway Brides, Schoolyard Scrappers, the AZDD Production Team and the Coffin Draggers.
Just last month, the League held tryouts at Mesa Skateland where about 60 women tried out. But only 35 emerged as the toughest and the fastest to make the league.
So far, 32 of them remain and will be drafted by the teams after they make the sub-pool.
Among the “fresh meat” are mother-daughter combo Melanie and Ari Hughes of San Tan Valley and others from the East Valley.
The league plays its games — all doubleheaders — at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum Phoenix. Gates open an hour prior to bouts.
Tickets are $20 for VIP and $12 for general admission. Kids 12 and younger watch for free.
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