TT Skater and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Beyond Thunderdame #16

Derby Daze and our August Wheels of Justice bouts are right around the corner! To continue our chats with WOJ skaters and DD coaches, we caught up with recent transfer Beyond Thunderdame. Dame hit Rose City like a storm last fall, getting picked up by the Break Neck Betties and then Wheels. She is also coaching our recreational team, the Wreckers! She is such an asset to the Rose family, we are stoked to sit down and chat about Mad Max and MC Hammer.

How did you come to discover derby? Did you play sports before derby?

I had some friends, Lenore Gore and Clawed Monet, that played derby and planted the idea in my head that I might enjoy it. It took me years to actually get up the courage to try out! I hadn’t played sports since I was 16, but I did ride a bike everywhere.

What is the origin of your derby name?

Two women enter. One woman leaves.

How long have you been skating?

I started skating in September 2013.

What other teams have you played for, and when did you transfer to RCR?

I started skating with Big Easy Rollergirls in New Orleans, and transferred to Rose in September 2016.

What made you want to move to Portland and join WOJ?

I wanted the opportunity to learn from the best skaters and coaches in the world. I’d already gotten to experience their excellent training firsthand when Left Turn Coaching put on a clinic in New Orleans. I grew up in Oregon City, so taking the chance to come play roller derby for my hometown team was something of a dream for me.

How are you finding practices and scrimmages with the team so far?

Intense, challenging, competitive, and inspiring. Everything I was hoping for.

WOJ has a team of jammers and specific “jammer time”. What do you learn at jammer time, and what do you like most about it?

Stop. Jammertime! Like the name implies, we learn and hone skills that help us say “U can’t touch this” as we get through the pack.

You’re working so hard and improving at such a rapid rate! What are your goals for the rest of the 2017 season?

Photo credit: Regularman Photography

Thanks! I really want to continue to mesh with my teammates and get better at playing with my offense.

What makes being on WOJ worth it?

My incredible teammates. I’m constantly in awe of the people around me. It’s not just their talent and dedication, but the quality of their character. Practicing and competing at this level can be exhausting, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?

A sport is a just a sport. Roller derby to me has been about the wonderful people I’ve met, the challenges we overcome to learn and succeed at this game, and the

Register for Derby Daze and skate with Beyond Thunderdame! And don’t forget to grab tickets to the Rose/Seattle bouts to grab a glimpse of her on the track!

TT and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Gal of Fray #23

One of the newest superstars to the team is #23 Gal of Fray! She is really excited to be a part of Rose City and to skate for Team Purple!

How did you come to discover derby? Did you play sports before derby?

 

Photo credit: Keary Ortiz

My childhood friend’s mother played roller derby with a local league and her bad-assery inspired me to give it a try. Besides doing ballet for 7 years, I wasn’t able to stay dedicated to a single sport. I quickly realized that soccer and basketball were too cliquey, that cross-country was literally just running, that swimming was boring, that biking was not the most fun in the rain, etc. I was always eager to try out new things, but nothing stuck. I became sold on roller derby because of how empowering and inclusive it was.

What is the origin of your derby name?

In the 8th grade, I was at the height of my Doctor Who obsession. The Doctor’s home planet is called Gallifrey. Presto! Gal of Fray is born!

How long have you been skating?

Just made it to 5 years this past February. Being selected for WOJ was a nice 5th anniversary present.

What other teams have you played for, and when did you transfer to RCR?

Oh boy, I’ve played for around 10 teams now, 6 of which were junior teams. I transferred from Emerald City’s Reservoir Dolls to RCR’s Fresh Meat in September of 2016. Then I made it onto the Break Neck Betties in October 2016 and WOJ in March 2017.

When you tried out for TT, you said you had to choose between trying out as a blocker or jammer. There aren’t many double threats in the game these days – how have you been able to keep up with both blocking and jamming skills over the years?

Ever since I started playing roller derby, I pretty much filled whichever position was most needed. I started out as a jammer, and didn’t really block much until 2 or so years into derby. Luckily, I’ve found that applying jammer skills to blocking is much more natural than the other way around. I am happy that I’ve kept both things up! Nowadays, I’m a pivot for WOJ but a jammer for my home team, the Break Neck Betties. I think I’ve found a great balance, for sure. I have really settled into being a pivot—it is a very specific position and I am very proud that I can be relied upon to perform both as a blocker and as a jammer

. I hope to take the world by surprise and inspire people to strive for versatility in roller derby.

You only just recently made the team, and jumped straight up to the main blocking rotation. How does blocking with WOJ differ from playing with your former teams?

It’s beautiful; it’s much cleaner derby. The players on this team have skills that are so crisp and strategic awareness that is truly astounding. I appreciate that everyone is committed to hard work while still seeing the human in everyone.

What’s next? What are your goals right now?

Hydra? USA Roller Derby? All-star pivot life?

What makes being on TT worth it?

That every practice, I am faced with challenges and that every game, I see pay-off from overcoming those challenges.

You’re also on USARS Team USA. What’s it like to play two different rulesets? And when can we watch you play for Team USA?

Playing two rulesets it like speaking two languages—it takes some adjusting when you switch between the two but you lock it down pretty quickly once you get going. I started playing USARS at 2015 USARS Nationals so I’ve had some time to adjust. You do have to deal with some negative attitudes that some people have towards a type of roller derby that they aren’t familiar with, but like many say: “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!” I am always incredibly eager to talk about how USARS and WFTDA compare. USARS Team USA will be traveling to Nanjing, China in September 2017 for the World Roller Games. Depending on which WFTDA playoff WOJ ends up attending, I might be able to represent this year in China!

Photo credit: Regularman Photography

Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?

Derby continues to teach me the value of teamwork, patience, and respect for my peers as well as myself.

What is the best derby advice you have received over the years? And what advice do you have for skaters looking to join their league’s travel team

Best advice received: get low. Whether it is getting a booty on a jammer, avoiding O, or being a fierce brace, I always use my ability to get low to my advantage. If you’re looking to join your league’s travel team, don’t focus on the little things. If you can show that you are eager to learn, willing to work hard, and dedicated to the sport, you will go much farther than with any fancy footwork.

TT Skater and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Vanna Curtis #93

Rose City Rollers is such an awesome league that we have skaters transferring here from all over the country at all different levels of game play. One of those transfers is Vanna Curtis #93. We caught up with Vanna to chat and about life and roller derby!

Photo credit: Keary Ortiz

Fun fact: Vanna was a Cliff Diver at bizarro Mexican Restaurant in Denver, Casa Bonita!

When did you start skating and where did you transfer from?

I started skating in 2011 with the Big Easy Rollergirls in New Orleans. I put on quad skates for the first time in my life at tryouts and I SUCKED! I transferred here from Denver Roller Derby.

Why did you move here from Denver?

Last season I came to Eugene to play with Denver. I wanted to spend some time in Portland after the tournament and check out some skateparks. My friend who I had planned to stay with in Portland bailed on me, so I hit up an old friend to crash on his couch. We had an amazing time and I totally fell in love with the guy. After champs  last season, I moved in with him.

What kind of sports did you play before roller derby?

I was a gymnast and a diver. I also competed in trampoline and tumbling meets and won a national championship for power tumbling when I was a teenager.

Why roller derby?

It’s my first team sport, and I’ve learned to work with and trust my teammates in order to be successful on the track. I love the bond my teammates and I share, it’s really special.

Photo credit: Regularman

With all your spare time (cute, right?) what do you love to do?

I’m on the Moxi skate team and I like rollerskating at skateparks a lot. I also enjoy tequila and hanging out with my dogs, fish, and lizard.

 Any advice for new skaters

You should only compare yourself to your old self, and never to another skater.

TT Skater and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Brute #48

Photo Credit: Keary Ortiz

Recently called “a revelation” by The Apex, Brute is no newcomer to the jam line. We caught up with Brute to learn a bit more about this amazing jammer! We are so excited to see her skate against Rat City in August and also learn a ton of cool jammer tricks from her at Derby Daze!

 

Tell us a little about your derby history. When did you start? With who? What teams have you been on?

I started skating when I was 17 with the Rose City Rosebuds. I spent a year with them learning the basics before I aged out and transferred to RCR’s training pool, the Rockets, which we used to call Fresh Meat. I spent a few months on the Rockets, during which time I made AOA. A few weeks after that I made the High Rollers. All in all I have been skating for 6 1/2 years.

You’ve recently had a change to your derby name. What prompted the change to just “Brute”?  

My old derby name was “Feliz Brutality”, which is a play on the phrase “Police Brutality”. Police brutality isn’t a very funny subject and I decided after a few seasons that it wasn’t something I wanted to make light of.

I’ve also never had strong feelings about the choose-your-own-name aspect of roller derby naming culture. The weird multilayered nicknames that teammates come up with are way more interesting to me! Licker N Split has recently taken to calling me Brute A Toot Toot. That’s hilarious.

You’ve also returned to WOJ after a brief hiatus. What brought you back, and how have things changed since the last time you were on the team?

I took time off WOJ to finish up my undergraduate degree and to give my life a little more time to settle down. Now that I’m out of school and skating my 4th season with team I feel better prepared for how hard and hectic the training schedule can get. I’m taking better care of myself physically and emotionally this season.

On the other side, WOJ gets better and better each year. We have a great team and are always striving to create a stronger, healthier team culture.

WOJ has a team of jammers and specific “jammer time”. What do you learn at jammer time, and what do you like most about it?

Jammer time is a great opportunity to break down jammer specific skills and get deliberate about our training. Even when I wasn’t on the team I would study our jammers (and our future jammers) to try and figure out what makes them so successful. Getting to listen to what they think about their jamming and how they hit the pack is even better.

Photo credit: Regularman Photography

You’ve come back strong and are making rosters consistently. What are your goals for the rest of the 2017 season?

Right now my goals are to stay afloat of WOJ’s constantly innovating strategy, gain 20 pounds, and get so good that I can talk the team into bringing back cap sleeve jerseys next season.  

What makes being on WOJ worth it?

The combination of highly competitive teammates with an intense training program means every practice you get to watch someone get better. It never really gets easier, but it makes the challenge worth it.

You’re also the Co-President of RCR. How do you balance being on TT, being President of the league, and having one of those “real life” things?

As far as my league work goes, I can be a bit bossy, so I try my hardest to never do anyone’s job for them. In the long run, this is usually best for everyone.

At home I do what every other busy person does and plan ahead. I love cooking and meal planning, and I take a lot of naps. I’m also lucky enough to live with WOJ Team Manager and close friend, Effy Stone’Em, who occasionally has to become my own personal manager. A few weeks ago before Home Team Championships I somehow got her to fold my laundry!

Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?

I came to roller derby at a huge transitional point in my life, so I can’t really separate growing up and maturing, from my roller derby career.  I started college the same year I captained my home team. I moved out of my parent’s home the first season I made a WOJ Charter roster as a jammer.

Roller derby has given me an amazing community of strong, assertive women, and I’m grateful for the constant inspiration they provide.

What is the best derby advice you have received over the years? And what advice do you have for skaters looking to join their league’s travel team?

No one is lying to you about how good you are. Take feedback, work to be your best, but don’t ever look for excuses for your success.

If you want to try out for travel team, give it everything you have. High level roller derby asks a lot of us, and that’s not for everyone. If you want the rewards, don’t shortchange yourself, or your team.

Catch Brute skating with her team, Wheels of Justice, on August 19th at the Hangar! And don’t forget to sign up for Derby Daze on August 11-13th if you want to learn her jammer tips and tricks!

TT Skater and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Bella Constrictor #155

Wheels of Justice just finished regular WFTDA season play and seriously rocked the competition. They are now heading into post-season and prep for Derby Daze, our very own Wheels of Justice bootcamp. We wanted to bring back our skater spotlights so that you can get to know your skaters and coaches! First up, Bella Constrictor #155!

Photo Credit: Keary Ortiz

How did you come to discover derby? Did you play sports before derby?

In 2006, my friend Slaybia Majora asked me to come watch her play with her team, The Heartless Heathers, in their championship bout against The Guns N Rollers at the Expo Center. I had no idea what was happening, but I loved every second of it! For someone was wasn’t in to sports ever, this seemed totally fun and totally accessible.

What is the origin of your derby name?

If Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes, snakes must be pretty scary.

How long have you been skating?

I’ve been skating since I was a tiny child (I had those Fisher Price plastic skates that go over your shoes), but I’ve been playing derby since 2009.

What other teams have you played for, and when did you transfer to RCR?

I started skating in for Providence Roller Derby in Providence, Rhode Island in 2009. I skated on a home team (Sakonnet River Roller Rats) and the All Stars (Killah Bees b team and Riveters a team). I moved back home to Portland in 2011 and was drafted to the Heartless Heathers for the 2012 home season. I just finished my 6th season with the Heathers and am proud to say that we are the 2017 Champs!

How long have you been on Wheels of Justice?

This is my third season with RCR’s All Stars

How has the team changed over the years?

There are no more boot covers or pace lines. I’m not mad, I’m just sayin’.

Photo credit: Tristan King

You’ve come up through the ranks and started making rosters in late 2016. What do you think contributed to you crossing the threshold to start making rosters? What did you have to do to get there?

Cross-training played a huge part in my improvement as a skater. Lifting weights and doing footwork drills like agility ladders helps me to stay strong, agile and reactive enough to keep up at such a high level of derby. Another factor is just getting to know myself as a skater. I’m not a flashy skater and I know my strength lies in staying with my wall and keeping it strong.  To prep for game day, it really helps for me to visualize using other skills besides just my skating skills to help my team win (I.e. How can I meet my teammates needs and help them do their best whether or not I’ll be skating too?). Watching footage and “talking Derby” has helped me hone my communication skills and to train my brain to always be thinking “next, next, next.” These skills are just as vital as skating and strength and agility. Lastly, skating with and being challenged by my teammates has helped me improve drastically. It’s true that skating with the best makes you the best.

What’s next? What are your goals right now?

My current goals are to continue to build on my aggression and intensity on the track. To continue to prove my reliability in game-play.  I’m ready to add more weight to my back squats, increase my speed on the agility ladder and skate in more jams than I did last season (even if it’s just one more jam! I count that as progress!).

How do you balance your physical job of working on a farm and being on Wheels? (Particularly now that we have practice four nights in a row…)

I nap a lot. Getting up so early for work and having late-night practices means I have to be very careful to sleep as much as I can, to eat as well as I can and to take the best care of my body as possible. I practice as an LMT as well, and try get bodywork whenever I need it. Derby athletes are notorious for powering through and I have to try to fight that urge and really listen to my body so I can make it through our long season. Additionally, my partner has been so supportive in helping me to meet these goals – encouraging me to sleep, feeding me and cheering me on. I am extremely lucky #HumbleBrag.

What makes being on Wheels worth it?

When you find that “flow “ state with your teammates on the track and you’re really killing it as a team. The best feeling is leaving the track with no regrets, knowing that our training paid off and we played OUR game. It’s pure magic.

Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?

1)Crop tops are for EVERYONE.

2) I’ve grown in my feminism. I’ll admit, I didn’t even know what intersectionality was before derby. Thank you!

3) I CAN AND SO CAN YOU

4) it’s not impossible if we do it together

What is the best derby advice you have received over the years? And what advice do you have for skaters looking to join their league’s travel team?

A huge lightbulb moment for me was in 2013, when my teammate Mel Mangles said, “play into the future… don’t go where the jammer was, go where they are going.” it blew my mind! Obviously there’s so many ways to interpret and apply this concept and it changes as derby changes, but it’s the advice that kick -started my mentality of “next, next, next.”

If you are thinking of joining your league’s travel team check in with yourself and ask yourself how hungry you are. Are you willing to do the extra work to grow and learn and improve? Are you ready to train harder than you thought was possible? Ask yourself why you are doing it? Do you want personal glory or are you stoked to be part of a well-oiled machine? Are you willing to the put the team first and give yourself fully to the roll they need you to play rather than the roll you may want to play? Are you open to critique and feedback? Because oh baby you’re going to receive it! Stay open, stay honest, be willing, be proud but stay humble. You’ve got this.

Catch Bella Constrictor at Derby Daze on August 11-13th and skating with her team on August 19th at the Hangar at Oaks Park!

Lifer Award Winner 2017: Intensive Scare & Mike Chexx!

Gold Star Volunteer: uppercase Gie

Gold Star Interview: Uppercase

By Natalie Williams

Rose City Rollers wants to give a hearty thank you to Angela ”uppercase Gie” Carr for her numerous years of dedicated service to our league. Uppercase started as an official and moved to coaching, skating, and serving on the Rose City Board of Directors. Both the adult recreational team, the Wreckers, and junior home team, the Undead Avengers, are lucky to call uppercase Gie their coach. Her role has grown with the league as well as her skating skills, recently being drafted by the Breakneck Betties.

coach uppercase

How has RCR changed since you began volunteering?

I started volunteering in 2011 as an NSO. Kill Nye, Tally Hussy, and I were the main penalty trackers. It was when we still had minor penalties so penalty tracking was super intense — you had to keep your eyes on the refs to see what penalties they were calling and for what team, mark them on your sheet, and then drop those off at the inside white board. We had hand signals for the jammer refs so they knew how many minor penalties their jammer was sitting on at the begin of each jam and had to help remind pack refs when blockers earned their fourth minor penalty and had to go to the box. No more minor penalties is a big change since then.

Do you remember your first Rose City Rollers bout? Where and when?

Yes, 2010 home team champs at the Expo Center. Wreck Deckard had a breakout jamming performance for High Rollers who won. I *think* it was their first time winning champs.

What has being an RCR volunteer meant to you?

It has meant a lot. I’ve grown as a person and professionally from volunteering with RCR. Having volunteer roles forced me into the RCR community more, which allowed me to meet and get to know many more wonderful people than if I had only skated.

Catch Gie and her team, the Break Neck Betties, bouting against the High Rollers on April 8th. Get your tickets here!

Betties Present the Spring Fling – Burlesque and Cabaret! – 4/15/2017

The Break Neck Betties Present THE SPRING FLING!

Come on down to the Tonic Lounge on Sandy Blvd for the best cabaret show of the year! The Betties have never disappointed with the Spring Fling and are sure to bring a fantastic line up of burlesque, performance, magic and humor. Stick around after and shake your thang to the sweet tunes of DJ Agent Meow.

The Details:
April 15, 2017
Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm
$5+ donation at the door
21+
Wheelchair accessible

RSVP on Facebook!

**Please note: Tonic Lounge is on 31st and Sandy. It was called the Panic Room last year and the sign currently says The Raven. This is the same venue as the 2016 Spring Fling**

TT Spotlight: Lil’ Bratney

Wheels of Justice season opens this weekend with the Purple vs White bout and we couldn’t be more excited! For those of you who are new around here, the Purple vs White bout is an exhibition bout featuring the entire roster of the Wheels of Justice. It is an amazing display of athleticism and fun. To help launch their season, we want to introduce you to another new member of the team: Lil’ Bratney!

Photo Credit: Ben Ma Photography

What is the origin of your derby name? Lil’ Bratney is a merging of my real name, Brittany, and the name my dad loving called me all my life, Brat. The Lil’ was added because when I started derby I was a tiny little twig so it fit.

When did you start skating? Started derby in March 2012. I didn’t have prior skating experience outside of rollerblading a bit as a kid.

Position played? Jammer

Where did you transfer from? Cherry City Roller Derby, Salem, OR

How did you discover roller derby? In 2010 a coworker of my husband’s who skated for RCR suggested I check it out. I went to a bout and thought “I can do that” but, I had just started a new job and wasn’t ready for another new thing. A year later I made a friend who skated for Cherry City (just south of RCR) and she encouraged me to join although, she had a broken ankle from derby at the time. Fast forward another year and I finally got up the courage to join at Cherry City.

Did you play sports before derby? I’d always been more inclined to the individual sports – I was a classical dancer for 16 years doing ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. I also snowboarded for years.

Can you spot Brat in this picture?

What derby/skating skill did you or do you struggle with the most? You’ll often hear me on the track saying to myself or my friends “can I get a new left foot please?!” Why are left footed skills so dang hard?!

Why did you move to Portland? We moved to Portland in 2009 from Gunnison, CO, sight unseen, with no real plan but, with dreams of city living. We now live in Salem but, still love Portland.

Favorite thing about Portland? ALL THE FOOD

Favorite thing to do outside derby? I love cross training and puppies. Not together, although that would be pretty awesome!

Who was the object of your most embarrassing teenage celebrity obsession? Eminem

What do you love about the sport / have you learned from the sport? I have learned so much about myself as an individual thanks to derby and the community. I honestly don’t believe I would actually be proud of the person I am today without derby. Plus, I live for competition and derby is excellent for that!

How do you balance life and being on TT? I thrive on planning and scheduling, logistics are my thing. Having my weeks planned out months in advance ensures I know and can make my commitments. Plus I am better equipped to know when I need to say no to something in life or derby so I can be the best teammate, friend, wife, or coworker I can be.

3 Things you want to accomplish in 2017? Left footed skating skills! Lift heavier things! Be the best teammate for my team!

Advice for any new skaters out there?Your derby journey is just that, yours. Love every moment of it, good and bad. Be open to and embrace the personal growth journey that is an amazing side effect of derby and most of all, have fun!

Thanks Lil Bratney for chatting with us and welcome to Rose City Rollers! We are so excited to see her skate in the Purple vs White bout on March 24th at the Hangar!

 

Carousel image photo credit: Ben Ma Photography

Meet the Fresh Meat: Murderbus #187

The talented skaters of the Rose City Rollers Fresh Meat program have been training hard and will take the track tonight against Utah’s Moab Roller Derby in a rare hometown bout. Don’t worry, you can still get tickets at the door! You definitely don’t want to miss your chance to catch a glimpse of these inspiring skaters who are training hard to earn places on a Rose City home team or even the Wheels of Justice. Today we’re chatting with Murderbus, a recent transfer to Rose City from Long Island Roller Rebels.  

How did you pick your derby name? When I started derby, I was telling my friends that I had to come up with a good name so I didn’t get stuck with something like Murderbus. Nothing else seemed right after that!

What position do you play? Blocker, sometimes pivot if I’m feeling dangerous.

How long have you been playing roller derby? 5 years in May.

And how long have you been in the RCR Fresh Meat program? Since August 2016.

Did you play any sports before roller derby? Nope, unless video games count.

What is your favorite thing about roller derby? The community, teamwork, and being allowed to hit people.

What is the most challenging thing about roller derby? Learning how to be an athlete and take better care of my body. You can’t really play well on a diet of Slim Jims and cherry coke.

Do you have a pre-bout ritual? I like to dance around to some cheesy pop music; lately Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, or Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Portland, other than play roller derby? Sinking quarters into arcade games at Quarter World.

What is your hidden superpower? I’m a software engineer at a self driving car company, so I guess mastery over robotics.

Catch Murderbus on the track TONIGHT with the rest of her Fresh Meat teammates. Fresh Meat takes on Utah’s Moab Roller Derby at 8pm. Tickets available at the door!