Roller derby team makes great impact in debut
(Originally published in The Kindersley Clarion on October 8, 2014)
Story and photos by: Kyle Jahns
If you could hear the sounds of bones cracking and bodies smacking at the West Central Events Centre on the weekend, don’t be too alarmed. The women of Kindersley were just proudly displaying the town’s newest sport to the community.
The Kindersley Crude Hitters, the roller derby team, took part in its inaugural bout on Oct. 4 in the Kindersley Curling Club. The Crude Hitters took on Dot’s Rebels of Saskatoon, also competing in their first official bout.
The event opened with the junior derby members showing off the skills they’ve learned over the past six months of training.
Next, the teams were introduced in grand fashion with entrance music, player introductions, and lights. The Crude Hitters hit the track to an enormous cheer from the home town crowd who was ready to see their new home team compete.
And compete did they ever. Founding members Jo ‘Chew Toye’ McLeod and Britenie ‘Black Betty’ Georget were relieved to see their team cruise to a great start.
In roller derby, each team has four blockers and one jammer on the track at each time. The blockers from each team line up first, and the jammer from each team starts behind the blockers. It’s the jammers’ goal to get past the line of blockers in front of them as they circle the track. A jammer is the only player on the track who can score points, and they earn one point for each opposition blocker passed. The first jammer to break through the blocking line is considered the lead jammer. The lead jammer controls the clock, meaning they can call off the jam once they’ve accumulated points. A jam session can only last two minutes before a new set of players take over the track. Two full periods of 30 minutes are played, with a halftime intermission.
Despite the rough nature of the game, penalties are in effect and can put a team at a disadvantage during the jam. One less blocker means it’s easier for the opposition jammer to break through the line. If a jammer receives a penalty, it’s called a power jam and the opposition team will get the chance to score as many points as possible with only one jammer on the track.
The Crude Hitters won the bout in commanding fashion by a score of 293-155 and the team wasted no time showing the audience what they had been practicing.
Black Betty was one of the most effective players on the track among both teams, and mastered toeing the boundary line to elude would be body checks and blocks. Black Betty said it’s challenging to read an opposition that she isn’t familiar with, but good communication helped her break through the line often and regularly be the lead jammer.
“Just being patient, watching what they’re doing, and ensure that our blockers and jammers are communicating really well,” Black Betty said.
The likes of Chew Toye and other Crude Hitters blockers did a great job of holding up the Dot’s Rebels jammers and made sure they weren’t getting through the line without being hit into the ground, or receiving some kind impact along the way.
“Keeping a strong line, talking and communicating with each other, trusting each other, honestly pushing each other around because you have to,” Chew Toye said regarding how the team managed to get off to a great start.
After back-to-back power jams, the Crude Hitters took a 54-18 lead early in the first period and did not relent. Determined to put up as many points as possible, the Crude Hitters had 182 points after the first period of play. The ladies were loosening up as the game went on, and were seen frequently dancing to the music with teammates and opponents on the track during the stoppages in play.
As the clocked ticked to zero in the final period, the audience lined the track and cheered on the local team that skated around receiving high fives from everyone in sight.
“We did not think that six months ago when we started this that one: we’d have that much response, and two: that we’d make it this far in such a short period of time,” Black Betty said.
The sport is brand new to the town of Kindersley and over 600 people were curious to see what it was all about. The audience’s gender didn’t matter as the roller derby bout had a little bit for everyone. Chew Toye believes this is only the beginning of what will be a great new sports franchise in Kindersley.
“People talk about it all the time and they clearly loved it. How can you not love it? It’s something different, it’s aggressive, it’s women being something that they generally are not,” Chew Toye said.
“Powerful,” Black Betty added.
And resilient. After the bout Black Betty and Chew Toye said they didn’t feel any pain while out on the track despite being hit to the ground and in Chew Toye’s case, getting cracked in the jaw. Chew Toye and the rest of the Crude Hitters were going to be experiencing “bangovers” for the next few days.
The Crude Hitters will play one more scrimmage in Saskatoon on Oct. 25. Then the group will start again in January with practices, and classes for junior members.
Chew Toye anticipates a lot of people being interested in joining after seeing what all the fuss was about. A Fresh Meat Info Night will be held on Oct. 9 in the curling rink at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the sport can attend.
The Crude Hitters thank everyone in the community for support and sponsorship to make this team a reality in such a short amount of time.
The fun in roller derby lies beyond the hard hits on the track. Each team member creates an alter-ego for themselves. Here’s this year’s Crude Hitters roster: Britenie ‘Black Betty’ Georget, Jo ‘Chew Toye’ McLeod, Harmony ‘Harmaggedon’ Boisjoli, Cymric ‘Sinister-Cym’ Gilbert, Simone ‘Frenchy’ Besse, Katie ‘Pushy Kat’ Raugust, Jenny ‘Drag Her’ Larocque, Anita ‘Sweet Marie’ Thomas, Emily ‘La Rock U’ Meyer, Joelle ‘Steamrollin Jo’ Johnston, Tanis ‘Molly Tov’ Pierce, Cora ‘Cannon Bomb’ Cannon, Sherry ‘Sher The Pain’ Werner, Carrie ‘Nukl Kisses’ Besplug, Bobbi ‘Sugar Rush’ Elliot, Holly ‘Break Her’ Goddard, Amy ‘Smokin Outlaw’ Thiessen, Crystal ‘Pistol Whip’ Perkins, Karley ‘Knarley’ Twin, Tegan ‘Vista Cruiser’ Seebach, Selena ‘Sear Chaos’ Edmunds, Danielle ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ Renaud, Jennifer ‘McNugget’ McDonald, Kendall ‘Tinker Hell’ Miller, Trina ‘Fierceness’ Gagne, Nicole ‘Bi-Roller Disorder’ Giles. Coaches: Kelly Burkell, Jo ‘Bulljozer’ Simpson, and guest jammer coach Dean ‘Vic Vega’ Toles.