Local team gets rolling on the derby track

Amy Carton
The Farm Fresh Roller Girls from left: Brittany Cortez (Fox C. Lady), Lindsay Burnett (86’N Vixen), Necia Miller (Fannie Fracture), Heather Shook (Slamazon), Jody Nimrick?(Ruff Tuff TuTu) and Stefanie Valle (Mexxi Mayhem) practice July 21 at the Geneseo Community Center.

The sport of roller derby is making a comeback and is headed for Henry?County.

The Farm Fresh Roller Girls team was formed in May 2010 by Necia Miller, who use to play on a team in the Quad Cities, but wanted a team closer to where she lives in Orion.

“I wanted to have a team where I live and not have to drive,” said Miller. “I also had other friends who were interested and didn’t want to make the trip into Davenport.”

Roller derby is not like what it use to be in the ‘60s and ‘70s and is not like what people see in the movies.

The sport is regulated by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, which enforces rules and regulations through referees.

 In a competition, there are two teams on a flat track and the pack begins with a pivot, who sets the pace for the pack and is the last line of defense, followed by three blockers, who try to stop the jammer and make life difficult for the opposing team’s blockers, in the middle and a jammer, who fights through the pack and scores points by passing members of the opposing team, in the back.

The jammers fight to lap the pack and once they re-enter the pack they receive one point for each member of the opposing team they pass. A jam lasts a maximum of two minutes.

“Roller derby is becoming more mainstream and more popular with the movie ‘Whip It,’ but the movie is not totally correct,” said Miller. “It did get more people interested, but it is not realistic. There is no fighting.”

The team practices two nights a week for two hours in Orion at the Batters’ Box and  in Geneseo at the Geneseo Community Center.

Members must be at least 18 years old to participate.

At each practice, members are taught to skate, how to fall and fall safely. There are also minimum standards that each skater has to accomplish before they are allowed to compete in a bout, said Miller. Each skater also wears safety equipment from head to toe.

“It has been exciting getting a team together and people have had fun getting their Derby Girl persona, such as Mexxi Mayhem or Fox C. Lady,” said Miller, who’s known as “Fannie Fracture”. “Roller derby is great exercise, it is fun to be a part of a team and it is a way to relieve stress.

“I enjoy the camaraderie and being a part of a team. I also have gained friendships and like meeting people in all the towns. Our team is very family oriented.”

The team is currently looking for new girls to join the team and they are looking for volunteers for referees and sponsors. There are monthly dues to join the team to help pay for the practice space. The squad is currently just involved in scrimmages, but are looking for a place to hold a home bout.

“I am so proud to have this team in my county,” said Miller. “We have been doing a lot of local parades and the people are so surprised to see us, but they are excited that we have a team.”

The season runs September through May.

For more information on the Farm Fresh Roller Girls, contact Miller at (309) 626-0051, by e-mail at farmfreshrollergirls@yahoo.com or by visiting the team’s Facebook, MySpace or Twitter pages.

Pushing and Shoving are Brittany Cortez (left) and Necia Miller (center) as Lindsay Burnett (right) attempts to get past the blockers.