RollerCon: What Happens in Vegas...

RollerCon 2015 1

This year marked the 10th Anniversary of RollerCon. What is RollerCon you may be wondering? RollerCon is a weeklong celebration where thousands of people from all around the world descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center to partake in all things derby. The convention featured three indoor flat tracks, one banked track, and several more tracks dedicated to specialized classes and training from basic to advanced skills. There were classes ranging from off-skates flexibility, yoga, and dance sessions, to classroom instructional seminars on topics like officiating, rules, and derby face makeup application. The list of classes was amazing and the opportunities to learn were endless. RollerCon is the one week out of the year where old and new skaters, legends, officials, photographers, and fans from around the globe come together to meet new friends, skate, party, laugh, and share all things in the world of roller derby. Here is what a few of our SFV RollerCon "First-Timers" had to share about the experience...

American HurlDoll:
My first RollerCon is in the books and I'm in love!!! The sights, the sounds, the smells...who doesn't love the aroma of derby gear, right? 

RollerCon 2015 2

From the moment I drove through the Westgate entrance you could feel the excitement in the air. It was wonderful to see so many derby girls from all over the world converging in one place for the love of derby! Everyone's RollerCon experience is unique and organic, much like the game itself, so you could do as much or as little as you like. I honestly never felt any pressure to do more, which was a relief for this first-timer. My RC adventure combined the best of both worlds: all things roller derby and all things Vegas vacation-wise and I tried to fit it all in during my five-day stay. I participated in three challenges and one scrimmage, an Iron Panda off-skates break dancing class (no, I still can't Nene), and was able to watch three full-length bouts with some major derby superstars like Scald Eagle, Demanda Riot, Mercy, and Jackie Daniels, to name only a few. The most hysterical of these was the Magic Mike vs. Chippendales bout. It was a charity bout that raised funds for prostate cancer and the halftime show alone made the ticket price worthwhile. Trust me, look it up on YouTube, you will not be disappointed. Other highlights for me included making it "official" with my derby wives Agony Christie and Reapa Slayworth at the Derby Wedding officiated by the one and only, Betty Ford Galaxy, and a fun home team bonding dinner with my Balboa Bandits at the iconic Peppermill Restaurant where I shared a 64oz Scorpion with Slay. In addition to all the derby, I managed to get in my pool time, dancing, derby shopping, fancy dinner, monorail rides, and gambling too! I can't wait to see what next year's RollerCon has in store for all of us!

Reapa Slayworth:
RollerCon. This one event has given me so much excitement and anxiety over the last couple months.

RollerCon 2015 3

I was elated to spend so much time intensively in the derby community with our league, excited to take classes and watch high level derby. But on the flipside, I had been off skates for months and just returned to skating. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up, make a fool of myself, or not be able to do the things that I used to on skates. In the end, my experience couldn't have been anymore amazing; the classes I took changed my skating by leaps and bounds. Watching so many top-level skaters compete totally renewed my drive to continue to improve and the bonding with all of our league was just amazing. No matter what level of skater, RollerCon is just the best -there is something to learn and love from every aspect. Cannot even wait for next year!!!
 
Lil Earthquake:
My first RollerCon was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in derby so far. There is nothing like being able to wake up and have so much of every aspect of derby at your toe stops.

RollerCon 2015 4

The MVP pass granted me access to all of the classes, seminars, scrimmages, bouts, and challenges I could want. At the vendor mall, I was able to try on brands of skates that I wouldn’t find in skate shops, as well as compare and inspect products that I’ve never heard of before. More importantly, the various types of training offered strong foundations for me to be a better skater and to look at my derby journey through newly awakened eyes and muscles. There were so many learning opportunities that I was able to custom tailor my itinerary with classes specifically beneficial to me, whether they were about fine tuning skills, using my body type to my advantage, or opening up completely new concepts and possibilities. Five full days of this convention were still not enough to schedule it all! It made me aware that there is so much we are constantly learning no matter how many years we skate. There is something very special about the derby community that seems to bond over this epic thing we have no matter what league or country each of us comes from, and to have that merge in one epic week in one place in the world is pretty special. I look forward to continuing my derby path armed with this experience as much as I look forward to next year’s RollerCon.

Tearango Leela:
This was my first RollerCon and it did not disappoint! From a team dinner with my Balboa Bandits the night I arrived to captaining the Nihilists (many of whom were Astronaughties from our recent Freshie Expo Bout) in the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers vs. Nihilists challenge on Sunday morning -- I barely had a moment to breathe during the four days I was there. 

RollerCon 2015 5

I took classes with Smarty Pants, Dirty Deborah Harry, and Holly Gohardly. I skated with women from all over the world in three challenges including Mustard vs. Ketchup and Starbucks Mermaids vs. Coffee Cart Wenches. I got my drag watching on with the Drag Kings vs. Drag Queens challenge where I learned that there is nothing more magical than a Drag Queen wardrobe malfunction in the penalty box! And no Las Vegas club can compare to the wildness of the Black and Blue Ball! I came home with tons of bruises, sore feet, and amazing memories of hanging with my SFV league sisters in Sin City! Now to rest up for next year.

Freshie Expo Bout: Astronaughties vs. NeanderDolls

By AmericanHurl Doll

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

Friday, July 17th marked our 4th biannual Freshie Expo Bout and as is becoming the norm, it was a total SELLOUT!!! Were you among the 250 family members, friends, and league-mates in attendance? If not, you missed out on the wild shenanigans between some or our newest, up-and-coming SFV skaters. This matchup was between those hard-hitting barbaric babes the NeanderDolls, led by coaches Atomic and DovahKill, and the cosmically captivating Astronaughties, led by coaches Iron Panda and Mimi Murderface. This was probably our most evenly matched expo bout to date with equal skill levels on both sides and as usual with derby, there was no shortage of thrills, chills, and spills. In the end though, one team rose victorious and on this occasion, the Astronaughties skated by (sorry pun police) with a final score of 256-202 over the NeanderDolls. We love to get the team captains’ reflections on the experience and here is what Captain Hardlee Ann Angel of the NeanderDolls had to say:

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

Wow, what an amazing bout! Although this was the second Freshie bout I skated in, it was my first as captain.

We were coached by Atomic and DovahKill…best evaaar!!!!! The feeling of excitement from the new skaters was absolutely contagious. We all tried to attend as many of the scrimmages leading up to the day and if we were on the same team or jam we tried practicing different skills that we had learned at our team practices. Our NeanderDolls Facebook posts were always funny and quirky. We had tons of fun from choosing our attire and selecting our skate-out song to the feeling the excitement of the upcoming bout. On the day of the bout all feelings broke loose: excitement, nervousness, determination…don’t forget this, don’t do that. This was the day that we would show everyone how hard we had been practicing. Their families would be watching them for the first time. That in and of itself was nerve-wracking. Every feeling you can think of, the Dolls were feeling it. The looks on their faces were priceless. Once on the track for warm-up, you could see the change -they began to settle down and their demeanor turned into one of determination. I am so proud of the way each and every one of them skated together, assisted their teammates, and exercised their skills appropriately. My best experience with the NeanderDolls and the AstroNaughties was being able to be a part of a new skater’s first bout. That is the most priceless moment I will remember.

Astronaughties team captain, Lipstick Vendetta, could be considered a veteran of these expo bouts as this is the third one that she has participated in. During the last Freshie bout, she was injured on the track and had to have MPFL reconstruction on her knee, with 3 screws and a cadaver graft included. She jokes that she is part zombie AND cyborg. Vendetta thinks of this current bout as her “redemption bout” as it’s her first official game since becoming injured in the last one.

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

(Photo credit: Jon Cobb)

Here is Vendetta’s take as Captain: The Freshie Expo Bout is one of the favorite bouts our league holds. I was honored to be elected Captain for the Astronaughties and I felt elated to get to know the hard working, strong women this team was comprised of on a personal level. Our team may have varied in skills, but we all had the same passion. Being coached by Iron Panda and Mimi Murderface, we felt unstoppable. Our coaches were very involved from day 1 and were extremely patient as we learned to grow as individuals as well as a team. We, like any new team, had our ups and downs, injuries, frustrations, and our share of fears; but that didn’t stop us. If one of us was having a hard time, we came together and sort of created a blanket of support and encouragement. During the game, we were able to remain positive, even when we struggled in the beginning. Someone was always saying “good job,” giving high fives, or doing that helmet to helmet touch that means “I’m with ya.” I skated around and spoke with different families at halftime and everyone was so happy. The skaters held their heads high with great pride and their supporters were wide-eyed with the excitement of being fans for this insane new (to them) sport! When the last four whistles blew and we got the official win, you could feel the relief in the air. It was a privilege to play the Neanderdolls and it was not an easy win by any means. All of the hard work paid off. Every single girl on that track improved in some way during this journey. Whether it was an improvement on skates or a mental block that was conquered, some goal was met. This was the first of many bouts for a lot of the girls and from the looks of it and the way everyone played, these girls will go far.

Derby Wives: Dearly Beloved, Ladies & Broads...

By Ma-Skeeter

Lux & Vendetta & Sassy

Lux & Vendetta & Sassy

There are many wonderful relationships that develop at SFV. Many find their best friend on skates and decide to become “derby wives.” Derby wives give that extra support to one another on and off the track. Here is what makes Killo, Legacy, Lux, Sassy, Vendetta, and Jams and Bratty’s wifedoms so unique!

1) What made you decide to become derby wives?
Sassy: I had a couple of girls ask me to be their wives, but I actually waited for Vendetta to ask me and she eventually did. She picked me up and gave me a ring, but it wasn't an ordinary ring. It was a wheel bearing transformed into a ring with a note attached that asked me to be her wife and of course I said, “YES!” 

I also wanted Lux to be a part of it since she's the reason why I’m here in derby. She introduced me to Vendetta before I started playing. We all clicked with each other within the first 5 minutes. We’re constantly laughing with or at each other and I love that about us.
 
Killo: We just clicked and it felt right. We have the same work ethic when it comes to practicing. Always up first and ready to roll.
 
Jams: I'm pretty sure that Bratty was peer-pressured into a very public proposal at Skating Plus after I came off the track in a bout against the West Coast Derby Knockouts…but we had already secretly decided that we were each other's "person" long before that.

Killo & Legacy (Credit: Chuck Gay Photography)

Killo & Legacy (Credit: Chuck Gay Photography)

2) How long have you been derby wives?
Vendetta: We have been wives for a little over a year. Sassy and I asked Lux about a month after we became wives. Although, it feels like an eternity...

Legs: March of ’07.
 
Bratty: We have been derby wives since May 10th, 2014. 

3) What is your favorite memory of your derby wife (or wives) so far?
Lux: Well I can't narrow it down to just one memory. Vendetta is the classy one who gets all the free drinks. Sassy is the tough girl, but true softie at heart, and I'm the anarchist problem child. lol. So anytime we are together, it's a recipe for a good time.
 
Killo: My favorite is when we went to mess with an opposing team, the Varisty Brawlers, and Danny (Razor's husband) chased us with a bat and we had egg rolls tossed at us. All caught on video in nighttime mode. It was awesome. 
 
Bratty: My favorite memory of my derby wife was when I proposed. Jams had just played in a bout. Her husband, mother, and father were all there cheering us on. Her husband Chris joked that I should have asked for her hand first! We were later “married” at RollerCon by Razor in her Elvis outfit. We gave each other candy ring pops and said our “derby vows.”

Bratty & Jams

Bratty & Jams

4) How do you support each other?
Vendetta: This is definitely a strong area for us. Like every skater, we have our ups and downs, good days and bad days. We all have vented to each other about how we feel about our own skating and boast a little about ourselves on good days. We are constantly giving each other constructive criticism and encouragement to continue trying. All 3 of us have all been on the injured list and 2 of us had serious injuries that kept us off the track for months. Having people encouraging you to keep your chin up and stay focused on the goal of returning to the track is imperative to feeling like you’re still part of the family, even when you are away. For me, personally, when I was out and feeling down, both my wives would still text me and call me and give me a recap on practices and going-ons. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing people care about you when you are away.
 
Killo: We support each other by just being there...She is my rock and I am hers. We vent to each other on everything and we know that we can rely on each other. Period. No matter what.
 
Jams: Even though Bratty now lives in another state (and is on a team called the Wreckers!), we still talk all the time about our derby experiences and are each other's sounding boards. This past year, we've both gone through our own challenges with Bratty starting fresh at a new league and my getting injured, so we look to each other to gain perspective and offer encouragement.
 
5) Is your relationship different now than when you first "married?"
Sassy: Yes we are waaayyyy closer now than before especially all the pain and injuries we’ve gone through. We call each other all the time and a day doesn't go by where one of my wives doesn't text me to see how my day is going. We’re not only friends, we’re family now. <3
 
Legs: Our bond has grown closer through the years. We have gone through all kinds of life experiences together. We are lucky to have each other! 
 
Bratty: I know that we are forever linked through derby and our “marriage.” She is coming to Portland for Rose City Rollers’ "Derby Daze" bootcamp. I can't wait to see her!!!

Banked-Track Babes: The Same But Sideways?

By Beat-her Pan

(Left to right) Derp, Beat-her Pan, Stockholm Syndi, Agony Christie, Pink A Sassin

(Left to right) Derp, Beat-her Pan, Stockholm Syndi, Agony Christie, Pink A Sassin

A few weeks ago, five brave souls from the SFVRD Wipe Outs volunteered to fill-in for some missing players in a banked-track bout in San Diego. We would be playing with the North County Derby Alliance (NCDA) against the Sparks, part of the San Diego Derby Dolls. Just a reminder, both SFVRD and NCDA are flat-track based leagues. Most of the ladies of SFV—Stockholm Syndi, Derp, Agony Christie, Pink A Sassin, and myself (Beat-her Pan) —had never even set foot on a banked-track, let alone skated in a scrimmage or a bout (except Pink A Sassin, who had first trained with LA Derby Dolls before entering SFVRD). We figured, “It will be just like flat-track except…kind of sideways….right?” But we soon discovered the challenges ahead of us.
 
The LA Derby Dolls were kind enough to let us practice at Derby Por Vida, a beginner level practice. First challenge: how do we get on the track? After finally scrambling our way up, we started getting used to the curves and slopes of the track. After a myriad of falls and “bug-like” slides down to the middle of the track, it was time to face a whole other beast: stopping. But after a few more falls and some death defying plow stops from the top to the bottom of the track, we felt more comfortable. And after a short brief of the rules from Stefcon of the LA Derby Dolls, it was time for our bout!

Saturday came and it was our turn to get on the track. Stockholm was awesome enough to make us shirts with our name and numbers with "and Friends" printed on the front (since our team for the day was NCDA and friends). We reminded ourselves of the biggest difference in rules for banked-track—don’t stop moving forward or you get a penalty, don’t go clockwise around the track or you get a penalty, penalties are served during the next jam, jams are only one minute, the lead jammer can switch in the jam, and pivots line up in a separate lane in front of the rest of the pack—and then the bout began!
 

Everyone needs a little help from their friends sometimes, so when the North County Derby Alliance called, The SFV Wipe Outs answered and sent five of their fiercest ladies down south to join NCDA against the San Diego Derby Dolls' Sparks. For most of the Wipe Outs, this was their first time playing on a banked track, let alone taking on a team from one of top ranked banked track leagues in the country. They jammed, they blocked, they gave it their all, and they helped NCDA put up 73 to 238.

Everyone needs a little help from their friends sometimes, so when the North County Derby Alliance called, The SFV Wipe Outs answered and sent five of their fiercest ladies down south to join NCDA against the San Diego Derby Dolls' Sparks. For most of the Wipe Outs, this was their first time playing on a banked track, let alone taking on a team from one of top ranked banked track leagues in the country. They jammed, they blocked, they gave it their all, and they helped NCDA put up 73 to 238.

The first few jams for each of us were a bit…chaotic…but after awhile, we kind of got the hang of it. Constantly moving forward and not skating clockwise on the track was one of the tougher challenges for us (besides staying on our feet), but we all felt improved in these areas by the end of the bout. Yes, the other team beat us—by a lot—but we felt we had skated our best and accomplished a lot by simply setting foot on the banked-track and improving throughout the practices and the game. Though we were all TERRIFIED about the craziness that we had gotten ourselves into, I don’t think any of us regret our decision to give it a try and the experiences and FUN we had on the banked-track. 

June Swoon: SFV Takes on Some Fierce Competitors

One of San Fernando Valley Roller Derby's favorite SoCal rivals traveled up the coast and into the Valley to help christen The Lot's new track. The Like OMGs put up strong walls and served up hard hits for the visiting ladies of the San Diego Roller Derby, but in the end, the SDRD Starlettes took the game 234-191 and blew away everyone in attendance with the stunning footwork of their star jammers.

In town for the weekend, the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls sent The Contenders to mix it up with San Fernando Valley Roller Derby in an early morning no holds barred breakfast brawl. It was a true nail-biter that ended with The Contenders squeaking out a victory over The Like OMGs by just one point.

SFVRD and the Richmond Wrecking Belles of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls

SFVRD and the Richmond Wrecking Belles of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls

Our best and bulliest blockers and jammers hit the road and traveled up to the Bay to see what the Richmond Wrecking Belles of the infamous B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls had to offer, and they weren't disappointed. The Wrecking Belles lived up to their name putting up fierce resistance to The Like OMGs and taking the title of the baddest belles (but best hosts) of NorCal.

SFV Pride

San Fernando Valley Roller Derby paired up with PETA at the Los Angeles Pride 2015 Celebration to support two causes close to the hearts of many of our league members. Several ladies from SFV rolled through the streets of West Hollywood, snapping pictures with Channing Tatum, wearing all the colors of the rainbow, and spreading derby love to the masses.