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Getting a crash course in roller derby

Fresh meat gets first taste of physical sport
Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff From left to right, Malady (Charity Beasley), Razor (Taran Spies), Candy Stripper (Twyla Molsberry) and Repete (Amiee Roberg) skate during a practice for the senior members of the Nuclear Free Roller Derby team at the Springbrook Multiplex last week.

By Jonathan Guignard


Are you familiar with roller derby?

If not, neither was I until recently when I got a crash course on the ins and outs of the sport.

Nuclear Free Roller Derby held their weekly fresh meat practice at the Springbrook Multiplex in Springbook. Fresh meat? I know what you’re thinking, but I was relieved to find out it’s a term used for newbies and nothing else.

So there I was, geared up and ready to hit the track.

Confident I’d be a natural.

That was until I stood up.

I grew up on ice skates and roller blades so I didn’t expect roller skates to be any different. However they were, and if there wasn’t somebody to catch me I would have fallen.

Not a great start.

Roller derby has been around for decades, but is still relatively new to the area.

Kacy Wilson, aka “ShowKase” and secretary of NFRD, said when the league started in 2014 the club only three members. Now, it has more than 40 members.

“It’s really up and coming. We see leagues starting all over. Red Deer has shown growth over the years and continues to do so. We plan to keep it that way,” said Wilson.

Once I hit the track, solved my balance issues, I was off to the races.

Although I didn’t master every technique, like stopping, I definitely did learn a thing or two.

Roller derby consists of blockers and jammers. Blockers form a pack of eight while the two jammers, who are indicated on the track by a star on their helmet, are the players who do the scoring.

The jammers push and shove their way through the pack to get points.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Aimee Roberge, a.k.a. “Repete”, was introduced to the sport in 2011 and said her love for the sport developed quickly.

“I started at a fresh meat practice not knowing what I was doing and I just went with it. It’s been really awesome. I really enjoy putting on the equipment and hitting people,” laughed Roberge.

Hitting aside, one thing I noticed was the camaraderie shown among teammates.

“It’s like a family. We’re here a couple of times a week and it’s a great way to release stress, exercise and have laughs with girlfriends. It’s a nice break after a long day at work,” said Wilson.

As for newcomers I think you’ll have an easy time fitting in.

“We welcome people from any walks of life. If you aren’t athletic or if you’re super athletic we will teach you the game, teach you how to start and how to fall. It’s a welcoming community,” said Roberge.

NFRD hold practices every Monday night at the Springbrook Multiplex. Juniors practice from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and adult practices are held from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

To catch them in action, the NFRD team hosts the Tar Sand Bettie’s from Fort McMurray at the Springbrook Multiplex on Nov.19 at 3:30 p.m.

For more information on NFRD visit their website at or check their Facebook page.