Roller derby rolls in Red Deer this weekend

When the Chuck Norrisettes are matching up against the Bad Girlfriends, you know you’re not at your average sporting event.

When the Chuck Norrisettes are matching up against the Bad Girlfriends, you know you’re not at your average sporting event.

There will be plenty of flying elbows and spectacular spills as the women of roller derby show their stuff in a series of bouts in Red Deer this weekend.

A dozen of the more than 25 roller Flat Track Women’s Roller Derby leagues across Canada are sending players to the city for a daytime boot camp and competitions at night on Saturday and Sunday.

“There are 130 girls coming into town from all over Canada for the boot camp,” said Michelle Skorjanc, also known as Cherry Jamm. “We have girls from Toronto, Vancouver, Prince George, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Medicine Hat.”

Organized by the Canadian Women’s Flat Track Women’s Roller Derby League, this is the first boot camp of its kind in Canada. The women will be put through their paces by Quadzilla and Hollywood, a pair of U.S.-based male coaches widely known in roller derby circles.

Four tracks have been set up in the Stockmen’s and Prairie Pavilions at Westerner Park for training, said Skorjanc, who is a blocker with The Belladonnas, the Red Deer team formed last fall.

The first of two evening bouts starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday with a showdown between The Belladonnas and the roller derby association’s rookies. At 7:30 p.m., the Chuck Norrisettes and the Bad Girlfriends will face off. Two more bouts will run on Sunday night at the same times.

Roller derby has been around since the 1930s and had its heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s when it got regular TV coverage and drew legions of loyal fans to the races on banked wooden tracks. Rising costs eventually brought down the sport. But it has seen a rebirth and skater-owned and operated leagues have sprouted up across the country following a non-profit, do-it-yourself approach.

The league now boasts teams with like Calgary’s Thrashin’ Lassies, Medicine Hat’s Gas City Rollers, the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club of Regina, and the Reign Valley Vixens of Lower Mainland, B.C.

Courses are laid out flat on the floor. Banked tracks fell victim to the logistics of finding suitable venues and there are none in use in Canada, although they can be found still in the U.S.

Skorjanc said spectators will be treated to a full-contact sport. “Adding to that, derby is all about individuality. Whatever your derby persona might be, you’re going to see costume-like attire.”

The association was formed to boost the sport’s profile and last year sent the first all-female Team Canada to compete in Scotland and England for the first time since the 1970s.

Most of the leagues are for women only, although the doors are opening for male skaters and there will a co-ed bout on Sunday evening.

Participants must be at least 18 years old and willing to devote three nights a week. Skaters supply their own helmets, mouth and wrist guards, and skates, knee and elbow pads.

Advance tickets cost $10, or $12 at the door for the bouts. To get more information, go to www.cwrda.ca or buy online at www.rollergirl.ca

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month