Derby Dames Talk Roller Derby as the Season Gears Up
As you may have heard by now, roller derby is the fastest growing women’s sport in the U.S. Since the early 2000’s, roller derby has been revived in states all over the country and Wyoming is no exception. Laramie’s Naughty Pines Derby Dames was the first league to establish itself in Wyoming back in 2009 and, since then, teams have followed their lead in Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette as well. Roller derby is an addictive sport that wins over not only the skaters but crowds as well. With plenty of teams for Laramie’s Naughty Pines Derby Dames to play against from Wyoming to Colorado and Montana, there is sure to be at least a few games this summer that will fit into your schedule. It all gets started at the Laramie Ice & Events Center on April 25th with a free scrimmage game for those that want to see how the sport is played. Then the season officially kicks off with the home opener on April 28th against Gillette’s Roustabout It Betties at 7 PM, again taking place at Laramie’s Ice and Events Center.
But before you attend your first roller derby bout (competition), you might want a quick rundown on the rules of the game and how works so that you can follow along. While each bout begins with a brief demonstration to explain the rules, the excitement has usually built up too much for the crowd to sit quietly for a little lesson. For those of you that are clever enough to do your homework beforehand, we hope that this tutorial can help you quickly familiarize you with the sport. Because this is the only sport (that I can think of) that is both offensive and defensive at the same time, it can definitely be confusing for people unfamiliar with the rules so here it goes!
The Naughty Pines Derby Dames follow the rules developed by the Women’s Flat Track Association. Each bout is divided into two 30 minute periods, during which jams are consecutively played until the period is over. Before the start of each jam, 4 blockers from each team line up behind the pivot line and one jammer (the skaters with the star printed helmet cover) from each team lines up behind the jammer line. A first whistle is blown to begin a jam and the group of blockers skates of in a pack. When the last pack member passes the pivot line, the second whistle is blown to release the jammers. The first jammer to pass through the pack legally is identified as the lead jammer by a referee.
After this initial pass to fight for lead jammer status, the jammers earn points each time they lap the pack and pass an opposing team member. Each jam can last up to 2 minutes, but the lead jammer has the power to end the jam at any time. For example, if the opposing jammer is about to score points before the lead jammer can reach the pack to score points as well, she may strategically call off the jam by signaling the referees. At all times the skaters must follow rules such as no tripping, elbowing, grabbing, pushing, pulling opposing skaters, cutting the track, etc. If a skater receives a major penalty or four minor penalties, she will be sent to the penalty box to serve out a penalty sentence before she can return to the track.
For those of you interested in watching an online animated demonstration of how the game is played, you can learn more by watching this video. However, whether you understand the rules or not, roller derby promises to be a fun sport to watch. With so much girl on girl roller derby action, the crowds always have plenty to cheer for and the Naughty Pines are always grateful for your support.
For information on presale tickets and other upcoming bouts you can find the Naughty Pines Derby Dames on facebook. Here is the tentative schedule for the Derby Dames this summer:
April 25 – FREE Scrimmage
April 28- Home opener w/ Powder River
May 12- Intraleague Bout
May 26- Morning Away Bout with Detour Derby
June 16- Home bout w/ Slaughterhouse
July 14- Away bout- Possibly with A’Salt Creek
July 20- Intraleague Bout
August 25- Home Closer with Boulder County Bombers