Saturday, February 24, 2024

Hell on wheels

by David Cole
| April 23, 2010 9:00 PM


<p>Stylish skates and other flashy apparel are the fashion standard for roller derby lasies.</p>


<p>Karissa Kory, aka "Bombshell Brawler," left, laughs as she gets up following a collision with fellow Pink Slip Sally skater Terra Pring, "Poly Pocket Rocket."</p>

COEUR d'ALENE - The women on the Coeur d'Alene roller derby teams Lab Coat Lollipops and Pink Slip Sally's like to get physical - and plan to do so soon in their first bout of the new season.

The two teams of North Idaho Roller Derby - an amateur flat-track league here - have been practicing at Skate Plaza Roller Rink to get in shape and perfect their techniques.

"Come on ladies, you're getting wimpy on me," 28-year-old Sunny Webb, aka "Kabuki Boo," called out during practice Tuesday night as the women skated laps. "I'll make you do it 10 times longer."

She yelled for the skaters to stay low in their stance, and leg muscles were definitely burning. Just because it's practice doesn't mean they don't have to skate hard.

The women must have strong legs to endure the grueling hour-long bouts in which they constantly skate around the rink, usually in a low position to keep from getting knocked off balance by their opponents and crashing to the hardwood floor. It's very fast paced.

"It's not a sport you can just lollygag in," Webb said.

And while the requirement for endurance is very real, there's nothing fake about the hits, either. It's a rough and tumble sport, said Webb. The outfits are flashy and girlie, but the helmets, mouthguards, elbow and knee pads, and other protective gear are there for good reason.

"It's hitting people without going to jail," said Erin Grant-Riggs, 32, of Coeur d'Alene, known on the rink as "NarcoLucy." "It helps cut down on road rage."

"It's an outlet from your daily life," said Kristie Blair, 25, aka "Hooky Hellraiser," explaining why she has chosen to be a roller girl. Blair, of Coeur d'Alene, said she also likes the exercise.

While there's no punching, or elbowing, or tripping, there are plenty of shoulder and hip checks to send women crashing to the ground.

"It's like a sisterhood," Webb said. "But when we get mad we can go and scrimmage."

The nearly 30 women of North Idaho Roller Derby come from a variety of backgrounds, and include among other things stay-at-home moms, baristas, nurses and an airplane mechanic.

"My husband would say I do it to wear cute outfits," said Bekah Manderscheid, 30, of Coeur d'Alene.

Manderscheid, known as "Beker Beker 1-9" on the rink, is a stay-at-home mother of a 2-year-old son. The league allows her to get out of the house more often and meet other women.

"You can have fun and kick butt at the same time," she said.

All the women say they want more to join them to boost the league and to be able to form more teams. Anyone over 18 years old can join, and no experience is necessary.

North Idaho Roller Derby is also looking for referees, and volunteers. Practices are 6-7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and 5-8 p.m. Sundays.

In roller derby, each team puts five ladies on the rink at a time. Four players for each team are "blockers," and one on each is a "jammer."

To start, the eight blockers from the two teams begin skating in a group counter-clockwise ahead of the waiting jammers.

Then, the jammers take off and skate after the pack of blockers and try to break through. Blockers help the jammer from their team squirt through, and attack the other team's jammer, preventing her from getting through.

When the jammers make it through they score points for their team for each competitor they pass.

Ginger Cordes, 25, of Dalton Gardens, said roller derby is a growing sport, with teams popping up in Tri-Cities, Wash., Walla Walla, Moscow, and places in Montana.

Cordes, aka "Eve Vengelakill," helped found the roller derby league here.

The league has a Facebook page with more information under the name North Idaho Roller Derby.

The season will run through October, and there will be about one bout per month.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. May 16 bout at Skate Plaza can be purchased at the business, Dalton Avenue and U.S. 95., and "suicide seating" will be available right next to the rink.

Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door.

"You could end up with a derby girl in your lap," Cordes said.