West Kootenay Roller Derby is gearing up for a new season and held open houses for fresh meat on Monday, Oct. 5 and Thursday, Oct. 8.
Fresh meat is how roller derby girls refer to fresh recruits, and the fresh meat was put through the grinder on Thursday night, skating innumerable laps while they learned the skating basics, including t-stops, plow stops and crossovers to help them get around the corners of the oval roller derby track faster.
Among the fresh meat was Kirsten Stevenson from Rivervale. She found out about West Kootenay Roller Derby because she happened to be in the bar when the roller derby girls were having their year end party. One of them told her about fresh meat and she decided to try out.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a few years. I always just worked out of town and never had the ability to commit, and now I do and I’ve just had like two kids in a year and a half, so it’s going to be good exercise,” she said.
Both open houses were hosted by Castlegar’s Dam City Rollers, but also included members from the Rossland Trail Roller Girls (RTRG).
The league used to have up to eight teams, but as interest in the sport has wained, its down to just the two, who will play against teams from another league once the season’s bouts get under way.
Stevenson said she’d be happy to join either team, provided she makes the cut.
Roller derby veterans were also on the track Thursday night, putting the fresh meat through their paces and offering tips.
Cheyanna “shyRAMasaurus Wrex” Shypitka, or Wrex as she’s usually called on the roller derby circuit, is a member of the Dam City Rollers and this is her fourth season playing. She’s been interested in the sport since the league first formed.
“I lived in Salmo when the first teams started forming and they started talking about roller derby as a sport in the Kootenays in about 2008 or 2009, I wanna say,” said Wrex. “And by 2010 there was the start of a team in Salmo and I was pregnant, and I couldn’t join. I also wore glasses and I had laser eye surgery done specifically so that I could play roller derby without having to wear glasses.”
Corrine “Sweet Vengeance” Tarasoff also plays for the Dam City Rollers and this is her sixth season. She joined after moving from Nelson to Castlegar.
“I used to do MMA and kickboxing and stuff like that, and I was still looking for a sport to have some physical contact,” she said. “And it was interesting joining a sport—coming from a sport mainly with guys—to mainly with girls, and it’s been incredible.”
Asked what they like most about roller derby, both Wrex and Sweet Vengeance mentioned sisterhood.
“It is a family outside your family,” said Sweet Vengeance. “Plus that, you get to hit people.”