The 2015 Roller Derby season is about to kick off in style with major bouts happening over the next two weeks, but the biggest highlight coming into the action will be the inclusion of a new league to the full year rotation. Ladies of the Lake Roller Derby is a non-profit league founded in 2013, comprised of former skaters from other leagues and new prospects looking to make an impact on the flat track scene. The league's first official bout of the year will be against Wasatch Roller Derby on March 7 at the Derby Depot, but before that game kicks off, we chat with co-founder Roll-Her Kitty about the league and their aspirations for 2015. (All pictures courtesy of LOLRD.
Gavin: Hey Kitty, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello My Name is Roll-Her Kitty and I'm a derbyaholic. I have been playing roller derby for seven years and I'm an addict. I also have two teenage boys (17 & 15) and have been married for 16 years. I'm the Marketing Manager for Comcast Business and have worked at Comcast for six years. Besides Roller Derby I love working out with my trainer Surba Tucker, being physically active and going on adventures. I skate for Ladies of the Lake Roller Derby and I'm also the President and one of the founders.
Gavin: What first got you interested in roller derby and what made you want to compete?
My story isn't that exciting. I found roller derby on Craigslist while I was looking for girls to play on my co-ed softball team. When I saw the ad, I thought, I grew up skating and that sounds fun. What the hell, I'll try it. That's all it took and I was immediately hooked.
Gavin: What was it like for you first starting out and figuring out the sport?
There was a plethora of thoughts and feelings when I first started playing. Feeling from "this is so much fun" to "OMG I think I'm going to die." Very quickly, I had a shit ton of girls friends, which was a bit odd for me. I think like most newbies I had the feeling of, I have no idea what is going on so I'm just going to skate in circles and then one day it clicks. I also remember being in awe of skaters like NSO and thinking, I want to skate like that.
Gavin: What was your time like when you were skating for the Salt City Derby Girls?
When I started skating with SCDG in 2008 it was AMAZING. The league ran like clockwork, it was fun and inviting. I learned a lot and built some lifelong friendships.
Gavin: Who were you skating for between SCDG and this new league, and how was it for you meeting new derby women from around the state?
When I left SCDG a few other ex-SCDG members and I created a group called Sk8aholics. We rented out Classic Skating in Sandy, invited anyone and everyone who wanted to be on skates to join us. We just wanted to skate and have fun. We tried to incorporate all aspects of skating so we brought in jam skater Nate Snow, and speed skater Eric Kraan, to teach us some non-roller derby skills. We were already thinking of what would one day become LOLRD. In the meantime, I wanted to be competitive so I joined WRD but my time with them was cut short when I tore my ACL before our first game. Traveling is one of my favorite parts of Roller Derby and I still have friends all over the West that I have met in my travels.
Gavin: How did the idea come about to start your own league?
LOLRD came about because the founders wanted to skate competitively, have fun and a life. The choices are normally super competitive or recreational. We tried to incorporate everything we loved from our past derby lives and change the things we didn't agree with. One thing that we do differently is, if you make the final roster, you play no matter your skill level. You put in the work and money so you get to play.
Gavin: What made you decide to be your own independent organization rather than join up with one of the established leagues?
We wanted to have derby life balance, don't laugh it's possible. The founders were all ladies that had been skating for years but didn't want to continue to put in 3+ days a week for practice, but we also wanted to be travel and play other teams. We had all gotten to the point that roller derby wasn't really fun anymore. The established leagues didn't offer what we wanted so we created our own. Competitive, 1-2 days/week practice and FUN!
Gavin: What was it like for you finding skaters and crew members to join?
As with any league, recruiting and retaining skaters is not easy but we knew that if the derby and outside world could see that we focus on No Drama, being fair and open with our members and keeping derby fun, people would eventually come to us. We have done a little recruiting but mostly it's been word of mouth or current relationships.
Gavin: How have training and scrimmages gone for you during the off-season?
Off-season is always a rough time of year for attendance, but we kept chugging alone. We didn't do much scrimmaging during the off-season but focused on getting our Fresh Meat skaters up to par with the rest of the team.
Gavin: Are you currently skating as a single team this year or will you be breaking it up into two?
This year we are still one team. We will assess this again at the end of this season.
Gavin: How has it been coordinating with the other leagues and setting up matches?
Most every league we contacted to play gave us a chance. Last season we traveled about once per month March-October. This season we have a packed schedule but very similar to last season. The majority of our games are out-of-state but close enough to drive too.
Gavin: Being the new team on the block, what are you hoping to achieve as a team?
Our goal as a league is to be a home for new or tenured skaters who want to play competitively but have a life as well. Number one goal is to have fun. We aren't out to win at all costs. If we win we are happy if we lose and we had fun we are happy.
Gavin: Your first bout is coming up on March 7, tell us a little bit about that match and what your season it shaping up like?
We are playing WRDs B-Team, Bonneville Bonecrushers. We have been working hard to get ready for this game and can't wait to see the skills we have worked on in action. Our Elko game is shortly after, March 28 in Elko.
Gavin: For those who may be interested in joining or helping out, how can they do so?
We are always accepting skaters, refs, NSOs, Fans and Sponsors. We don't have a full ref staff since we mostly travel, but we do have a couple really dedicated refs that like to travel with us.
To learn more or Join LOLRD
you can reach out to us on Facebook
or email us at LOLRDerby@gmail.com
. You can also keep up to date with us on our website.
Gavin: What are your thoughts going into this season?
We are all very excited for this season. We are playing in our first tournament this season, Spudtown
Knockdown. It will be a great experience for our league. We hope that we have as much or more fun than last season.
Gavin: Is there anything else you'd like to promote or plug?
Go Like us on Facebook and visit our website. Also come skate with us, you know you wanna.