Rolling with The Punches

an update on local roller derby

Betty Nikia

Local Jessi Wright was the first person to bypass the notion that “someone” should start a roller derby team in the Chippewa Valley and actually set the skate in motion. Spurred by comments in V1’s Daily Shakedown blog, Jessi set up an e-mail account for those who want to make this happen (ecrollerderby@gmail.com). She was then contacted by Natalie Matz, who shared her enthusiasm for getting a team together locally. They have been in contact with the Mississippi Valley Mayhem to discuss the logistics, from non-profit status to membership dues. They have received feedback from people who would like to participate as skaters and volunteers. They have not, however, been able to find a suitable space for the events to happen. Following the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association guidelines, they need a smooth concrete skating surface that is 88 feet by 48 feet. More importantly, they need permission from the owners. Initial attempts to secure space at Hoffy’s Skate America in Eau Claire and Visionquest Entertainment Center in Menomonie have been unsuccessful. They are currently looking at warehouses, town halls, and sports centers. Wright said the intention is to start practicing in whatever space is available until a regulation rink is found. She added that since many people may not have skated before, they will likely practice for six months before getting to a competitive level. For now, Matz created a Facebook Fan Page to keep the communication rolling. Check it out under Chippewa Valley Roller Girls.

UPDATE! The first practice is going to be on October 24 from 8-10am at the Eau Claire Sports Center. If you intend to join, please come to an informational meeting on Oct. 17. Details.

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