The Cemetery Smash rolled into Portage la Prairie on Saturday May 17 and The Hoop and Holler went to see what Roller Derby was all about.

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Our hometown Headstone Honeys were clashing with the Gravediggers from the town that rhymes with fun, Regina, and although the local ladies were soundly spanked 265-110 the event was a spectacle of makeup and mayhem.

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Rock ’n’ Roll burlesque meets serious aggression and athleticism is what was on display at the PCU centre’s big room.

Derby is a life-style sport with its own sub-culture that is high on entertainment value and makes for a great night out.

This full-contact, aggressive sport would appeal to football fans and people who like the hard-hitting side of hockey.  And let’s face it there is a certain appeal to watching chicks knock the crap out of each other.MVI_0152-poster

Roller derby is real.  Theatrical elements like the make up and gimmicky names don’t overshadow the fact these ladies on real roller skates (no in-line skates here) are serious about their sport and mean business.

Headstone Honey’s team captain, Girlmeat, explains how the athletes’ derby names give them an alter-ego and a means of tapping into a new level of aggression through these alter-egos.

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This bout’s Honeys line-up included; Girlmeat, Pris-Killa, Genghis Mom, Big Mama, Dr. Skatan, B.Liegerent, Botchla, Shermonator, Kim-Jong Wheels, Cassandra Wild, Emberetta and Lyn Detta.

Outlandish, punny, and sometimes controversial names packed with fun and bravado is a staple of roller derby and includes the officials.  Local refs include Chuck Morris, Crand-Hell and Lurch, who may be seven feet tall on roller skates.

For anyone who may not have a clue how roller derby works the crew does a great job running through all the basics of scoring and rules with both teams running through a demonstration so all fans can appreciate what is happening.  Even if you know nothing at all, you’ll understand the basics in minutes.

The bouts come complete with two play-by-play announcers, who explain the game on the fly, and offer humour and conversation throughout the whole night.  Complete merchandise sales from t-shirts to collector cards are available along with a full bar for the adults proving this is more than just a game, it’s an event.

During the bouts these ladies develop a serious hate for each other as they bash into one another lap after lap, but with derby being just as much a movement as a sport, there is a deeper connection that allows all (or most) to be forgiven after the game.  The after party that is open to fans and athletes following the bout is a unique feature of the sport.

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From tattoos to tutus, and bruises to the odd broken leg, derby is not just a game, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to be part of.

The Headstone Honey’s have more than doubled their schedule this year and play at home June 14, July 5, August 23 and September 13.  They also host a home tournament “The Toban’ Tussle, July 12-13.MVI_0152 b-poster

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Check out www.plapcityrollers.com for more details or if you’re interested in becoming “fresh meat” for the team.

 

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