Oct 062010
Authors: Madeline Novey

Clarification: The same article referred to the FoCo Girls Gone Derby skaters as “Choice City derby women.” Choice City is used in reference to the City of Fort Collins, not the Choice City Rebels, the Northern Colorado derby team.

The women of FoCo Girls Gone Derby live quiet lives off the rink. They work at day care centers, they are newspaper designers and land-grant administrative assistants and stay-at-home moms.

But when the black roller skates with hot pink, green, purple, red and yellow wheels, their fish-net tights and neon short-shorts go on, the women hit the rink ready to skate fast and hit hard legally, of course.

“I’d say I work to support my derby habit,” said Chanel Cartel Captain Princess of Wails, removing her hot pink helmet and shaking beads of sweat from her hair at a practice two weeks ago. The CSU alumna is a botanist who breeds canola oil.

A Fort Collins resident out of skates, Carter said she saw a poster for the derby team “a long time ago” and decided that it was her destiny.
She is one of 37 women who call themselves Choice City derby women.

FoCo Girls Gone Derby was a product of desire for 1995 world medalist speed skater Jerica Trevana and her younger sister, Tawnika.

Inspiration came from their sister, Jhantal, who joined Denver’s Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.

In 2004 the team was introduced and later, in January 2006, FoCo Girls Gone Derby was introduced in a meeting attended by five. Over time, it has grown to include three teams: Chanel Cartel, the Deathrow Dolls and the competitive travel team, the FoCo Micro Bruisers.

The teams practice at Rollerland Skate Center on Link Lane, a facility Trevana’s parents bought when they moved their family to Fort Collins in the early ‘80s.

Each year, FoCo Gone Derby has two recruitments, bringing in 15-to-20 women. Trevana said this is necessary because they “lose people to life” but need to keep players in rotation.

Carter said the “ultimate injury is pregnancy.”

A dichotomous life

Matt Orr stood 15 feet from the edge of the derby track on Sept. 25 yelling as a woman in black and white striped tights, a tiny purple jersey and propelled by black roller skates shoulder-blocked his wife, Kaiti.

His protests jostled his daughter Madelin, 2, as her stepbrother, Ian, 5, ran up and down and around the bleachers in a Douglas County Fairgrounds arena.

The three are avid fans, yet to miss one of Kaiti’s bouts, the name for a derby match.

Kaiti, a Fort Collins resident, works full-time in Platteville as a land grant administrative assistant for Noble Energy Production, a company that specializes in oil and gas production.

She is usually shy, Matt said, but that fades when her skates and militant helmet go on and her alter ego, Rox Yorr Soxov, hits the rink.
If it hadn’t been for Matt, however, Kaiti may never have found her addiction.

His older sister, Fiona, started skating in Dallas about five or six years ago. It was then he took Kaiti to watch a bout the name for a skating match.

Hooked, Kaiti signed up with the Derby Girls in March 2009.

One night in mid-November, Kaiti was driving Matt to hockey practice at the Northern Colorado Ice Center when he joked that the two get married at halftime during a bout.

“No way. No f**cking way,” was Kaiti’s response. She had never in her life wanted to be the center of attention.

Two days later, Kaiti shared with her teammates the eccentric marriage plan. Or as Matt put it, “she told a room full of women” who were all thrilled.

“The Reverend,” one of Kaiti’s coaches at the time, married the couple during halftime at a derby bout on Dec. 5, 2009. The ceremony took place at Rollerland Skate Center. Kaiti wore an orange and gold tutu the couple made together.

It was like WWF Wrestling

The term “roller derby” dates back to the 1920s when it was used to describe roller skate races. In the ‘30s, the sport evolved from these marathon races on a raised track to a competition between skaters, emphasizing hits and falls.

From this was born the present-day sport, characterized by two teams of five skaters who score points by passing members of the opposing team.
Roller derby franchises emerged in the 1930s but eventually died off as popularity stagnated. The 1980s tried to revive derby in a fashion as theatrical as the times.

Bouts took place on figure-eight shaped, banked tracks, some with alligator pits, and featured staged action and storylines.

“Old derby was really like WWF,” said Atom Collider, a FoCo Girls Gone Derby coach who goes by Jay Jablonski when working with CSU’s High Energy Physics group.

The sport didn’t live through the ‘90s.

Out of nowhere, the Texas Rollergirls formed in Austin in 2001.

Then, leagues started popping up, organically, throughout the nation. The United Leagues Coalition, comprised of a few flat track roller derby leagues, formed.

A year later, 30 flat track derby league representatives met in Chicago and voted to change the ULC’s name to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, WFTDA. Since then, the organization has “grown exponentially” to include 98 member leagues, one of which is the FoCo Girls Gone Derby, said WFTDA Executive Director Juliana Gonzales.

The future of the Choice City’s skaters

A few weeks ago, Carter attended a WFTDA-sanctioned bootcamp at which she skated ten hours a day for two days in order to return to her team with new training drills and expectations.

Since FoCo Gone Derby Girls is a fairly new team, its skaters and coaches say it has a ways to go before it gains national notoriety. Rocky Mountain Rollergirls serves as a role model to the team, especially after beating out WFTDA’s No. 1 Oly Rollers, from Olympia, Wa., this week at the regional tournament.

But for now, the Derby Girls are “stoked” for the league’s biggest and most attended event, Saturday’s annual Black and Blue Ball at Rollerland, Carter said.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., Chanel Cartel takes on the Deathrow Dolls. Both teams will dress in black and blue ball gowns, respectively.

Pre-sale tickets are available online at www.focogirlsgonederby.com for $10. Day-of, tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students 12 and over and free for kids 12 and under.

Editor in Chief Madeline Novey can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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