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This game just keeps on rollin’

But roller derby packs a different punch than in the old days
By: Kayla Nix/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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These ladies are rough, tough and know how to take a hit – and give a few as well.

They are the women of the Sacred City Derby Girls, and on Saturday night, 800 fans crowded around the rink at Rollerking to watch their flat-track roller derby season opener.

The Sacred City Sacrificers weren’t so welcoming on the floor to the visiting Redwood Roller All Stars of Humboldt, throwing down for a 189-51 victory.

That was during play. After the bout, Redwood brought over small trees as gifts for the Sacrificers.

Along with the intense competition, the teams had fun, dancing during timeouts and enjoying the packed crowd.

While the play was rough and tough, there were no punches thrown. There was considerable pushing, shoving and competition for position to follow the teams’ strategies.

The fans cheered for their favorites and supported the teams’ jammers – those who skate around and through the pack to score points – as the women raced around the track.

In the second bout, the Sacred City Disciples stepped in and took out the Nor
Cal Rollers of Chico 203-59.

As women’s roller derby grows in popularity, Sacred City is growing as well. The two-team group will expand to four teams this summer, the Sacrificers’ Halee Daily, aka “The 4Closer,” explained.

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has four leagues – West, East, North Central and South Central. The Sacrificers are part of the West League with 22 teams in competition. The top-ranked team in the West is the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls of Denver.

“It’s not an underground sport anymore. It’s everywhere,” Daily said. “Once you become aware of that, you see it everywhere.”

Daily became involved in roller derby two years ago after seeing a sign for Sacred City at Rollerking during her son’s birthday party. She and a friend decided to try out because it was on their bucket lists.

Daily was an artistic skater at Rollerking while growing up in Roseville but quit in high school. Daily graduated from Oakmont in 1993 and then went to Sacramento State.

Unlike the roller derby of old, Sacred City is about competition and is played differently than in the era of the San Francisco Bay Bombers and legendary Joan Weston, the “Blonde Bomber.”

“(Now it’s) Playing more as a team in a pack setting. Before, the jammer would kind of be like hunted down by one or two of the bigger players and be annihilated over the side of the rail or something,” Daily said. “You can watch the strategy here once you see what’s developing.”

The teams train at least three times a week for three hours a day, Daily said.

“It’s for all types of women, and we even have volunteer positions,” Daily said. “Even guys can do it; they can ref. They can still be part of our community. It really is its own little sub-community – like a family in a lot of ways. We have girls who have retired that still come around and help us.”

Participating in roller derby is like having a second job, and many players juggle the sport with their home lives, Daily said.

“We have all types of artists, self-employed people. I’m in the mortgage industry. We have people in advertising, marketing, the medical fields – nurses, medics, EMTs, executives,” said Daily, who works at Comstock Mortgage in Roseville. “It’s for everybody.”

Kari “Slingshot” Kamphius has lived in Roseville for five years. She also saw a roller derby sign at Rollerking when her children were skating and decided to try out.
“I love the adrenaline rush,” she said. “It makes you do some amazing things.”

Each participant in roller derby gets a special name, and each name is original. Daily and Kamphius explained that no two names can be alike. Other names from the Sacrificers include “Daddy’s Girl,” “Sherlock Homeslice,” “Jennergizer Bunny” and “Buck U Up.”

The Sacrificers’ goal is to qualify for the regionals in October. Teams must be ranked in the top 10 of the WFTDA rankings to qualify, and the Sacrificers currently are eighth in the West.

“We play other ranked WFTDA teams,” Daily said. “They either pay us to come play them, or we pay them. That’s how we also earn money for the league. That money goes right back into the league, toward our travel and things like that.”

Interested in becoming a Derby Girl?
Tryouts for Sacred City will be held May 1.
Information: www.sacredcityderbygirls.com
Next home bout: April 16 at Rollerking, doubleheader

SCHEDULE
March 4: Sacrificers at Wild West Showdown II
April 16: Sacred City vs. Jet City, doubleheader
May 1: Tryouts
May 21: Disciples at Battle Born Derby Demons
June 18: Disciples vs. TBD
June 25: Sacrificers at East Coast Extravaganza
Aug. 27: Doubleheader at Central Coast
Oct. 22: Season finale, doubleheader