Category Archives: Interviews

The Return of Pippi Strongblocking

In May 2013, the legendary Pippi Strongblocking of the Shotgun Sheilas was diagnosed with breast cancer after a chance trip to the hospital following concussive injuries at a charity bout.

In the months that followed, the outpouring of support for our girl Pippi melted the hardest of derby hearts. Monies were raised. Awareness was raised. And in the early stages of 2014, our spirits were raised as it was announced that Wendy, the whimsically-named tumor that had invaded all our lives and threatened one of our finest, had been crushed utterly.

Pippi Strongblocking is cancer-free, and this weekend, she makes her return to the flat track for Dead Girl Derby‘s 2014 championship game.

“Me, worry?”

As usual, we caught up with some of her teammates and friends to get their thoughts.

So sayeth Coach Wyatt:

This Saturday will be the first game that Pippi has skated in 15 months with the Shotgun Sheilas. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013, it was a blow to everyone in the league. But, as I knew she would, she battled and destroyed every bit of cancer. The second she was released to skate, she was skating. When she was released for contact, she was scrimmaging. Pippi has done a lot of training, on and off skates, to get back into shape.

We have an amazingly deep bench with amazing skaters and she has had to work her ass off to earn her spot back. In the absence of Pippi, the team was forced to find themselves without her and I am damn proud of every single girl on my roster. Aneeda Hurtcha stepped up into some big shoes, and in my opinion, filled every single inch of them. Now with Pippi back in the lineup, we will see what happens. There is no denying that she is the heart of the Sheilas; she is a leader on and off the track. She brings an intensity and calmness to the track that it hard to describe. I am extremely excited for the game on Saturday to see how my Shelias do against the very talented Royal Pains. It is sure to be one hell of a battle. PFIST!

So sayeth Aneeda Hurtcha:

I have had the immense pleasure of having Pippi be my teammate and friend for four seasons of roller derby. She has one of the most kind and peaceful souls I have ever known and I trust and respect her tremendously. Pippi has always been a calming presence for me while on the track and words can not express how happy I am to have my Pippi back.

So sayeth Hittie Kittie:

When I found out Pippi had cancer, I was devastated. The whole team was just shaken to their core. The league was utterly shocked. Her battle was no easy journey, but she came through it all victoriously. Taking the track with her on Saturday for the championship game is both an honor and a dream come true. The Sheilas have their heart back. We were never the same team without her. If cancer can’t stop us, nothing can! We are Sheila Strong!

Pippi Strongblocking and the Shotgun Sheilas will face the Royal Pains tomorrow night at Kemper Arena for the 2014 Dead Girl Derby championship. Click the banner above for the Facebook event page. Doors open at 5:00, games begin at 6:00.

Featured Blacksnake Rollergirl – August 2014

Our Featured Blacksnake Rollergirl for August is The Kadydid Kid!

Name: The Kadydid Kid
Teams: The Danger Dolls
Number: R-84
Position(s): Blocker
Seasons with the Blacksnake Rollergirls: 3

How did you discover the Blacksnake Rollergirls?
“I discovered BRG through my sister, Lucy Brawler. She always wanted me to play and she asked if I wanted to try it out.”

Explain the origin of your derby name.
“My derby name is originated from The Karate Kid. It was “Cady Did-It” for a week, and obviously it didn’t stick. Lucy suggested this name and it was perfect! The whole league called me Kid anyway since I was the youngest in the league at the time.”

Who inspires you on the track?
“Everyone inspires me on the track. Every woman in this league has a special talent and they all inspire me to learn more and constantly strive to be better. I love every Blacksnake, coach, ref, and skater.”

How has roller derby changed your life?
“Roller derby gave me an outlet to get away from all of the life things that happen. BRG is a big second family that I couldn’t imagine NOT having in my life. They make me laugh, cry, and brighten my day when I’m having a really bad one.”

What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in The Kadydid Kid?
“BRG makes me want to be the best I can be, on the track and off. These girls are nurses, military men and women, computer nerds, and so many greater things than just the ones we come in contact with on a daily basis. It helps me keep going through school and they inspire me to be great in life. They are a great support system and I am so proud to be a Blacksnake!”

To see more of The Kadydid Kid and all the Blacksnake Rollergirls in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and check out our newly-launched Pinterest and Instagram pages.

Featured Dead Girl – July 2014

Our Featured Dead Girl for July is Zombina!

Name: Zombina
Teams: The Shotgun Sheilas and Gang Green
Position(s): Blocker, Jammer, Pivot
Seasons with Dead Girl Derby: 2

How did you discover Dead Girl Derby?
“I had always thought roller derby was an interesting sport, but only had ever seen old videos (those 1960s bombshells going crazy on the banked track). I had yet to experience modernized derby in all its glory. Around the time I was pregnant with my youngest son, my really good friend of almost nine years, 10aciousV, started playing with DGD. The way she talked about the league and what skating did for her made me even more interested. She talked about all the benefits: exercise, girl time, bonding, and her transformation into an ultra-BAMF. So one weekend I took the whole family up to River Roll to watch 10acious skate. Watching her skate her heart out and seeing all the passion in the girls that were skating made me realize that this was something I had to do as soon as I could after my pregnancy. So, six weeks after my son was born, I was at recruitment night, nervous as hell! And even though I couldn’t skate to save my life and fell down constantly, I was in love!”

Explain the origin of your derby name.
“Anyone who has known me for quite some time understands I have a ‘slight’ obsession with horror films, specifically zombie movies. In college I redesigned “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks as a pocket guide for on-the-go survival, my house is decked out in tons of Zombie stuff from zombie gnomes outside in our garden to zombie artwork on the walls, I take my children with me to participate in zombie walks, and I have seen almost every zombie film I can get my hands on. After much debate (picking a derby name ranks up there in difficulty with naming your children!) it seemed only natural to have my name tie to the undead flesh eaters and I already had an online handle as z0mbina, so I just went with that!”

Who inspires you on the track?
“Wow…this is super tough… Dead Girl Derby has so many talented and fearless people involved with it… it’s so hard to pick. First off: the not-so-fresh-meat this year have been incredibly inspiring! They are not afraid to push themselves to the limit and keep going, even though their legs are like jello or they may be nervous about a new drill. All of those girls have come so far from when they started. I am so proud of them! Of course, all my Sheilas have been incredibly inspiring for me as well! They will never let me give up when I’m frustrated, are always pushing me to do better than my best, and are so encouraging! Individual skaters outside my team that inspire me are: Red Ripper, 10aciousV, Striking Dervish, Ginger Ninja, Jam-Pa, Leroy Jenkins, and [Suicide] Snowcone.”

How has roller derby changed your life?
“There were plenty of times last season that I was about to give up. I was frustrated that I wasn’t progressing as fast as I wanted to, I was nervous on my skates, I wasn’t fast, etc etc etc… but the best part was that even though I had begun to give up on myself, others in the league wouldn’t let me. The encouragement I have seen from skaters and coaches is just incredibly heartwarming. I have met some really wonderful people because of this sport, and that’s ultra-difficult for me since I have a really hard time opening up and making new friends. I also feel like I am probably in the best shape since high school and more physically strong than I have ever been. Roller derby also have given me a new-found sense of empowerment!”

What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Zombina?
“I love being able to help the newer skaters. I remember that feeling of downing on the track, not knowing what to do. I don’t want our new skaters feeling like that, so I always make myself available for questions or offering up tweaks to their technique. I think I am at my best when I can contribute to my league mates accomplishments. It’s great to watch a skater fulfill their derby aspirations!”

To see more of Zombina and all the Dead Girls in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and check out our newly-launched Pinterest and Instagram pages.

Fountain City Roller Derby

We at KC Derby Digest have gotten quite a few e-mails (and even a few phone calls, which is weird for a web site) from local followers of this great sport asking about the impending name change from Dead Girl Derby to Fountain City Roller Derby, a change which was announced on live television a couple of weeks ago when Coach Kentner, Mel Breakdown, Texas Outlaw, and Slim Karsmashian appeared on KCTV5 News to talk about the league and all the latest. We caught up with Coach Kentner late last week to get the full details, and here’s what he had to say, followed by our own take on this incredible announcement.

Not pictured: Coach Kentner.

KC Derby Digest:
What prompted the name change to Fountain City after five seasons?

Coach Kentner:
“With the introduction of our two coed teams this year, we felt the “Girl” in Dead Girl Derby did not really describe us as a league anymore. We also wanted a name that tied us to the city that we love and come from. Kansas City’s nickname is the “City of Fountains,” so we thought Fountain City Roller Derby was a perfect fit for us.”

KC Derby Digest:
And who designed that brilliant new logo?

Coach Kentner:
“Our very own skater, Zombina, was the one who designed the logo and did an amazing job.”

KC Derby Digest:
When is the name change official?

Coach Kentner:
“The plan right now is to transition at the end of season on September 8th, the day after the last Coed/Zombie League bout. However, at the new recruitment nights on August 10th and 18th, the potential new league members will only know the league as Fountain City Roller Derby from the time they start.”

KC Derby Digest:
Will Dead Girl Derby merchandise still be available? Also, is the full line of FCRD merch already available, or will that take time to roll out?

Coach Kentner:
Dead Girl Derby merchandise is still available for purchase, but in limited quantities. We plan on selling it until it runs out. If we have a demand for what would now be considered “vintage” DGD gear, we will certainly look into printing more DGD merchandise. We do have some Fountain City Roller Derby [shirts] for sale, but it will take some time to get everything [else] designed and ordered. No team names will change, so team merchandise is still available for purchase. We are trying to make the transition for all our fans as easy as possible so no one gets lost in what is going on.”

Our Take on the New Name

Errrbody’s been wanting to know what KC Derby Digest thinks of the name change. Traditionally, we tend to be… well, traditionalists, so to speak. We don’t love change, and typically, we figure things are the way they are for a reason.

Having said that, we think the new league name is brilliant.

And that’s not “as opposed” to the old name, either; we’ve spoken with several people in the last couple of weeks who say they’ve always disliked the name Dead Girl Derby, and although we are not among them, we are in full agreement that the name change will benefit the league in just about every way imaginable.

Coach Kentner was exactly right: it does better reflect the league’s roots in Kansas City, and that’s important. “Fountain City” is clever, it’s culturally referential, and if you know what’s what, it does tell you where we’re from without actually naming the city. To add to the appeal, it will be vague enough for non-Kansas Citians to wonder aloud about the name, which is a form of free marketing/advertising unto itself. But perhaps most importantly, it is the latest indication that this amazing league has absolutely, positively grown into adulthood after five fantastically successful seasons.

The name Dead Girl Derby has its roots in the zombie theme the league’s bouts used to feature. In those days, Gang Green and Black Plague were the only two teams in existence, in keeping with the theme. The original logo was on board with that too:

Click to enlarge

It was fun, whimsical, and perfectly appropriate for an up-and-coming flat track league in its infancy. But I have to say, the chuckles I often heard when telling newbies about something called “Dead Girl Derby” were getting really old. Legitimacy in the eyes of the public is something roller derby may always struggle with, and this name change will be the latest nail in the coffin of the perception that this great sport is just pro rasslin’ on wheels.

At this point, they’ve outgrown the name, the logo, and the zombie theme. House games are held at Hale Arena — not exactly small potatoes. The league itself is now comprised of eight teams, and as a result, their membership has surpassed that of all other Kansas City leagues, male or female, making them “Kansas City’s largest roller derby league,” according to their still-under construction web site. A new name was simply the next logical step in the evolution of this unparalleled league, and they’ve certainly made the most of the opportunity.

In keeping with their origins, the new Fountain City logo retains at least one element of the old Dead Girl Derby design, and the Zombie League bouts held at B&D Skate Center are the perfect throwback to days gone by. From there, however, it is clearly onward and upward for this unstoppable league, and we at KC Derby Digest couldn’t be more thrilled about their continued growth and success. As these ladies and gents bring their Dead Girl days to an end and enter a new era of flat track excellence, we look forward to seeing what these incredible athletes have in store for us in future seasons.

Featured Dead Girl – June 2014

Our Featured Dead Girl for June 2014 is Miki Malicious!

Name: Miki Malicious
Teams: Lovely Lethals and Public Enemies
Number: HANG10
Position(s): Blocker, Jammer
Seasons with Dead Girl Derby: 1

How did you discover Dead Girl Derby?
“A flyer saying ‘are you derby strong’ caught my eye at my local music and video store. Went to the very first orientation and bought my derby skate kit from B&D that night.”

Explain the origin of your derby name.
“My grandmother. She played roller derby in high school and then went pro. Her nickname is Miki and I wanted to pay homage to her. Funny part is, I didn’t know she was a derby girl until after I joined DGD. I guess you can say roller derby runs in my family. Then, Malicious just clicked, because it’s the opposite of my persona.”

Who inspires you on the track?
“I’d like to add ‘encouraging,’ ‘supportive,’ and ‘constructive.’ Red Ripper, Crash AnialIateHer, Foxxi Brown, Mel Breakdown, Striking Dervish, Pippi Strongblocking, Lunatic Lola, ChocaZilla, Joey Lethal, and Leroy Jenkins. Of course, last but not least, my husband, my son, and my grandmother Cora ‘Miki’ Richie.”

How has roller derby changed your life?
“I fell in love with roller derby the very first day. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, it got inside my heart, resulting in more strength in mind, my health in all aspects, has never been better. Roller derby is exactly what I was missing in my life.”

What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Miki Malicious?
“Definitely have to say more confidence, patience, self control, dedication, and strive. But seeing the proud look on my son’s face is priceless. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband and son for their support by letting me use them as practice dummies for hitting, blocking, hip checks, etc. I love you guys!”

Featured Blacksnake Rollergirl – June 2014

Our featured Blacksnake Rollergirl for June 2014 is Rainbow Frite!

Name: Rainbow Frite
Team: The Rushin' Rollettes, BRG All-Stars
Number: 5 Stars
Position(s): Blocker
Seasons with the Blacksnake Rollergirls: 3

How did you discover the Blacksnake Rollergirls?
“I was actually recruited by a couple of players that have since retired, Kitty Chaos and Victoria’s Secret Weapon. I work with them and they thought I would be a good fit for BRG. So I showed up to a practice and actually got really busy with work and didn’t go back for a couple of months. Once I returned, I was drafted to the Venomous Vixens and only had a few practices before I played my first game! After that first game, I was addicted.”

Explain the origin of your derby name.
“I had kicked around several names, one being Abbey Rogue to appease my obsession with the Beatles. My husband, Coach Sk8 O’Masochist, and I were sitting around trying to come up with ideas. He came up with a lot of names… but Rainbow Frite, taken from Rainbow Brite, stuck with me. I am an 80s child, and who doesn’t love Rainbow Brite? The name stuck and I couldn’t imagine having any other name!”

Who inspires you on the track?
“There are so many people that inspire me. I have to give a shout-out to the original Venomous Vixens. Without the OVV, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Coach Chadillac, Coach I for an Eye, Coach Jon, Coach Daddy Rampage, and all the ladies on the team taught me what derby was all about. All of the ladies on that team pushed me, but I have to give a special shout-out to Hott-ness Monster. She continuously pushed me in practices, sometimes literally, which enabled me to push my body to limits I didn’t know I could reach. She taught me a lot of what I know when it comes to blocking and I can’t thank her enough for taking the time to help me out. Coach Sk8 O’Masochist is someone who inspires me every day. He pushes me and he pushes our team to be the best we can be. He has turned into such an amazing coach and I couldn’t imagine derby without him. Des’Amator, my derby wife and partner in crime, continues to inspire me to work harder in practice as well as outside of practice. She is an amazing derby player and I am so lucky to have her on my team. I’m am also obsessed with DGD! There are way too many skaters and coaches to list, but they are amazing people and anytime I get to spend with them on and off the track is a privilege. To all the ladies and gentlemen in BRG, you are my family and I am so glad to have you in my life!”

How has roller derby changed your life?
“Before derby, I didn’t really know a lot of people in town. We had moved to St. Joseph in the fall of 2009 and didn’t really get out much. As soon as I joined BRG, I started making friends. Those friends have turned into my sisters and brothers. I am amazed everyday by the community feeling we have in our league. If someone is in need, our league is right there making sure everyone is taken care of. I have never seen so many selfless people in one spot. I feel that is the case with other leagues as well, such as Dead Girl Derby and Benton County Derby. I love this league and am very thankful to have such an amazing support system!”

What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Rainbow Frite?
“My team brings out the best in me. It is such an honor to skate with the Rushin’ Rollettes. Everyone gives their all every single game and in every single practice. My teammates push me to keep getting better and to keep showing up to every single practice so I can better myself for my team and the league. Plus, hitting people is pretty fun too.”