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Roller derby mania!

Twin CityThe next Twin City Derby Girls bout will be on the evening of October 2nd, and once again at the Savoy Recreational Center.  The bout will be between The Boneyard Bombshells and the league’s newest team, The Damagin’ Dames.  Tickets go on sale Thursday, September 16th at 6:00 pm on the TCDG website.  Be at your computer at that time if you want to attend; tickets to the last bout sold out in forty minutes.  It seems that the Derby Girls need to find a bigger venue. 

If you don’t get tickets, you can eyeball the action from Jupiter’s at the Crossing, where there will be a live streaming video of the bout.  The after party for the bout will also be at Jupiter’s at the Crossing, starting at 10:00 pm. 

There are three teams in the TCDG league; after this upcoming bout, all three will have played each other.  All intra-league bouts so far could have gone either waythere haven’t been any blowoutsand this October 2nd bout should be a good contest. 

Star Bombshell jammer Houchebag will be going up against Dames jammer Oh No Bobo.  Bobo piled up the points in her debut bout on August 27th, threading through the pack ahead of her as if it were easy.  League spokesperson and Boneyard Bombshell Liz Lerner (aka Bear Kylls) offered her prediction of what will happen when Houchebag and Bobo clash: “It will be one heck of a battle.  They are both in ridiculous shape and both belong to undefeated teams.  I anticipate some fierce derby.”

Roller derby bouts in general and TCDG bouts in particular can get plenty crazy.  For some of the color of a TCDG bout, check out the recent Smile Politely article by Emma Reaux.  But how much do audience antics in a packed house affect the skaters?  According to Lerner, “Some skaters are so focused on the game that they don’t hear the crowd at all, and some feed off of the cheering.  Personally, a cheering crowd gives me energy.”

TamaleMeet a Twin City Derby Girl

The ‘Paign skater Hot Tamale (see picture) came up with her derby name as a response to people who messed up her real name, Tami Tunnell.  At 47, Hot Tamale is older than many of the other derby girls and is a grandmother of three.  Although Tunnell just began derby this year, roller skating is nothing new to her.  She said, “I’ve been roller skating since I was four.  Roller skating is a big thing in my family, and when derby popped up and I had a chance, I said ‘I’m going to do this.’  I used to watch derby in the 70s and it looked like a lot of fun.”

At bouts, Tamale has a small and wildly enthusiastic fan club who pass out boxes of Hot Tamales Candy in the bleachers.  Tunnell explained that the group are her friends and family, and that they supported her when she decided to take up roller derby last winter while in the middle of chemotherapy.  She said of her decision to become a derby girl at a difficult time in her life, “I was just sitting there feeling like death warmed over and I went to this meeting when they were doing fundraising.  I thought, ‘I’m going to do this.  It’s going to keep me moving forward towards something; it’s going to get me up off this couch.’ I felt like I wasn’t living… anyone who has had cancer can probably tell you what it felt like.”

Tunnell, who is now done with chemotherapy but is scheduled to be in treatment through November, said that derby has been instrumental in helping her fight the disease: “With derby, you’re living in the moment.  I think with most of us, we’re living in the future.  I was looking at a possible no future, so it was time to live in the moment and this helps me do it.”

Hot Tamale’s team won’t be competing on October 2nd, but she’ll be helping outprobably by supervising the penalty box.  She estimates that she spends “easily 12 to 15 hours” a week on derby between practices and derby activities.  She explained, “Once it gets in your blood, it’s in your blood.  You want to talk about getting obsessed.” 

“If we could get paid to do this, we’d be set,” she said. 

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