After an off-season full of training, fundraising, and recruiting new members, the Twin City Derby Girls are back. Their home opener is this Saturday, May 19, with a doubleheader bout at the U of I Ice Arena.
Derby is a year-round commitment, though. After last season ended, the ladies worked to stay in shape with drills and endurance training, says Chiquita Bandita, PR Chair for the Derby Girls. In March, tryouts were held. “Sixteen women tried out, and sixteen passed,” says Bandita.
These sixteen new skaters became part of the farm team — a 10-week training program ending in a skills test, with those who pass the test joining the rookie team, the Vice Quads. A draft was also held in the off-season, in which last year’s Vice Quads each joined one of the Derby Girls’ home teams, the ‘Paign, the Boneyard Bombshells, and the Damagin’ Dames. Many of the home team players also play on one of TCDG’s travel teams, while others compete on the travel teams only.
Recently, the Derby Girls hosted a media day, with several local reporters and big names in C-U attending, including Champaign mayor Don Gerard and U of I athletic director Mike Thomas. The ladies were very excited for the upcoming season, skating as if they were in an actual game, not just a scrimmage, and showing off bruises like badges of honor.
A few changes are in store this season. Most of the home bouts will be at Skateland in Savoy (with food and drinks catered by Dish), and the travel teams will play at the David S. Palmer arena in Danville. Last year, the league partnered with a different local charity at each bout, but this year will have one main charity partner — RACES (Rape Advocacy, Counseling & Education Services) in Urbana. “This gives us the opportunity to make a bigger impact,” says Bandita, adding that the group participated in RACES’ Take Back the Night event in April.
The Derby Girls also did some fundraising of their own in April, hosting a screening of Whip It at the Art Theater, and are hosting a car wash on May 26. The car wash will be held at Tire Barn at 806 Bloomington Rd. (in front of Home Depot) from noon–4:00 p.m. A car wash is $5. The TCDG been very involved in the community in the past two years, and hope to keep the momentum going.
This Saturday’s bout will start at 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:00), with the Damagin’ Dames taking on the Aurora 88s. The ‘Paign and Boneyard Bombshells face off at 8:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online.
Here’s the rest of TCDG’s 2012 schedule:
- Saturday, June 9 (Palmer Civic Arena, Danville): Travelers’ A & B vs. TBD
- Sunday, June 17 (Skateland, Savoy): Damagin’ Dames vs. Boneyard Bombshells
- Sunday, July 15 (Skateland, Savoy): The ‘Paign vs. Damagin’ Dames
- Sunday, July 29 (Skateland, Savoy): Boneyard Bombshells vs. The ‘Paign
- Saturday, Aug. 4 (St. Louis, Mo.): Travelers’ A at Arch Rival Roller Girls’ (ARRG) St. Lunachix
- Sunday, Aug. 5 (St. Louis, Mo.): Travelers’ B at ARRG C-Team
- Saturday, Aug. 11 (St. Charles, Mo.): Travelers’ A & B at St. Chux Derby Chix
- Sunday, Aug. 19 (Skateland, Savoy): Damagin’ Dames vs. Boneyard Bombshells
- Sunday, Sept. 16 (Skateland, Savoy): Damagin’ Dames vs. The ‘Paign
- Saturday, Sept. 29 (Lafayette, Ind.): Travelers’ A at Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls
- Saturday, Sept. 29 (Peoria): Travelers’ B at Peoria Push Derby Dames
- Sunday, Oct. 7 (Skateland, Savoy): League Championship/Season Finale
All photos by Emily Koester. Uses with permission.