I grew up watching Roller Derby in the 70’s, and never really had much draw to it (plus back then you had to get up to change the channel, so there wasn’t as much channel surfing as there is today, which meant I couldn’t just stumble upon it and become en-tranced). However, I DID love to Rollerskate, a fact proven by my blue suede roller boots that still hang in my shed to this day!
Then, along came the Redneck Betties and the resurgence of Roller Derby. When I interviewed first the Saskatoon team, and then the Swift Current for unrelated stories, I was amazed by the grit and determination of all of the women I interviewed. Women who believed a woman could still be sexy and strong at the same time (and here was the best part), no matter what her size.
It was an effort I applauded and even considered joining, but still somehow despite attending fundraisers, buying their calendars, and attending the performance “Roller Derby Saved My Soul,” (a one-woman fringe-styled show presented by Nancy Kenny at this year’s Chautauqua), I never got around to actually watching the Betties in action….until Darth Vader came to town.
Scheduled to thrill fans at Swift Current’s Market Square earlier that afternoon, members of the 501st Badlands Garrison, (which encompasses BC, AB, and Sk), a group of professional fans who make appearances dressed as their favourite characters, joined forces with the Redneck Betties to bring a theatrical aspect to the event that was thrilling even for non-crazed Star Wars Fans like me.
With such famed characters as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, a Storm Trooper, Boba Fett, a Jedi, as well as a host of others, in attendance posing with fans young and old
After a grand entrance, featuring Darth and the gang parading around the flat track with light sabres and the free finger mini-lights handed to spectators at the door, waving in the dark, the Redneck Betties rolled out to the deafening cheers of their hometown fans. Caught up in the moment – I found myself cheering right along.
Then the lights brightened and the teams took to the track to prepare for their bout against the Gapland Rollers. What really impressed me at this point, was how the teams worked together to educate their audience, by demonstrating just how the game of Roller Derby is played, who it was you were looking at, how points were scored, and what counted as a foul in a game where the object is to hit the other person.
When the action started, I have to admit to being caught up in the drama of it all. I cheered when “we” scored, I jeered when “they” got by our defenses, and I gasped when someone took a particularly nasty hit or fall – all at the appropriate moments like some well-played out Melodrama.
During breaks in the action, scheduled and otherwise, adult fans had the opportunity to head on over to the bar area, where local Kinsmen and Kinettes served up adult beverages, and fans of all ages could head over to the concession area to chow down on typical “game-day” food and drinks, or purchase some awesome Redneck Bettie merchandise.
All in all, it was a great family night out. I’m only sorry that there’s only one game left in their season – for I’m now a true Redneck Betties fan!
Check out the action in this video from their first season:
How to GoHere: The Redneck Betties games are held in the Credit Union I-Plex curling arena. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for kids and can be purchased at Elmwood Grocers and Empire (DT Swift Current).
Gotta Go?: Thanks to the awesome facilities at the I-Plex there’s plenty of stalls for all.
Good to Know:
- Kids of all ages are welcome to attend – many of the Betties are moms themselves and will bring their own kids to watch – so they’re always mindful of their P’s and Q’s.
- There is only 1 game left in the Betties Season for 2012 – to be held on September 8th Doors open at 6:00 and Game starts at 7:00 as they take on “Deathbridge Derby Dames” from Lethbridge at the Credit Union I-Plex with an after party to follow.
- Like all of the previous Redneck Betties events there is a theme to their September 8th game, and this one is out supporting Zombageddon (in which they make a cameo!)- the movie being made by local film makers that will benefit the S.P.C.A. and fans are welcome to come dressed up as their favourite Zombie.
- If you can’t make it out to the Betties season closer – you still have ONE MORE CHANCE to take in some Derby action when Shaunavon’s Wickenheiser Centre welcomes Derby on September 22, 2012 at 6:00pm. Featuring both a rookie scrimmage and an advanced scrimmage, there’s even a cabaret to follow. For more details visit the event’s FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/497572660258831/?ref=ts
- Thinking you might want to give Roller Derby a try yourself? They’ve got a “Fresh Meat” recruiting event starting October 8th from 7pm-9pm at the Rec Centre that welcomes both MEN and women of all sizes and abilities to come and try it out. Contact: SWSRDA@hotmail.ca or join the Betties on Facebook to find out more info. or call 306-741-5014. Don’t worry if you can’t yet skate – they promise to teach you everything you need to know from scratch!
- Each Redneck Bettie program includes information on the rules to help you follow along, but here’s a good graphic that can help you understand some of the basics: