Moab Roller Derby skaters spent five days training, networking, and playing roller derby in Las Vegas the last week of July. Carrie Alexander aka Carrie-Go-Round, Maureen Clapper aka Mosama Bin Lappin, Andrea Jackson aka Hot Pantz, Jessica O’Leary aka Evil Lucian, and Erin Trim aka Red Rock’r joined nearly 5,000 skaters and roller derby aficionados from around the world to participate in Rollercon Las Vegas, the world’s largest and oldest roller derby convention.
This year’s Rollercon boasted 14 different kinds of classes and activities for skaters to participate in. Moab skaters participated in seminars, challenge-bouts, on and off skates athletic training, and social and networking events. They plan on bringing their new found skills, knowledge and inspiration back to Moab to share with other locals interested in the sport.
These local skaters are serious about the success of roller derby in Moab.
League president O’Leary hosted a round table discussion at Rollercon about roller derby in small towns. Her goal was to bring back some ideas to help grow the sport here. Dozens of players from rural areas as far away as Florida and Alaska met to discuss the particular challenges of making roller derby work in a small town. Attendees networked, shared success stories, and warned each other of mistakes to avoid.
The intent of Rollercon was to bring skaters together. In a style unique to the modern incarnation of the sport, players from anywhere can skate with the top athletes in the country at Rollercon. This is something that Moab players were particularly excited about.
“What other sport can you go and get trained by the very best players in the world and then turn around and be on a team with them?” O’Leary asked.
O’Leary skated with “Team Science,” a mixed bag of scientist/skaters put together for a challenge bout against “Team Art”.
“I was playing with some of the best skaters in the country, and against some of the best. You can learn a ton about game play by skating with experienced skaters,” O’Leary said.
Teams at Rollercon are made up of players from all over and in the spirit of fun many of the challenges and team names are tongue and cheek.
For instance, Moab Roller Derby skated with skaters from Arizona, California on the Desert Rat team. They competed against the Mountain Cats, a team
comprised mostly of skaters from Colorado.
“It’s a Rollercon tradition that gives us all a chance to skate with people we wouldn’t otherwise get to,” Jackson said.
Many nationally recognized skaters taught classes.
Moab’s Alexander seized the opportunity to learn from Suzy Hotrod, a New York skater whose skill and athleticism have made her a super-star in the world of roller derby.
The Moab team also got to watch several excellent bouts.
“The coolest thing for me was seeing some of the top athletes in the sport play,” said Clapper. “And to be with five thousand people who were all about derby and loving it.”
Trim echoed this sentiment.
“I returned to Moab with a smile on my face, and the inspiration to work hard to become a better athlete,” Trim said. “Watching so many talented teams bout, attending workshops, and networking with players from all over the nation and beyond was an invaluable experience.”
Since the sport’s rebirth in Texas in 2001, players have come a long way from thinking of it as a campy spectacle on wheels. These days, most players consider roller derby as a seriously competitive sport requiring diligent training, agility, speed, endurance, and guts to play.