Skaters compete in the Moab Midwinter Mayhem held at the Grand County Middle School last year. This year the roller derby tournament will be held at the Old Spanish Trail Arena from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. [Photo by Miso Tunks]

It’s time for Moab Midwinter Mayhem 2.

That’s right – 2.

Moab’s first roller derby tournament was a year ago at the Grand County Middle School gym. This year Moab Roller Derby rented a floor and invited friends from other leagues to join them for an all-day tournament at the Old Spanish Trail Arena.

There will be food. There will be beer.

And there will be athletic women skating, hitting and jamming.

Bouts begin at 11 a.m. The main bout begins at 6:30 p.m. between Team Utah and Team Colorado.

The rules of roller derby are fairly simple:

Each team has five members, skating in the same direction around a track. The “jammer” on each team tries to score points by lapping members of the opposing team. Other team members attempt to help their jammer and hinder the other team’s jammer.

Moab’s Roller Derby team is fairly new. They formed August 2011 after team organizer Jessica O’Leary, or “Evil Lucian” in the Roller Derby world, moved to Moab from Las Cruces, N.M.

She had skated there and didn’t want to stop.

She started a Moab Roller Derby Facebook page to gauge interest. Two women quickly signed up, and now the team has eleven skaters practicing twice a week at the Center Street Gym.

Andrea Jackson, aka Hot Pantz, is one of those faithful members.

She played with the Salt City Derby Girls in 2007 and 2008.

She said roller derby changed her life.

“It changed my outlook on a lot of things. It gave me confidence in a lot of areas I didn’t have confidence in before,” Jackson said. “It tapped into a competitiveness I didn’t know I had.”

She said the sport changed in the few years she took a break. It became less “kitsch”, more athletic. While each team member still has a name, there is less focus on campy costumes. There is more focus on strategy.

But it’s still violent.

“But it’s violent in a fun way. We’re not out to hurt each other, but it is an aggressive sport. The hits are real. The falls we take are real. The injuries are real,” she said. “We’re not trying to put on a show for the audience. The hitting and aggression has a purpose.”

She believes it is the “greatest sport in the world.”

“I love the competiveness. I love the physicality,” she said. “I love hanging out with a bunch of women who are strong and committed. And it keeps me in good shape.”

The team now practices two nights a week, Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Sundays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Center Street Gym. New skaters are always welcome.

“We’re always recruiting new members,” O’Leary said.

Last year the main bout at the Midwinter Mayhem was between the Sun Worshippers and the Snow Bunnies, and the Moab players were split between the two teams.

“This year all the Moab players will be playing on Team Utah,” O’Leary said.

Moab Roller Derby played every single month last year, but only had the one home game. This year, in addition to Midwinter Mayhem this weekend, they will have games in February and April at the Grand County Middle School.