Moab Midwinter Mayhem III is just around the corner.
Moab Roller Derby’s regional tournament has grown to a two-day event in its third year.
A single-day tourney was held at the Grand County Middle School gym in 2012. It grew the next year to feature bouts all day long at the Old Spanish Trail Arena. This year, the tourney has grown to a two-day affair, with more participants, more food and beverage options, and more hype.
Erin Trim, also known as Jukulele, said that the team has been stepping up their endurance at practices, as well as focusing on jamming and hitting drills.
“In addition to the physical work we are putting into training, we have all been working hard to plan the event,” she said. “We are a small team, so planning na event of this scale is a real labor of love.”
The team recently received a generous sponsorship from Zax Restaurant, which allowed them to buy team uniforms.
“We were previously skating in t-shirts, so having matching performance wear jerseys is very exciting and a huge boost for team morale,” she said.
Moab’s Roller Derby team formed in 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 several skaters practicing twice a week at the Center Street Gym and the annual competition.
Andrea Lopez, also known as the MILF Marauder, is excited for the “opportunity to compete with and against some of the most elite skaters in this area.”
“I can’t wait for a whole weekend filled with derby fun,” she said.
Melanie Pfister from Wasatch Roller Derby attended Moab Midwinter Mayhem for the first time last year.
“I was blown away by how well the event was organized,” Pfister said. “It is by far the best Utah roller derby event and I think that is one of the reasons it is so well attended. Moab Roller Derby makes it very easy to roll into town and just skate.”
Food and beer will be available, and with the extra day, several styles of roller-derby play will be held. On Saturday beginning at 9 a.m., short 45-minute challenge bouts will be held throughout the day, ending with a special full-length bout main event featuring Colorado vs. Utah.
Fans of the reigning 2013 champs hailing from Utah are encouraged to wear red to show their team spirit, while fans of rival Colorado will be sporting blue.
On Sunday, a tournament-style format will be used with all of your favorite teams from the day before: The Wild Winter Outlaws, Black Ice, Avalanche, Yeti Plague, Snow Leopards and others.
Flat track roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in America. It is a fast-paced full contact sport that requires speed, strategy and athleticism. The flat track style of play evolved in 2001 and has grown quickly with over 820 leagues across the United States.
The basic rules of the game are fairly simple; each team features five players skating in the same direction on the track at one time – four blockers and one jammer.
Points are scored by the jammer from one team passing blockers from the other. Blockers assist their jammer, and try to hinder the opposing jammer. Illegal moves can lead to time on the bench, similar to hockey, and because of the physical nature and high contact-level of the game, 15 players on the bench are typically available to a team. The pace is fast, the scores usually high, and there is a lot of strategy involved as blockers try to prevent opposing jammers from scoring while opening lanes for their own jammers.
As completion of the Grand County Outdoor Pavilion looms near in 2014 and with popularity rising, the City of Moab is looking forward to hosting more events in the future.
“With it’s blend of athleticism, style and, well, quirkiness roller derby is a perfect fit for Moab,” said John Geiger, the director of Moab City Recreation. “The tremendous success of the Midwinter Mayhem bears this out with over 800 people in attendance in 2013. I’m sure it’ll be even bigger this year as more and more folks find out what a blast it is to watch these ladies do their thing.”
Team member Erin Trim said that by supporting Moab Roller Derby, you are helping our local non-profit amateur sports team attend more bouts on the road, host more local derby bouts, and recruit and train new skaters.
“If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about Moab Roller Derby, there is an open invitation to drop by practices at the Center St. Gym,” Trim said. Practices are Thursday and Sunday evenings.
JeniBeth, who skates under the name JeniDeath said that last year’s Moab Mayhem inspired her to pass her skills test so she could compete this year.
The minimum skills set by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association to compete include skating 27 laps in less than five minutes, being able to take and receive clean hits while retaining control on your skates, hopping over an object six inches off the ground, and others.
“I worked very hard to get here and I’m proud to see myself as part of this team,” JeniBeth said. “I am so excited to host such an abundance of skaters and I can’t wait to compete with and against them.”
Moab Midwinter Mayhem III expands to two days of roller derby bouts
“With it’s blend of athleticism, style and, well, quirkiness roller derby is a perfect fit for Moab.”
What: Roller Derby practices
When: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m, Thursdays; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sundays
Where: Center Street Gym, 203 E. Center St.
More info: Contact Erin Trim at 435-260-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When: 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26
Main Event: Utah v. Colorado
Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3461 S. Hwy 191
Cost: $10 for 2-day pass, children 12 and under free