Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Last Sunday I got to take part in a fun event with the Oxnard banked track league, Sugartown. They've been around for a couple of years, and frankly have had an...interesting existence. Things haven't always been smooth in the general Ventura area with them and the local flat track leagues, and it got weirder when they hired LADD's old coach for about a year.

Then Sugartown came to their senses.

They were scheduled to have an exhibition game at a yearly biker event called Chopperfest. Which is really brilliant if you ask me...bikers and roller derby?! A perfect combination! I would be intrigued if I wasn't already involved with both! Problem was, Sugartown hit rock bottom by losing their warehouse practice space, the coach, and a bunch of skaters at around the same time a couple months ago.


So they reached out to the local derby community and asked for help. All kinds of help. SO much help. Sugartown came to weekly practices in LA. They asked to borrow skaters for the Chopperfest event, which they were calling the Sugartown Smackdown. They needed a ruleset to skate by. They needed refs to enforce the ruleset. They needed announcers. They were overwhelmed with the prospect of pulling this off, but they needed to do it to try for survival.

And in a frantic two and a half months, they got themselves an event. Suzy Snakeyes, Figg Lebowski, Helen Surly Frown and myself volunteered to skate the event from LADD. PITA and Pinky P'okerface amongst others led the charge of Orange County, quite a few West Coast Derby Knockouts showed up, a lone badass from Missile Mountain in Colorado, and the remaining skaters of Sugartown were split into two teams to skate exhibition scrimmages on the hour, every hour, for four hours.

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently some of the less experienced skaters were nervous about their skating abilities on the bank, but they needn't have worried as the track was very slippery due to the cold and humidity, thus it became the Great Equalizer for us all. Everyone was slipping and sliding early in the day, and that kept us humble and more likely to work together during scrimmaging just so that we didn't hurtle ourselves into the infield unexpectedly.

And then we started getting comfortable. Here is a hilarious sequence of me trying to terrorize the opposing jammer, Saracuda, who skates with WCDK. To be honest, the only reason I went for this approach was because I was told she was scared of me. HA!

Closeup of the same sequence. When I turned around to hit her, she literally squeaked. It was adorable. She went on to score points, by the by.

I miss skating with and against PITA.

Something you don't see very often, and for good reason. Me jamming. I actually scored points, though!

Look at this group. I'll skate with them ANYTIME.

The Sugartown girls say that for next year, they want to invite more skaters to put together the teams for this event. Which I think is fantastic! I can't wait for 2012! This derby retirement thing is going pretty well so far!


Vendetta said...

Oh man! Wish they would've invited some VCDD players to skate! I would have jumped on the bandwagon for sure :)

Awesome opportunity for Sugtown and West Coast! Sounds like it was tons of fun for all the skaters involved!

The Original Donald said...

Hopefully no one was injured!

RedDiabla said...

Vendetta: it would be SO AWESOME if VCDD was involved next year! I hope that works out!

Donald: no more than most scrimmages.

Mollie Tuff Cocktail said...

Tara, this day was amazing. Everyone working together and laughing and having fun. I was smacked in the face with a reminder of why we do this! We have had so many road blocks but with the help of our derby family we have overcome them. Thats what happens when you put your faith in those that believe in you. I was so proud of all the STRG girls who not only built the banked track but also broke it down took it to the fair, set it up and then skated it! Think that's all? Nope...they broke it down after skating and hauled it to the warehouse. They deserve every ounce of fun we can squeeze out of this! They have literally put their blood sweat and tears into that track and they will continue to every time we have a game. Sometimes it seems unreal to me what they all put into this. For all of us it was an honor to have such amazing examples of what modern roller derby is skating beside us as teammates. We could never have done it alone and we thank you all sincerely. Sometimes a little FUN can really rekindle the fire, and a super hero here and there doesn't hurt either!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the skaters, officials, EMT's, Track Monkeys, Announcers, Volunteers and Friends/Family that made this possible for us!!!!

Vendetta: Working on it. Hopefully good things for 2012!

The Original Donald said...

Good. Don't want another Cha Cha incident happening

RedDiabla said...

Mollie Tuff: you and Saturday Night Special pulled together and reset beautifully after this year's adventures! Your skaters are going to benefit from that highly! Can't wait to see what your league does next season!

Donald: a slippery surface doesn't automatically create a Cha Cha situation.

Mike Tanner said...

Favorite moment of the day:
Tara blocks opposing team's blocker into that player's own jammer. Jammer falls. Tara lets out an audible "heh heh heh."

RedDiabla said...

True story: I like being a bully on the track!