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Inside the derby

Como Convixen team members get ready for their final game of the season.
Scarlett Robertson
Como Convixen team members get ready for their final game of the season.

This week’s show covers everything you wanted to know about roller derby but where afraid to ask.

I headed to the Boone County Fairgrounds where the CoMo Derby Dames were playing their last game of the season, a double header—the Convixens versus the Violent Phlegmmes.

Roller Derby is much more than women with clever names on skates.The sport can be traced back to the 1930s, though it’s more revival began about ten years ago in Austin, Tx. Now there are more than 1,000 amateur leagues around the world. Most teams are part of a derby association which serves as a governing body but also maintains the rules of the sport. And before they can even get in the ring, the girls are required to pass a skills test. So yes, roller derby is an actual sport, complete with rules and strategy.

It’s really the spirited women who make this sport so special. They don’t get paid for time on the rink, and because it’s a club sport, they pay to play, so they’re not in it for the money.

I spoke to four of the CoMo Derby Dames about what roller derby means to them.

Scarlett Robertson joined KBIA as a producer in February 2011. She studied psychology at Lake Forest College and holds a masters degree in journalism from Syracuse University. Scarlett began her professional career in psychology, jumped to magazines and then came to her senses and shifted to public radio. She has contributed to NPR member stations WAER in Syracuse, KUT in Austin and Chicago’s WBEZ.