This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Racing around the skating rink after hours at the Classic Fun Center in Layton is a pack of roller derby dolls decked out in full scrimmage gear preparing for their upcoming season of jamming bouts with other leagues.
Unlike traditional skaters, the women brag about their injuries and have alter-ego derby names, like Dominique Trix, Slayer Cake and Hannah Bull.
The women come to skate their hearts out and release stress. "We can take it out on each other, and you can get out your aggression so you can make it to work the next day," Kelly Storrings said.
When Storrings recently had heart surgery, the doctor told her she needed a form of cardio exercise, so she became a roller derby doll.
Misty Tarlton lost 30 pounds in two months when she started with the derby dolls last year. She is married and is a stay-at-home mother of four. She got started after a woman she attends church with recommended it.
"You fall in love with it, and I didn't even really know how to skate," Tarlton said. "It is more fun than I've ever had and great exercise, which makes me come vthree times a week for practice."
The Junction City Roller Dolls was formed last June, following the tradition of other roller derby leagues across the nation.
Women's flat-track derby racing dates back to the '50s, when quad skates were the norm. Today's women wear the classic skates. Roller blades are considered a form of "sissy" skating, said the women on the Junction City Roller Dolls because quad skates are harder to skate and maneuver.
"Being a part of this sport is like a disease," said Hildy Young, one of the owners and a board member of the Junction City Roller Dolls. "Once you've come in contact with it, you're infected. Everybody involved has the same mentality and understanding of each other."
The Junction City Roller Dolls involves about 30 women ranging in age from 18 to 40. Derby racing on roller skates is a real sport involving athletic ability and sportsmanship in which the referee keeps everyone in check while the girls must work as a team in groups of four competing against the other team's pack of four, referred to as a jamming session.
After the referee blows the whistle, the pack begins skating around the rink while each team's jammer skater has to try getting through the pack to score points for the team.
Each team has defensive blockers who attempt to stop the progress of the opposing team's jammer and help its own jammer make it through by counteracting the other team's defensive maneuvers.
Members of the Junction City Rollers Dolls encourage any woman to try out for the team.
Miranda Trix, one of the founders and owners of the group took almost an hour to get around the rink the first time she tried.
"It did take me awhile to get used to it, but after that, it was a piece of cake," Trix said. "You can do anything if you set your mind to it."
When interested women first attend practice sessions, the team encourages them and helps them learn the skills they need to know for tryouts.
One skill a roller derby girl must learn is how to skate fast around the rink, which is critical for keeping up with the pack during a competition.
Trix often tells any newcomers that every part of their body might hurt the morning after practice, but she insists anyone can get used to it.
The team members seek to become contenders this year, so they practice several times a week to prepare for their upcoming season. The team plans to compete in Las Vegas at the Picnic Scrimmage and also plans on competing against the Salt City Derby.
Roller derby bouts take place on a circuit track. Two teams playing send five players each onto the track. Three blockers and one pivot (last line of defense) make up a pack, with one jammer (scorer) 20 feet behind the pack. Helmet covers, commonly called helmet panties, are used to display the players' positions. A striped cover is used for pivots. A cover with two stars is used for jammers, and no cover is used for blockers.
Bouts are broken down into two-minute jams. At the start of the first whistle, the pack begins skating. Jammers start racing when the referee blows a double whistle. It is the jammers' goal to make it through the pack to score points. A jammer can be named lead jammer if she is the first one to legally make it through the pack. She then has the ability to call off a jam at any time. Points are scored after the jammers circle the pack once. They are awarded a point for each opposing team's blockers they legally pass.
Penalties are given to skaters who block illegally, fight or behave in an unsporting manner or otherwise break the rules. If a skater receives four minor penalties or a major penalty, she is sent to the penalty box for at least one minute.
Each bout consists of two 30-minute or three 20-minute periods. At the end of each jam, players re-form the pack and start a new jam.
To read the full WFTDA official rules, go to http://www.wftda.com/official-rules.
The term "roller derby" dates at least as far back as 1922, when the Chicago Tribune used it to describe multi-day, flat-track roller skating races, similar to banked-track marathons reported on by The New York Times in 1885 (a six-day race) and 1914 (a 24-hour championship), among others.
Promoter Leo Seltzer and sportswriter Damon Runyon are credited with modifying the endurance competitions of the 1930s by emphasizing the physical contact -- and thus the more spectacular aspects of the sport. Seltzer trademarked the name "Roller Derby," reserving it for use by his traveling troupe of professional skaters. Roller derby took root as an icon of popular culture as matches were held in numerous cities throughout the United States and sometimes broadcast on radio and, eventually, on television.
Roller derby has since spread beyond its American roots, with leagues extant in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Nearly all contemporary roller derby leagues are all-female and self-organized and were formed in an independent, do-it-yourself spirit by relatively new enthusiasts.
There are four roller derby leagues in Utah
Salt City Derby Girls » http://www.saltcityderbygirls.com/
Junction City Roller Dolls » http://www.junctioncityrollerdolls.com/home.html
Wasatch Roller Derby » http://www.wasatchrollerderby.com/
O-Town Derby Dames » http://www.otownderbydames.com/home.html