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Rolling into the new derby season

The sound of clashing skates and women yelling over each other filled Redwood Acres this past Saturday as the 12th season of Humboldt Roller Derby began. Women rolled past community members with sweat already pooling on their bodies as each team did multiple practice runs before their respective game. As the opening game came close to starting the crowd grew in size filling up every crevice of Franceschi Hall settling in their seats bubbling with excitement.

The first game of the double header night was the Widow Makers versus the North Jetty Betty’s. The Widow Makers had dominated the season before, crushing every game they played and now the time had come to see if they still had it. In the first half of the game both teams were neck and neck with every other jam switching up who was in the lead. By the second half the North Jetty Betty’s were solidifying their lead and eventually took the win for the night. The final score was 112 – 162.

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Widow Makers offense and defense form a pack as they try and keep the jammer from going through them. The jammer from the North Jetty Betty’s had just been knocked down by them. Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Member of the Betty’s, Bianca Swagger, has been a long-time part of the roller derby since 2012. For the last five years she has been a team player as well as the president. After taking a few good hits and tosses to the floor, she had this to say about the game once it was done.

“It was really well matched and we got to try out new strategies on each other which was super fun,”Swagger said. “I’m really excited for the season, we have a couple of really big tournaments for our A team that are going to help us in rankings and we want to move up as far up as we can this year.”

The second game of the night had local team Root Force playing against out of state team, the Sis-Q Rollerz from Medford, Oregon. This was the main event of the night and Root Force is Humboldt Roller Derby’s B team with a few players from the other two teams in this one as well. Right from the start Sis-Q Rollerz dominated the ring with nearly a 2:1 ratio all throughout the game of scoring points. In particular, their jammer was whizzing past the offense and defense of Root Force.

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Root Force and Sis-Q Rollerz got up close and personal as Root Force tried their hardest to prevent the Rollerz jammer from coming through their pack to become lead jammer. Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

By the end of the night they had definitely made their hours long drive worth it, having won the game with a final score of 90 – 135. Member of the Sis-Q Rollerz, West Coast Choppins was one of the key jammers of the night and has been skating with the team for going on 11 years now. She said that aside from practicing with the team three times a week, she skates to and from work and anywhere else she can think of with her son by her side. She has the same hopes as every other skater on the floor, wanting to jump through the ranks this season crushing every tournament.

“This was our first great of the season and it was a great start,” Choppins said.

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By the end of the night the Sis-Q Rollerz and Root Force came together to take a group photo to commemorate the end of the first game of the season. Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

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