New Recruits for Morgantown’s Roller Derby League Show Promise for Spring Season

As the Morgantown Roller Vixens enter their sixth season of Roller Derby competition, the league’s annual fall training camp is bringing high expectations for a strong year.

The World Flat Track Derby Association league started their “Fresh Meat” training in early September. The training is an annual event where new recruits go through safety and skills exercises before formally joining the team.


“These ‘fresh meat’ are actually looking really, really great.” said team captain Deja Boom (the Vixens proudly carry on the longstanding tradition of derby nicknames). “They’re doing things that are even hard for our regular skaters. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. This is the largest group we’ve ever had.”

Team leaders give “Fresh Meat” instructions on a break between drills. Photo: Jenna Lapointe

In a town dominated by college sports, the Roller Vixens provide a different spin on community athletics. All bouts (derby vocabulary for competitions) are family friendly and alcohol free. Established as a non-profit organization, all Vixens events incorporate community service to benefit other local charities. The Roller Vixens pride themselves on breaking derby stereotypes with diversity and academic prowess. “You’ll see, there’s tattoos and piercings, that’s still pretty common in derby, but we have a number of graduate degrees and doctorates. Our skaters are prison wardens, librarians, even campus ministers. We have brains too- we keep them protected in our helmets!” said Team Captain Boom.

Even with the team’s commitment to service and family values, roller derby remains a full contact sport, and this season’s class of rookies have gone through extensive training to make make sure they can take a hit and make their falls. Madelaine Shultz, the team’s Non Skating Official, described the process. “We teach everybody that, if you’re going to fall, go ahead and start falling… We talk about dipping your knee into paint and painting with it so you don’t slam it into the ground and slide. You want to slide because dead stops are bad.” Each new team member must pass a skills set test before being allowed to join the team. “The rest of the skills fall in place once you get the safety down.” added Team Captain Boom.

With a full Spring schedule some months away, the team is most excited for their annual Jingle Brawl event planned for December 3rd, 2016. The tournament brings derby competitors from as far away as Rhode Island, and local vendors are invited to help fans and skaters complete their Christmas shopping. The team is also looking for event volunteers to referee bouts and maintain the track between jams. For more information on the Jingle Brawl or to find out more information about volunteering, visit the Roller Vixen’s website  or become fans on Facebook.


The 2016 class of “fresh meat” practicing assists with each other at the Hazel and J.W. Ruby Community Center at Mylan Park. Photo Jenna Lapointe.

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