You won't likely won't find any derby bratsnamed Risky Bitchness
, and their on-track uniforms include tights that cover up their bruised knees. But judging from the photos on theSeattle Derby Brats website
, junior roller derby girls are nothing to mess with.
And now Denver is getting a junior roller derby league of its own. The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, one of the city's two adult derby leagues, is helping launch the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks, a league for girls and boys under eighteen.
Rollergirls spokeswoman PJ "Dangerous Leigh A'Zon" Shields says they've long debated whether to sponsor a junior league but weren't sure if there was enough interest. "This year, we've seen a fairly steady increase in inquiries about, 'How old do you have to be to try out to be a Rocky Mountain Rollergirl?'" she says. "It became kind of sad to tell these girls, 'You're fans of roller derby, but we can't teach you until you're eighteen.'
"So we thought, let's mentor a [junior] league," Shields says. "What that means is, we'll provide volunteer coaches and officials, and parents can run the business end of things."
The first step in shaping the Rollerpunks is gauging interest. This Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Rollergirls' warehouse practice space, 4600 Wynkoop Street, the Rollerpunks will hold their first gathering. "We'll gather up all the parents and kids, see what we've got and get it founded and going," Shields says. Any kid over five years old is welcome to attend.
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While there are a few hundred adult derby leagues throughout the country, junior leagues are fairly rare. In addition to the Seattle Derby Brats, there are the Kitsap Derby Brats of Port Orchard, Washington and the Tucson Derby Brats. Like adult derby, the two leagues appear to be all-girl. Boys, like Tucson's Marco Diablo, train as referees.
But the brats are quickly becoming media darlings, just like their big sisters. Seattle's Child magazine recently did a feature about the Seattle Derby Brats, in which fourteen-year-old skater Grianne "Hunt Her Down" Hunter sums up derby's appeal.
Says Grianne, "I like when I knock people down, because I feel like I'm in power. I think it's the best part. I get to get everything out. Like something at your house, or school, or maybe you are just mad about something."
Hey parents, know any girls like that?