Colorado's fledgling rollerboys, Colorado Roller Derby's Rollin' Bones, will play the big girls in a bout Saturday against the Denver Roller Dolls' Green Barrettes at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield.
It will be the first full roller derby bout for Colorado's only men's team -- and it's sure to be tough. "Their skill level blows us out of the water," Lance "AmbuLance" Emerson says of the women.
Colorado Roller Derby was founded last year by three guys who wanted in on the derby action -- and not as referees for Colorado's much more established women's leagues. Since then, the men's league has expanded to thirteen players who have christened themselves with campy derby names like Drew Blood and General Lee Speaking.
The league started learning the game at the Denver Roller Dolls' Sunday-night Pick Up Derby sessions and has since started hosting once-weekly practices of its own.
But bouts have been harder to come by. Emerson says the Rollin' Bones are one of only thirty or so men's derby teams in the entire country. (By comparison, there are hundreds of women's derby teams -- and at least a dozen in Colorado.) So far, the Bones' bouts have been limited to co-ed scrimmages played at halftime during women's boutss and one bout against the all-male Dry Heat Militia of Tucson.
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"This opportunity we have on Saturday is so far above and beyond what I would have thought was possible," Emerson says. He hopes it will help recruit more skaters.
It will also showcase the difference between men's and women's derby. Men's derby tends to be faster, Emerson says, and more hard-hitting. But it also lacks some of the charm that has helped make derby so popular. For example, Emerson says, "We don't have booty-blocking because we don't have big, flexible butts."
Will the Bones get booty-blocked into oblivion on Saturday? Or will their fast feet and sharp shoulders give the Green Barrettes a run for their money? Stay tuned!
For more on the ultra-competitive world of Denver women's derby, check out our feature story, "Denver's Roller Derby Rivalry Could Start the Sport Rolling Across the Country."