bruised bodies clear hearts

Hell on wheels: The athletes behind the Texas Roller Girls


Austin Photo Set: Ashley_roller girls_june 2012_2
Photo by Ashley Bradley
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Photo by Ashley Bradley
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The Austin Convention Center was filled with aggressive derby girls and fans for the fourth night of the season.

The Honky Tonk Heartbreakers beat the Hustlers 146 to 108 in the first match, and the Hell Mary's held on to their winning title in the second match. They now own a four match winning streak.

The next derby event is July 21 and 22; the Star of Texas Bowl matches teams from Texas, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Tickets can be purchased on the Texas Roller Girls website.

As the Hustlers were introduced to screaming fans, they circled the track doing a choreographed dance. The crowd loved it!

Honky Tonk Heartbreakers watch intently when one of their teammates appeared injured. After a quick sit out, the derby girl was back out on the rink. 

Five roller girls on each side enter the rink. To get points the "jammers" must pass the opponent's "blockers" and "pivots." Defensive players help their own jammers by hitting opposing blockers and pivots out of the way so they can pass them.

Before each round, or jam, starts, the teams gather at the jam line until the whistle blows. Once the whistle blows, watch out!

After each bout, fans gather around the rink to slap the derby girl's hands and congratulate them. Though the Hustlers lost, they were still in good spirits after the game.

The Hell Marys had the most outrageous fans. They brought signs, noise makers, and painted their faces and bodies to look like skeletons. Oh yeah, and mustaches. They wore red and yellow mustaches. 

 When the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers warmed up, they weren't taking it easy on their teammates, but preparing for the worst by hitting each other and playing hard. All derby girls wear knee pads, which aren't only good for falling, but also for stopping. Some girls just slide across the floor on their knees to stop. 

Hauss the Boss of The Hot Rod Honeys and Hell Marys' Sinnerfold line up at the jam line, ready to jam through the opposing blockers and pivots. The players on the rink with stars on their helmets are the jammers. 

The Hustlers stretch before their bout. For such an intense sport, stretching is a must.

The Hot Rod Honeys hold on to each other to form a barrier in order to block Hell Marys' jammer. It worked for a little while, but she eventually pushed through

Hauss the Boss said being a derby girl requires a can-do spirit. She said quitting is easy, but to play derby, quitting is not an option. "If you fall down," she said, "just keep getting back up." The Boss plays all positions for The Hot Rod Honeys. 

Dodge, who plays jammer and blocker for The Hell Marys, said roller derby takes dedication, time, heart and athleticism. She said a derby girl has to have firey energy, and can't be passive. "It's an aggressive sport, so passivity won't fly," she said.  

Yellow Die has been playing derby since 2007 and said the number one thing it takes is commitment. She said a derby girl has to be willing to throw themselves completely into the game, and at the opponents.

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