The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 20, 2013

Derby Dames skating through foes

BECKLEY — Something magical happens when five women step on the floor of the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center: They’re transformed.

Lawyers, nurses, business women — and even a journalist — trade in their everyday attire for fishnets, knee pads, helmets and skates. They become the Beckley Area Derby Dames.

“We’re the girls of the community,” Kelly Elkins said. “We’re not your big, bruising, wild and crazy women. We’re all professional women, but when we get out on the floor, it’s a whole ’nother story.”

Elkins is the events director for Tamarack, but once she straps on the skates, she becomes a fearsome blocker known as Burn N Kell.

“We get to choose our own names. Some of the selection of names are just unreal,” Elkins added. “Our names are just as much of an intimidation factor as anything else.”

With names like Cupcake Cadaver, Yula B. Hurtin,’ Shank N. Stein and Bodacious Baxter — named after the famous Charbray rodeo bull — it’s no wonder the Derby Dames have disposed of their first four opponents of the season and currently sit undefeated.

“Last Sunday we went against the Chemical Valley Roller Girls and beat them,” said Elkins. “We don’t have a state ranking at this time, but the Chemical Valley Roller Girls are the best team in the state.”

The Dames aren’t just restricted to competing in the Mountain State either. They’ve previously competed in Ohio, and have recently defeated Star City out of Roanoke and NRV Brusin' Burgs of Christiansburg.

And while the women are pouring their blood, sweat and tears into defeating their opponents, they’re also doing it for a good cause. A portion of the money raised from each bout is donated to local charities. The Dames have previously raised $500 for the Women’s Resource Center and another $500 for Foster’s Main Street Tavern’s Toys for Tots event.

“We’re not just skating, but we’re also donating to charity,” Elkins explained. “At every one of our bouts, the skaters usually choose a local charity to donate a portion of our proceeds to. We feel like we’re helping our community. We’re roller derby. We’re doing what we love and people are buying the tickets. So we’re able to give some of that money to local charities.

“We love our fans,” Elkins added.

Fans will have their chance to catch the state’s hottest team tearing up their opponent when they welcome Jewel City to the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on June 29.

Advanced tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 through 12 and can be purchased at www.beckleyareaderbydames.com or directly from your favorite derby girl.

— E-mail: jrollins@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

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