The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 24, 2013

B.A.D.D. and Roller Vixens sent 11 to all-star battle

BECKLEY — Move over June Cleaver, there’s a new kind of woman in town.

While many have been decking the halls, preparing for today’s Christmas holiday, several area roller derby skaters were busy decking the competition — all in the name of West Virginia — during the Battle of the All Stars Tournament in Pennsylvania, Pa. on December 13-15.

Seven skaters from the Beckley Area Derby Dames and four from the Greenbrier Roller Vixens were selected to represent West Virginia in the competition, that saw the best skaters from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina battling it out for supremacy.

It was the first time that West Virginia has been invited to such a tournament.

“It was really good to represent West Virginia,” Kelly “Burn N. Kell” Elkins of B.A.D.D. said. ‘We went up there as West Virginians to see what we want to work for. Now we know what to do in the future.

“It was an exciting opportunity for our skaters to go up there with skaters who have been doing it for around 10 years,” she continued. “It gives us a goal to work towards for our next season.”

Elkins, along with B.A.D.D. teammates Stephanie “Cupcake Cadaver” Only, Kristy “Betta WarnHer” Warner-Massie, Stephanie “Blonde Bruiser” Hambrick-Pannell, Katie “Phyllis Killer” Grimmett, Shannon “Hollywood Hiplash” Hoffman and Amy “St. Brawly Girl” Jones joined forces with Greenbrier Roller Vixens McClure, JuJu Bees, Foxy Balbusta, Ziggy and a host of skaters from Heart of Appalachia Roller Derby (Charleston) and Jewel City Rollergirls (Huntington) to show that West Virginia Roller Derby means business.

West Virginia competed in three bouts, losing to Maryland 175-50 on Friday, while defeating Carolina 136-50 on Saturday during the morning bout and losing to the New York All-Stars 218-19 in their final skate.

The New York team was comprised of many skaters from the famous Gotham Roller Derby team, considered by many to be the best derby team in the United States.

“It was exciting to go against girls who are seen in the national eye of flat track roller derby,” Elkins added.

Long gone are the “Roller Games” days of the 1970’s and 80’s, which often times was scripted and rehearsed. Roller derby today is very much real and has evolved into more of a sport than a spectacle.

“For anyone who thinks it’s staged, I invite them to put on some skates and join us,” St. Brawly Girl Jones said.

Jones, who was named captain of B.A.D.D. for the 2014 season, saw the experience as a chance to measure where she’s at as a skater and where she hopes to improve moving forward.

“It was an honor to stand on the floor as a member of the West Virginia All-Stars, with members of Team USA,” she said. “I cannot wait to grow this season and return as a much more serious contender next year.”

Trisha “Foxy Balbusta” Cooke of the Greenbrier Roller Vixens echoed those sentiments.

I’ve watched some of those girls skate at playoffs and championships,” Cooke, who has been skating since June, said. “They have been my inspiration. The opportunity to skate against them on the track was unreal.”

For Elkins, the trip gave her a chance to bond with teammates in a way she hadn’t before.

“It was a bonding experience,” she said. “You learn a lot of stuff about these other ladies off the track. A lot of them we only know from being on the track and we’ve all got lives other than roller derby. You get to see that.”

The Beckley Area Derby Dames and Greenbrier Roller Vixens are in preparations for the 2014 season. For more information on either team, visit www.beckleyareaderbydames.com and www.greenbrierrollervixens.com.

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

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