Inaugural roller derby bout scheduled for Saturday night

Dan Falloon

The Borderland Roller Derby squad has come a long way in a few months.
The crew that started in the spring is now in line to host its first “bout” this Saturday when 15 members of the Winnipeg Roller Derby League will drop into town to take on the locals at ’52 Canadians Arena on Saturday night (Sept. 11).
“It definitely means that we’re a team now,” stressed team organizer Crystal Caul.
“We’re all really excited and super-nervous.”
Doors for “Bordertown Showdown” will open at 6:30 p.m., with the “bout” likely to start at about 7:10 p.m. after player introductions and the national anthem.
Each half will last for 30 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission in between.
Caul is keeping her fingers crossed that local sports fans will embrace the new sport—or at least give it a look—as it provides a bit of variety on the sporting landscape.
“We’re hoping that everybody’s going to come out and watch,” explained Caul.
“Even people that don’t think that they would like it, at least come out once and give it a try.
“I guarantee most people are going to love it.”
Caul noted that the event will be fan-friendly, as there will be activities for kids during the intermission, and there will be opportunities to meet the players and get autographs after the “bout.”
“During the intermission, we’re going to be having some fun with the kids,” noted Caul.
“We’ll have roller girl races where kids get to push a roller girl around the rink, and they’ll get to win some prizes.
“After the game, there’ll be autographs and a meet-and-greet with the team, both with our team and with Winnipeg’s.
“If anybody wants to come down and ask questions or get autographs, they can.
“After that’s the afterparty at the Legion!” she concluded.
In order to prepare for the event, the 11 local players have been simulating game situations as much as possible.
“We’ve been doing lots of hitting drills, some blocking, and mostly just doing a lot of ‘jams’,” pointed out Caul.
“We’ve been practicing bouting for the full two minutes, and then a 30-second break, and then two minutes again, and a 30-second break.
“We’re just trying to get up the endurance.”
Two of Winnipeg’s players will be joining the local team in order to even out the teams, and both are expected to have seen some live action before.
“They’re giving us a couple girls with a little more experience,” said Caul.
Advance tickets for the event are available for $10 at Sight & Sound, Bombshell, Northwoods Gallery and from any team member.
The ducats will cost $15 at the door.
Part of the event’s proceeds will be donated towards Fort Frances “Community Chest”.
Caul was unsure of plans for the Borderland Roller Derby to take its show on the road, but will eventually make its way to Winnipeg to showcase its skills in front of a hostile crowd.
“We’re going to go to play in Winnipeg, because we have to play within a year as part of the contract,” Caul pointed out.
“I don’t think we’re going to be in the main ‘bout’, but they’ll have a rookie ‘bout’ before.
“It’s really hard to get teams because they already have their schedules set for the next year,” she added.
“Pretty much, we’re going to be playing newer teams.
“I would imagine that Brandon {Man.}’s going to be looking to play soon and Bemidji and hopefully we’ll get to play one in Duluth,” she concluded.
Caul wrapped up by putting out a call for those who may have an area that the team can use for practice space.
With the ice going in at ’52 Canadians Arena at the end of September, the team will be without a place to train.
“As of the end of this month, we’re homeless,” stressed Caul.
“Basically, it can be a wood floor, it can be a cement floor, concrete, it can be a tile floor.
“We’ll pretty much take what we can get.”
The dimensions of a roller derby track are approximately 100 feet by 80 feet.
Those who can help out can contact Caul at 274-8483.