It’s been a long climb to the top for the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls, but on Aug. 16, the 8-year-old roller derby team is set to have its first crack at becoming champions.
“We are heading to the division two play offs in Des Moines, Iowa, as the No. 1 seed,” said Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls marketing manager Andrea Ruggles, who plays under the name Lisa Carr. “That’s a big deal for us.”
The team was formed in 2005, and after some early success, faced a shakeup when a few key players moved away. It quickly began rebuilding, splitting into two home teams and a traveling team made up of the best players on both other teams.
The team was initially called The Neanderdolls, but when it reorganized, it chose a name more reflective of Las Vegas’ colorful past .
The organization has continued to expand, and there are now four home teams : The Notorious VIP, the Tommy Gun Terrors, the Flying Aces and the Hoover Damned. The traveling teams are the All-Stars and the Black Spade Betties.
“We have 15 to 20 people on a team,” Ruggles said. “We have to have extras because people have lives outside of the derby, and we do have people out for injuries sometimes.”
Although flat-track roller derby doesn’t have the speed of banked track roller derby, it can be rough . Broken bones are not unheard of, and it is not uncommon to see a player or two on the sidelines in a cast or sling.
“It’s not like a lot of sports, where the animosity for the other team never goes away,” said former league member Kelly Justice, who played under the name Roxy Contin. “If someone gets hurt, everyone is ready to help. At the end of the game, it’s all hugs and congratulations.”
Justice retired due to time constraints but remains a fan of the game. She chose her name based on her occupation as a pharmacist.
League members usually hold down day jobs, and there is a variety of occupations represented .
“We’ve got a couple of school counselors, a personal trainer, and we even had a pediatrician a few years ago,” Ruggles said. “I work at a car dealership. That’s how I chose my derby name.”
Players’ names are an important aspect of the game, and a great amount of thought goes into choosing one that sounds tough, dangerous, funny or as it goes in most cases, all of the above, league members said. An online name submission prevents roller derby players across the country from duplicating league members’ names.
The Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls have moved into their own training ground. Practice matches were formerly at a roller hockey rink in West Flamingo Park, 6255 W. Flamingo Road. Despite reserving it, they frequently had to disperse skateboarders or the odd hockey game before they could practice. The rink was outdoors, which made for hot practice sessions in the summer.
“We have a practice facility in a warehouse in the northeast part of town,” Ruggles said. “We try to keep the location private.”
Home games have been played at the rink in West Flamingo Park, the Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center and in the convention center of the Riviera , but Ruggles said the league hopes to play for a long time at its current location, the Sport Center of Las Vegas, 121 E. Sunset Road.
“It’s a great venue,” Ruggles said. “The surface is good and it has elevated stadium benches. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”
On Aug. 3, the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls played in a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association bout against the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins as part of a five-day Rollercon at the Riviera .
The Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls lost 287-143 but Tarae Reager, who plays under the name Extra Terrestrial for The Tommy Gun Terrors, wasn’t downhearted about it. She watched the game from a skybox above the action with several of her teammates.
“We’re ranked 43 and they’re ranked 28,” Reager said. “We’ve just got to keep our head in the game, stay calm and have fun.
The Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls are scheduled to play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Sports Center of Las Vegas . The Flying Aces are set to square off against The Notorious VIP, and the Tommy Gun Terrors are set to go up against the Hoover Damned.
For more information on the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls, visit sincityrollergirls.com
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4532.