Cherry City Derby Girls get rolling


As the sun set on the Oregon State Fairgrounds tonight, four girls — tough girls, packed into a  car  — rushed across the parking lot to the fairground’s indoor pavilion.

There, they took seats in the bleachers along with about 100 others who had come for the launch of the Cherry City Derby Girls, Salem’s new roller derby team.

Up in the front row, a group of veteran derby girls from Portland’s Rose City Rollers talked about how they came up with their nicknames as the crowd filled the stands.

The group’s organizers — including Salem’s Ryan Rogers, director of Culture Shock Salem — took names for the timid and handed out flyers for the girls who knew, right away, that they were ready to ’bout.

So far, Rogers has fielded interest from about 200 women, some of whom have bouted before, some of whom haven’t touched a pair of skates for upwards of 15 years.

“Is Salem ready for roller derby?!” Rogers shouted into the crowd.

“YEAAAAHHH!” they all shouted.

Granted, the roar was loud. But it did only last a polite 2.5 seconds. They may look kind of tough and rough around the edges, but these girls are ladies after all.

Rogers lays out the dirty bits early, wasting no one’s time. For a chance to roll around the rink and push other girls out of the way, members of the group will have to pay about $165 to be outfitted for gear.

“And these aren’t Hello Kitty skates,” Rogers says. “We won’t let anyone skate who isn’t safe.”

With that, plus $25/month dues and $55 in insurance per year, the Cherry City Derby Girls doesn’t really represent a cheap hobby you can just pick up. Members who compete in ’bouts are expected to attend two-hour practices twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, from 7-9 p.m.

Rose City roller Licker  ‘n’  Split says what everyone wants to hear.

“If something you’re really interested in, come and see a ’bout. You’ll know right away if this is really for you.” Then she gives some ladies in the back the finger.

Salem’s group will have no tryouts — anyone who wants to join, can. But since there’s something about Salem, there will be some differences from your average derby team. Salem’s team, for example, won’t feature the kind of sexy, and often raunchy handles that  some well-known skaters sport.

Time will tell whether Salem is really ready for the grrls — I hope it is — but with most individuals having little control over their worlds as the economy sinks even deeper into recession, you have to love the image of a bunch of angry girls ready to rumble. And if you’re not into it, may I suggest you just  get out of their way.


2 Responses to “Cherry City Derby Girls get rolling”

  1. CultureSHock Says:

    Thanks for the post. We were glad to have you join us.

    One of the things that was great about the night is that people were respectful and not overly rowdy. There was a lot to cover, I was yelling to get to the back of the room, and the questions were quiet. Most people tended to focus their energies and be really awesome.

    But they are crazily excited. I mean, incredibly so. I get e-mails, comments, messages over and over again about how insanely excited they are. Sure, there are some who are wary but most are really rarin to go.

    We had 109 people sign up with interest for skating tonight. We have probably 100 more who WANT to skate. So, truth be told, we are very excited to see what happens, and people seem equally excited.

    It’s true that it’s not the cheapest hobby known to man, but it’s not crazily expensive either. And we’ll help when we can.

    If anyone who reads this is interested, check out for more info.

  2. Emily Grosvenor Says:

    Just found this comment embedded, sorry it took so late to get out…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: