The skates are laced and helmets strapped. War is coming to Salem. The icing on the cake? These soldiers come wrapped in fishnets. If there’s such a thing as a celebratory war, this is one. The Cherry City Derby Girls will be rolling their way through their second anniversary with a birthday bout.
Those lucky enough to score tickets to the bout (which have the track record of being sold out), are sure to be on the edge of their seats as the Thrill Kill Kittens face off against the Rydell Belles, and the Panty Raiders battle it out against the Dolls of Anarchy.
“It’s a chance for us to celebrate what Salem has done for us,” says Nicole Palmateer Armstrong, who by day is a lobbyist, but by night is Majority Whip, spokesperson for the Cherry City Derby Girls.
After two years, the organization has 100 skaters, four developed teams and a regular bout season. They’re a Woman’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) apprentice and are in the process of being fully certified in the association, which will allow the league to be ranked nationally.
“I didn’t know how to skate and I wanted to learn. My parents were very conservative and thought it was too much like dancing,” says Majority Whip, adding that friends had invited her to bouts which brought her to wanting to join the league.
Favorite memories are hard to pick, because there’s too many, says Six Foot Fetish a.k.a Stephanie Bryant. “One of my favorites though would have to be the day that I passed the last of my advanced skills tests and became draft able. Toxic Assets (the captain of the Rydell Belles) walked up to me and said that they had chosen me to be a Belle. Then the whole team surrounded me and in that moment I really felt like I had found a new family and was home,” she says. Six Foot Fetish is also the league’s vice president.
For Skate Oddity a.k.a Leslie Venti, co-captain of Thrill Kill Kittens, her favorite memory comes from an inspirational moment as well, focused on not being afraid. “It was June of 2009 and I was sitting with our coach watching a Rose City Rollers bout. He turned to me and said ‘Venti, you need to get over being fearful. It’ll hold you back and really it’s just in your head.’ I experienced a shift in perspective at that moment and try to share that with new skaters whenever I can. I grew ten feet that day.”
Skate Oddity and Six Foot Fetish will be facing off, but despite goading neither would trash talk. That doesn’t mean they won’t bring some to the track.
Skate Oddity does confess, however, that there will be skaters she’ll be looking out for. “Hell yes, there are players I’ll be looking out for, especially being a jammer. Those are some hard-hitting chicks with a ton of talent and knowledge of the game, and knowledge of my abilities and how to play me. They know who they are. This will be a fun match-up.”
The birthday mayhem is scheduled for April 30. Doors open at 5 p.m. with live music, roller derby starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Don’t risk not getting in though, pick up tickets in advance.