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San Marcos River Rollers travel team the Merciless Mermaids recently took on the Yellow Rose Derby Girl’s Gang of Thorns in Rosenberg. Merciless Mermaid StrawberrySTOMPcake leaps through the pack during the bout. Photos by Stan Martin Photography

River Rollers Host Derby 101 Clinic

Rip, ride and roll: Rollermania takes over San Marcos

When she’s not Cinderella at children’s birthday parties, Sarah “Pixie Kixx” Lindsey likes to blow off steam by playing one of the most brutal contact sports around- on skates.

The Wimberley, Texas native is a core member of the River Rollers, San Marcos’ first and only roller derby team who had their first home mash-up of the season on Saturday, July 1 at River Ridge Park. The Rollers mixed with members of other local teams to form Team Fire and Team Ice, with Team Fire taking the win 195-131. The exhibition match was a chance for the Rollers to kick off their season, learn about their teammates and opponents and mix experienced players with beginners.

“We’re really just making a lot of derby friends right now,” Sage “Cherry Poppins” Richardson said. “That’s one of the coolest parts about roller derby is that we encourage everyone’s success, so more than rivalries we just have close friends.”

The Rollers got their start in 2017, with Poppins joining soon after the program began. While she and most other players say that their interest in roller derby stems from “Whip It”, the Ellen Page movie that is a staple to derby culture, Poppins heard about the Rollers through a friend and has become a key player to the team.

BVRD’s jammer Fleetwood Smack #200 slides through the pack. Also pictured BVRD Punk in the Trunk #44, Koo-Laid #53, and SMRR Strawberry STOMP Cake #723, Pixie Kixx #88 and TriSierra Tops #65. Photos by Stan Martin Photography

River Rollers Host Fire Vs. Ice Mash-Up

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Merciless Mermaids, the travel team of San Marcos’s first and only roller derby league, the San Marcos River Rollers, took on Brazos Valley Roller Derby in Brenham on June 8 and went the distance with a final score of 191-117. Now local roller derby fans can mark their calendars for the next roller derby mash-up, Fire vs. Ice, on Saturday from 5-7 p.m at 301 River Ridge Parkway.

Doors open at 4 p.m. and attendees are encouraged to bring their own drinks and chairs as well as hats and sunscreen. Pre-sale tickets are available prior to the event for $5 and $7 day of. Children under 12 are free.

Cherry Poppins #1010 blocks the jammer for Brazos Valley Roller Derby. Also pictured SMRR blocker Mega Mad #84.

The lineup for team Ice includes Mother Mayhem, Blondie Dangerfield, Mega Mad, Seriously, Death Chimes, Kami Venom, Seaweed PsyKo, Lady Hydra, Fantastic Miss Foxy, HustlePuff, 2Spooky4U and T-wrecks. Team Fire’s lineup includes Strawberry STOMP Cake, La Chancla, Cherry Poppins, Boomer, Big Daddy Moxi, Tejas Terror, Kricky KaBoom, Spazzberry Jam, Pitbull Patty, Udder Chaos, Honey Homicide, Katapultzer and Fancy.

San Marcos River Rollers is a womxn-owned and operated flat track roller derby league and 501c3 nonprofit organization with the aim to develop and amplify the athleticism, inclusion and collaboration of womxn within the community through the sport of roller derby. SMRR aims to empower and inspire by demonstrating physical and mental strength both on and off the track, and by providing positive athletic role models. For more information go to San Marcos River Rollers’s website.

Women get rough in Roller Derby

Clad in gear from head to toe, women are proving their strength and finding empowerment through an unusual sport.

Last year, Roller Derby made its debut in San Marcos when Texas State alumna Rebecca Hudson, “Strawberry Stomp Cake,” created the nonprofit organization, San Marcos River Rollers. From the organization came its first team: the Merciless Mermaids.

Their first game was played in June against the New Braunfels Wurst Girls, where the Merciless Mermaids won.

The team gained members and developed their skills to start a successful season over the course of about a year before their first game.

Roller Derby is played with up to 14 players on each of the two teams. Five players from each team begin on an oval flat track. One player from each side serves as the jammer, and they must get through the four other players on the opposing team to gain points. The blockers can group together and use their shoulders and hips to keep the opposing jammer from proceeding while simultaneously trying to get their own jammer in the lead. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has set rules for leagues worldwide.

All participants must have complete safety gear, including a helmet and mouth guard. Roller derby can be an aggressive contact sport.

Denny Espino, “Tejas Terror,” and San Marcos resident, received MVP Blocker at the first bout. She said joining the league is a big commitment, but she enjoys playing.

“There’s this view that women are these petite little things but with roller derby, we can be strong and show we’re these awesome athletic women,” Espino said. “Roller derby gives me confidence I believe every woman should have.”

Friday, July 26, 2019

San Marcos’ first and only roller derby league, the San Marcos River Rollers, are offering a free Derby 101 Clinic on Aug. 11 from 6-8 p.m. to get new skaters rolling.

In their last away bout of the 2019 season, the Merciless Mermaids, the travel team of the San Marcos River Rollers, took on Yellow Rose Derby Girls’ Gang of Thorns in Rosenberg on Saturday, July 13. The Mermaids went the distance with a final score of 185-144. Now the San Marcos River Rollers home teams are gearing up for their next mash-up in September and several local events, including the Derby 101 Clinic.

The Merciless mermaids block the Gang of Thorns jammer.

On Sunday, Aug. 11, join San Marcos River Rollers for a clinic on roller derby, equipment, gear maintenance, and an opportunity to try on skates at their practice location, River Ridge Park, on River Ridge Parkway. Interested skaters and referees are welcome to come out and learn about roller derby.

River Rollers will also be hosting Quads on the Quad, skating on the Quad on Texas State University campus on Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 12 to 2 p.m.

San Marcos River Rollers is a womxn-owned and operated flat-track roller derby league and 501c3 nonprofit organization with the aim to develop and amplify the athleticism, inclusion and collaboration of womxn within the community through the sport of roller derby. San Marcos River Rollers aims to empower and inspire by demonstrating physical and mental strength both on and off the track, and by providing positive athletic role models. For more information, email [email protected] with questions.

Fire Melts Ice At San Marcos River Roller Mash-Up

“Pitbull” Patty Villarruel is always a little nervous when she steps on the track.

You can’t really blame her. She broke her ankle two years ago. She’s only been rolling on quad skates for a year. And now she either had to bully other skaters around or get knocked down herself.

“But when the first whistle blows it all goes out the window,” Villarruel said “And it’s nothing but fun after it.”

Villarruel was a member of Team Fire at the San Marcos River Rollers mash-up Saturday, who melted Team Ice, 195-131, at River Ridge Parkway.

The event was a little different from most roller derbies. The River Rollers invited players from other teams and leagues around the area to compete in an exhibition match and mixed their own players with the participating outsiders into two different teams, thus making it a “mash-up.” The River Rollers noted it was a good chance to learn strengths and weaknesses of both their teammates and their opponents.

“A mashup really does help because we get to play a variety of different players from different leagues that we may not have on our regular season schedule,” Sarah “Deviled Leggs” McCleskey said. “So, it’s just a really good opportunity for our skaters here in San Marcos to play against different skaters, different level skaters. Because there’s beginners, there’s advanced skaters that played today. It’s just a learning experience.”

“It’s really great to build community, too, because we just played Brazos Valley and now we’re getting to play with them,” Tucker “Pan Dulce” Cisco said. “So, you can’t just play against them, you get to kind of build up relationships with other people that are the community.”

Team Ice jumped out to an early lead at the start, but Team Fire kept it close and made a late push at the half to earn a 117-90 edge. Villarruel and Fire’s blockers smothered Ice’s jammers to start the second period and began to pull away.

“We meshed up so good on the bench,” Villarruel said. “We just had a really good flow going on where we felt each other’s strengths during the beginning … So, it just flowed really well the entire time.”

The blue team built momentum near the end, winning the final three jams, but ran out of time to make a full come back. The red team won the derby, 195-131.

The River Rollers’ travel team, the Merciless Mermaids, will head to Rosenberg on July 13 for a road game with the Yellow Rose Roller Derby. They also have two other home games scheduled — one in September and another in October. The team is confident Saturday’s mash-up will help down the road.

“It is very important. It builds team camaraderie,” Melanie “T-Wrecks” Warren said. “You learn the game from other players coming in from various leagues. So, you’re watching their skill set, you’re adapting to the way they play the game, you’re learning their offense, their defense. You’re learning a lot.”

Roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, according to Business Insider. Women across the globe are gaining confidence through an endurance-driven and dynamic sport.

Megan Lois, “Mega Mad,” San Marcos River Rollers safety officer, has been interested in roller derby her whole life. When the opportunity presented itself through Facebook, she took it without thinking twice.

“The community we have is so special to me; everyone is really respective, encouraging and supportive of one another,” Lois said. “It is a really unexpected addition to the fun.”

The initial team was recruited through Facebook. It sparked the interest of ladies of all ages. Many had no experience, and the few who did had been instructed to get the team ready for play. There are now 11 players on Merciless Mermaids.

The San Marcos River Rollers members are not required to join Merciless Mermaids. Joining the team requires regular practice attendance, payment of monthly dues and a minimum skill assessment. The minimum skill requirement sometimes trips players up because it includes skating 27 laps in five minutes.

No experience is needed if interested. Practices are open to potential players with the proper paperwork and online registration.

The San Marcos River Rollers is hosting their first ever Beginner Boot Camp July 8 at $50 for a 12-week course. Practices are Sunday’s and Tuesday’s at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., lasting two hours.

Rita Flores, “Frida Loca,” team captain, has about ten years of roller derby experience under her belt, and shares her knowledge with the young team.

“It’s a space where women can tap into their inner bada–,” Flores said. “Sometimes, because of social constructs, we don’t really get to express that. Roller derby is a chance to do that.”

Because the organization is a nonprofit, volunteers are important to the team. Community service jobs for the San Marcos River Rollers include running concessions, box offices and refereeing.

The women on the team are elbowing their way through stereotypes, only gaining speed and momentum as they roll. To keep up-to-date with the organization, check out their website.

Their next game is September 22 in Corpus Christi against Hurricane Alley Roller Derby.