Boulder´s brand-new roller derby league is having its debut September 10 at a “Derby-tante” Ball. The Boulder County Bombers will be hosting an event that’s part meet and greet, part dance party.
The league’s founder, Courtney MacArthur, is a veteran derby girl from the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls who had to swap her skates for running shoes after the move to Boulder made attending the two or three weekly practices in Denver impractical.
“I started running, which was OK until I started having dreams about derby,” says MacArthur, who skates as “Super Cali ‘Agilistic’ Expialidocious.”
She teamed up with another group trying to launch a roller derby league in Boulder. Their first new recruit night had 35 aspiring skaters.
“People in Boulder know about derby, so that’s half the battle,” MacArthur says.
The Derby-tante ball is designed to introduce the derby to the local community and to the other neighboring derby leagues, including the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, Denver Roller Dolls and FoCo (Fort Collins) Girls Gone Derby.
“It’s so exciting. I love Colorado derby because we have some amazing teams,” MacArthur says. The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls were the 2010 Womens’ Flat Track Derby Association national champions. This years national championships will be hosted in Broomfield on Nov. 11-13.
“I think it’s a wonderful way to get or stay in shape, to be a part of a team, to have a sisterhood, and I think it’s just something wonderful for the community,” says Iman Woods, owner of Iman Woods Creative Pin-up Photography and the league’s photographic sponsor. “I’ve seen how excited people get around other derby leagues, and I’m really thrilled that Boulder’s going to have their own.”
She recently spent a Saturday with the league, taking a team photo, some small groups and individuals. She’s too busy for the league, Woods says, so this is her way of participating in the team.
“I was really excited once I heard her philosophy about derby and what she hoped to bring to Boulder County,” Woods says of her first meeting with MacArthur. “It was definitely a competitive sport but with a supportive female sisterhood, which is how I build my business, I’m a photographer and my clients and my friends and my friends are my clients and it’s definitely a sisterhood.”
In its renewed incarnation, roller derby has become more athletic, more fast-paced, and less about the brawls the 1970sera derby was known for. It draws women from age 18 to 60-something (and, yes, there is a men’s league, too) from all backgrounds, with one thing in common, MacArthur says: “They’re fierce.”
Leagues are a little bit athletic club, and a little bit social club. Part of a league’s responsibility is also to give back to its community, and the Bombers have been skating the Boulder Creek path, picking up trash as they go along, and plan to work anti-bullying recognition into every “bout,” their competitive events, which are expected to start in February.
“There’s a saying. They say, ‘Roller derby saved my soul,’” she says. “It’s so empowering. It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. It’s embracing who you are and peeking behind the mask of your fellow woman — and it keeps me in really good shape.”
The Derby-tante Ball is slated for 10 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Bácaro Venetian Taverna, and is USO-themed, including a costume contest, raffle and photo set. Drink specials are likely to feature drinks with titles including “bomb,” like Yeager-bombs.