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Dave Roepke, Published November 09 2009

Big crowd means more roller derby

After a successful debut Saturday, Fargo’s first-ever roller derby team aims to host another bout early next year.

Dawn Mertz of the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls said the inaugural derby bout at the Fargo Civic Center sold out, drawing 1,679 to fill the arena’s upper-level seats.

Mertz said over 300 people were turned away at the doors.

“The lines were to the library and beyond, around the corners and everything,” she said.

The crowd, in addition to be packed, was enthusiastic. Mertz said fans painted their faces and made signs and shirts for the occasion.

To top it off, the home skaters dominated the bout by beating the Winnipeg Roller Derby League 101-55.

“We’re all physically exhausted today, but we’re on mental highs like you can’t believe,” said Mertz, who is a blocker for the squad who uses the name D’Niiied.

The response was strong enough that the team’s president, Athena Funk, plans to meet with arena officials today arrange a second event in Fargo.

“The derby is here to stay,” Mertz said.

The hope is to schedule the next home bout in January or February. The Derby Girls will go to Winnipeg for a road rematch on Jan. 30.

Saturday’s bout was the first for both teams, though Winnipeg formed about six months before Fargo-Moorhead, Mertz said.

The team is a nonprofit group, so proceeds from its first bout will be donated to Moorhead

3-year-old Logan Frank, an autistic boy with a sensory disorder who is in need of a service dog.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535