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Sherri Richards, Published February 07 2010

Rock ’n’ roller derby

Any given Saturday, Fargo has its fair share of sporting events and rock concerts. But this Saturday night at the Fargo Civic Center was a bit of both – on roller skates.

The FM Derby Girls drew another sold-out crowd for its victorious bout against the more seasoned Duluth’s Harbor City Roller Dames. Or, as scored by their jersey colors, black vs. blue.

“It’s highly energetic with lots of tripping, pushing and falling, just like you’d expect,” fan Mason Knoll of Moorhead said of roller derby.

Erin Reiner of Fargo was involved with the league, but changes in her schedule didn’t leave her the time. She said the local league’s participants are dedicated and determined.

“It’s fun to watch, and it’s even more fun to take part in,” Reiner said. “I think this area needed something new,” she said, adding that it’s fun for all ages.

Michael Chambers of Fargo brought his two daughters,

7-year-old Isabelle and 5-year-old Reagan, to the bout. He wasn’t sure what to expect.

After the pre-show bout between the Bitters and the Sweets, two teams from Fargo’s expanded roster, Isabelle was ready to suit up. Reagan thought the music was too loud. And Chambers said it was interesting.

“We’re still learning the rules,” he said.

Basically, the point of the contact sport is for one player– the jammer – to pass the other players on the rink. Each team fields five players at once, including one jammer, three defensive blockers and a pivot, who sets the pace. Each “jam” lasts two minutes.

The players wear team jerseys, but customize the rest of their outfits, with fishnet stockings, hot pants or cargos. Many wore body paint and elaborate makeup. They each use a stage name.

Kailynstigator, who wears No. 32 for the FM Derby Girls, said she got involved in the league because it was an uncommon hobby. “It’s just so fun, it’s addictive,” she says.

She said it’s been fun to be part of a group that pulls the community together.

“I feel proud of Fargo. It’s awesome people are interested and support our local teams.”

Teammate Haka, No. 9, said the large attendance provides the players with adrenaline. A sold-out crowd is about 1,670 people.

“It just gets you so pumped up, it’s indescribable,” Haka said. “When you get pushed down, when that crowd cheers, that’s what gets you up.”

Before the bout, she hoped the newly minted Fargo team could keep up – and learn a lot – from Duluth. But the final score was 176-75 Fargo.

Spectator Nora Hyde missed out on tickets for the derby because it sold out, but her friend bought her a ticket for Saturday’s bout. She had seen the 2009 movie “Whip It,” a roller derby tale starring Ellen Page and directed by Drew Barrymore.

She said roller derby is all about “women power.”

“I think it’s cool when women can show their powerful side without anyone harassing them about it,” Hyde said.

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556