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Eric Peterson, Published April 21 2011

Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls working to gain membership in association

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls are closer to becoming part of an international governing body for flat track roller derby.

The local roller derby league was recently accepted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association apprentice program, the first step to becoming a full WFTDA member.

“It just legitimizes us more as a sport rather than just an event,” said Tyia Patnaude, the marketing/PR manager for the FMDG. “So we are very excited about that. It means a lot to us.”

The FM Derby Girls were one of the 12 leagues accepted into the WFTDA apprentice program in April.

The WFTDA currently has nearly 80 member leagues and more than 35 apprentice affiliates in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The Tri-City Roller Girls from Kitchener, Ont., a current WFTDA member, will serve as a mentor league for the FM Derby Girls, Patnaude said.

Patnaude said the FMDG is hoping to submit a full membership application to the WFTDA by December.

“This was our goal, to get this far and now our goal is from here to not just get accepted, but get to a national tournament and get to a national championship,” Patnaude said.

The FM Derby Girls have more than 60 members and field four home teams. Select players off those four teams are picked to play on two travel teams.

Patnaude said league members each pay $40 per month in dues. The FM Derby Girls have two more bouts scheduled this spring to close out this season. The league’s third season is set to start in October.

The FMDG was formed in 2008 and held a first official bout in October 2009. Gaining membership into the WFTDA would give the FM Derby Girls the chance to qualify for national rankings and also compete in regional and national tournaments.

“This whole time we have been operating as close to WFTDA standards as possible so that when this day arrived, we would be ready,” Patnaude said. “We have wanted to run it as if we were going WFTDA this entire time.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com