By Amy C. Rea
The Twin Cities has all the major sports—pro football, basketball, hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, and lacrosse. There’s a well-regarded minor league baseball team, co-owned by comedian Bill Murray. But a newer sport is gaining traction: Roller Girls.
In fact, the metro area has two separate leagues. In St. Paul, the Minnesota RollerGirls play at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
The Minnesota RollerGirls were the Twin Cities’ first league, forming in 2004. From one team of six players, they’ve grown to four teams: the Atomic Bombshells, Dagger Dolls, Garda Belts, and Rockits. These home teams play every four weeks through March.
Three times a year, the members of the four teams have the chance to try out for the All-Star Team, a “best of” interleague traveling team that plays year-round. No matter which team they play on, the Minnesota RollerGirls are unpaid; the fees earned from the public bouts are used for the teams’ expenses and to support local charities and organizations.
Tickets start at $11 when purchased in advance. The most desirable seats (available only to those 18 and over for safety reasons) are the trackside seats, which are right on the ground. Feel free to bring a cushion with you, or you can buy one at the merchandise booth. And arrive early: trackside is very popular—how else are you going to get so close up and personal when skaters like Hannah Belle Lector or Skullateral Damage fly by?
Minneapolis has the North Star Roller Girls, who play out of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Formed in 2006, the North Stars became members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in 2008 and created travel teams to compete for national rankings.
The league now has six teams. Four are home teams: the Banger Sisters, Delta Delta Di, Violent Femmes, and the Kilmore Girls. There are two travel teams as well: the Supernovas and the Northern Lights.
The home leagues play monthly through April, in themed matches (The Big Leboutski, anyone?). And stay close by for the halftime entertainment.
In either league, you’re going to get a raucous, rowdy evening’s fun and sport. Note: while many people do bring kids to these events, you might want to consider taking in a bout on your own before bringing the young ones, and decide if the occasional profanity and trash-talk suits your family.
Amy C. Rea lives with her family in the Twin Cities. She’s the author of Backroads & Byways of Minnesota and Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide. She can also be found chatting about Minnesota travel topics here.