News » Metro

Face of women's roller derby continues to evolve



Since Oklahoma City roller derby was resurrected two years ago with the creation of the Tornado Alley Rollergirls, what at first seemed like a novel, possibly temporary sports phenomenon has instead expanded into three independent leagues with three different philosophies about how to be the best derby queens in town.

The Tornado Alley Rollergirls were formed in April 2006, comprised of four teams: the Valkyrie Vixens, Cell Block 9, the Victory Dolls and the Homewrecking Harlots.

Then, in June 2007, all but two members of CB9 left with then-team captain Emily Murray after a dispute. TARG retained use of the CB9 name, while Murray and her teammates formed a new league called The Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls about two months later.

While TARG is a flat-track league, the Red Dirt league decided to differentiate itself by skating a banked track " a more "old-school" variation of roller derby requiring an oval track with the skating surface tilted in toward the middle, like a smaller version of a NASCAR track. A smooth skating surface is built over a springy steel frame, making falls easier on the skaters. However, while all a flat-track team needs is a large expanse of floor, a banked track needs to be specially built, which can be expensive. So the first order of business for the Red Dirt Rebellion was raising money to build a track. 

"It was about $30,000 to build," Murray said back in February. "We've purchased all the steel. We only need a couple thousand more to finish, to get the rest of the material like the Masonite, which is the skating surface itself."

Once complete, the banked track " located in a Midwest City warehouse " will begin to host public bouts.

"We're about halfway done," she said.

The second split from the original TARG league happened in November 2007 when the Victory Dolls left to become primarily a national travel team, amending their name to the Oklahoma Victory Dolls. Brooke Burleson, the team's public relations director and interleague liaison, said the split was the result of changing goals. "Mike Robertson


Latest in Metro

Add a comment