Three Skaters Removed During Roller Derby Fight
Three skaters were ejected from the most recent roller derby bout in Laramie after a fight broke out on the track.
The incident occurred within the first fifteen minutes of the game when Laramie’s Naughty Pines Derby Dames took on Sheridan’s Wild West Wreckers on Saturday, May 2. The Naughty Pines went on to win by a score of 414 to 147.
The bout was getting intense early on, according to referee Jamie Gooch, who goes by GI Jameson in roller derby.
Gooch said he noticed some “very heated blocking” right before the fight took place.
The incident began with an exchange of words between two skaters on opposing teams. Soon after that exchange, a penalty was issued to the Naughty Pines skater. Gooch says that matters were made even worse with continued instigation from an opponent, and it soon escalated to a one-on-one fight between the two.
“I was actually in the middle of the fight, trying to drag the Sheridan girl from out of it while trying to break a hold that someone had on her,” says Gooch.
He elaborates that the fight was very physical, and even one other skater from the Naughty Pines became involved in the fray. Coaches, referees, and skaters from both sides quickly scrambled to break the skaters apart.
“I think it just started with words, and someone just had too much emotion behind it,” says Gooch. “There were punches, and when I was pulling the person, out of the pile, I could vaguely see somebody’s hands around her throat.”
While roller derby gets a reputation as being very physical, fighting is not a common occurrence. In fact, there is no tolerance for such behavior in the sport. All three of the people involved in the fight were immediately ejected. Protocol dictates than anyone involved in a fight is removed from the bout, regardless of how it started.
The head coach for the Wild West Wreckers, Alisa Brantz, says that fighting is not accepted in the derby community.
“We have worked really hard to overcome negative connotations from earlier renditions of this sport in the seventies, when it was violent and they embraced that,” says Brantz. “Now it’s a structured and respectable competitive sport. We have absolutely zero tolerance for violence.”
Gooch says further repercussions could come for the players involved in the scuffle if complaints are filed with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, or WFTDA. Gooch says that if complaints are filed, the skaters could potentially see multi-game suspensions.
Witnesses and others involved in the fight have reported that they have filed complaints with the WFTDA, although a representative from the WFTDA was not immediately available to confirm the claims.
A representative from the Naughty Pines Derby Dames declined to comment on the incident.