The Badlands Hellraisers Roller Derby team hosted an open house to recruit more members from the area.
The event was held at the Drumheller Ag Society Stampede Barn on Thursday, February 15, where three potential members checked out the unique sport.
“It turned out pretty good,” said captain Joanne Manning. “We had a few potential Hellraisers that showed up, they all did pretty good for their first night.”
The team is open to women of ‘any shape or size’ and allows each individual to challenge themselves as well as others in a constructive manner.
“I would recommend it because it’s a very positive sport like we challenge each other to be the best that we can be kind of thing and it’s turned right into lifestyle as to how healthy a person wants to be or how strong,” said Manning. “It takes a lot of physical strength to play Derby too and it’s a nice little community in and of itself.”
A second round of open houses will happen on this upcoming Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for anyone who is interested.
“If people do choose to come, all they have to make sure to bring is a mouth guard,” said Manning. “Everything else for that night we will supply, we’ve got lots of girls with lots of different sizes and everybody that showed up before managed to put them in to skates and gear and helmets.”
In the beginning, at least 20 people would show up to see what roller derby was all about but with their last meeting that number has dwindled to three.
“I mean we also do the fresh meat event every six months or so, so we don’t expect 20 people to show up every time and out of those 20 that showed up last year, there was only five of us that stayed with it. The ladies who showed up last night sound like they’re all really interested so we could come up with having three new players on our team,” said Manning.
Basics like blocking, breaking through that blocking, and skating and footwork drills are what is taught throughout the open house.
The team does not have a permanent location to host games and practices at the moment so travelling is a necessity.
“We travel right to Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Swift Current, up to Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan and we’ve even gone into Kindersley,” said Manning. “We kind of go all over and then we get invited for tournaments and so on.”
The team currently consists of 15 rostered players but can reach up to 25 as those extra women are working towards benchmark goals before participating in team practices and games. Manning said people who have experience in hockey or rollerblading itself tend to pick up the sport quicker.
“There is a couple different stages and everybody goes through their stages at different levels,” Manning explained. “We’ve had it where some people come into the group and they don’t know how to roller skate at all so then we go right through teaching them how to start and stop and how to fall and how to not break any bones.”
A new space would potentially increase revenue for the valley’s economy according to Manning.
“It would be nice if we had a rink all to ourselves so we could host more home games and bring people into the community because with Derby being such a little community in and of itself it would be awesome for our businesses here in town by bringing people in,” said Manning. “Future goals with fingers crossed.”