When Amanda McQueen set up the first meeting six months ago, she did not think the roller derby team she was creating with a few friends would turn into a family. After months of practice, the Cornfed Derby Dames are looking to be sanctioned by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, putting their team and Muncie on the map.
With the team's new focus on meeting the WFTDA requirements and a long laundry list of the correct ways to fall, hit, skate and be a safe roller derby player, the Derby Dames are planning to hold their first fundraiser this weekend. The event will serve as a great opportunity for community members and the team to practice thei derby skills.
Derby Dames: On the right track
During practice at Gibson's Roller Skating Arena in Muncie, each member of the Derby Dames is required to practice for the WFTDA skill test, which assesses the players posture, stride, speed, stops, balance, whips, pushes and blocking.
"It's everyone's first time. Not one of us have done roller derby before, so we are all learning together," McQueen said.
McQueen said the Derby Dames are looking to become the next Naptown Roller Girls, an Indianapolis-based roller derby team.
"Naptown Roller Girls are WFTDA ranked in the top 10 nationally and they are crazy-good, fast and kind of scary, and that is our goal," she said. "But we are going at our own pace and figuring out how to do it along the way."
Founded in 2004, the WFTDA promotes and fosters the sport of women's roller derby offering opportunities to enhance athletic ability, sportsmanship and community. The organization sets rules, regulations and standards for the sport.
With three practices per week, McQueen said dedication is the biggest part of being on the Derby Dames.
Throughout October, the team completed skills tests and the majority of Dames passed. The league requires a roster of at least five members skating at least two hours a week, and every skater has to pass the skills test.
With skaters at all different levels, the Cornfed Derby Dames are still working on their skills, but they have high hopes for the future.
Other teams, such as Circle City Derby Girls and Naptown Roller Girls, serve as inspiration and competition for the new roller derby team.
Part of the community
When the team first started, it was unsure how the community would respond. After reaching out to Muncie, the Derby Dame knew the community was there to help and they were ready to return the favor.
While the women are skating, training and preparing members for sanctioning at Gibson's Arena, they are also finding ways to help the community.
The dames will be hosting a fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Gibson's Arena, 2610 S. Mock Ave., to help the team and also offer Derby 101 lessons for the community. Tickets at $5 in advance, $7 at the door and kids ages 5 and under are free. With a non-perishable food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank people can get in at the door for $5.
Returning member Angela Morrison said with all the help the Cornfed Derby Dames receive from the community, the team makes sure to get out and help Muncie and the surrounding communities.
In late October, the team volunteered at the Indianapolis Children's Museum for its haunted house.
Whether focusing on how to make their team WFTDA official or to become an integral part of the community, the Cornfed Derby Dames began with a group of women with the same interests and McQueen said, now it is something more.
Morrison said by next year the team hopes to become a part of the WFTDA league noting the community as a catalyst for getting them to that step.
McQueen said when she started the team, she just wanted something new to bring to Muncie, but now just as the team is kicking off, she realizes it's not just a team, but a family.
"There are three practices a week that you don't even have to come to, but they show up and they put in the hard work," she said. "Everyone here wants nothing more than to see this go well and get off the ground successfully."
What: "Rolling Harvest"
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Where: Gibson's Skating Arena, 2610 S. Mock Ave
Why: To support the new Muncie Roller Derby team the Cornfed Derby Dames and the Second Harvest Food Bank as well as learn some Roller Derby moves.
Pre-sale ticket locations can be purchases at:
The Artist Within
Savage's Ale House