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Local roller derby team wants "fresh meat"

Local roller derby team, the Strait Jackettes, are holding a "Fresh Meat" recruitment day on March 6.

Local roller derby team, the Strait Jackettes, are holding a "Fresh Meat" recruitment day on March 6.

The all-female South East Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association (SESRDA) team is looking for women aged 18-and-over of any shape, size or athletic ability to come try out a day of derby. Interested women can come down to the Weyburn Comprehensive School Cafeteria (Door A) from 1 to 4 p.m. to give the full-contact sport a try.

"The girls come from every age and walk of life," said SESRDA President Breck "Billy Rock" Harris. "Anyone can play roller derby. Many of our girls hadn't laced up skates since they were kids, and so we are all learning together."

Despite the glorified spills and thrills of the sport, all players are required to adhere to stringent safety rules. Each skater must wear a helmet, mouth guard, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards. Skates and pads are available to all new recruits, but participants must supply their own helmet.

Coach Kurt "Skate Fink" Hansen and experienced team members will be on hand to go over the basics, such as how to skate, stop, and fall without injury, and to answer any questions.

As flat-track derby rolls into arenas, gyms, and community halls all across the globe, it's growing even faster here at home, according to Harris. With the emergence of new leagues - Brandon, Minot, Swift Current, and Moose Jaw, to name a few - the Strait Jackettes and its sister team, the Hillbilly Hurt based out of Estevan, are looking to build strong teams to face their competition.

Many of the women on SESRDA's two teams have practiced together for months; however, they are still very much in training mode, and therefore need more recruits to join the roller derby revolution. Currently, the teams are focusing on learning skills, rules and strategies of the game, but hopes to hold a couple of rookie bouts (games) in the 2011 season, with the anticipation of going all-in during the 2012 season.

Before a woman can roll onto a track during a bout, she has to pass certain "benchmarks," according to Hansen.

"There are certain requirements the girls need to meet before they can play," explained Hansen. "They have to pass a written exam testing their knowledge of game rules, pass an endurance test of 25 laps in under five minutes, and pass a physical test proving they can stop, fall, and hit properly without causing undue harm to other players."

For those who are not interested in the full-contact aspect of the sport, there are many other opportunities to get involved such as refereeing, volunteering or playing on a recreation team.

For more information about the league or how to become involved, visit the S.E. Sask Roller Derby Association Facebook page, or email s.e.saskrollerderby@hotmail.com.

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