Friday, 21 September 2018

Rumble in the Alley roller derby tournament kicks off today

Rumble in the Alley roller derby tournament kicks off today
23 Jun

You’ll find these women teaching classes at the University of Oklahoma and shuttling kids around town during regular business hours. But on their nights and weekends off, they strap on helmets, knee pads and elbow braces and play the fast-paced, brutally physical sport of roller derby.

The Oklahoma Victory Dolls A and B teams, the All-Stars and Tornado Alley, will square off in the annual Rumble in the Alley tournament starting today. Eight teams from the across the country are slated to play, including two men’s teams. The Victory Dolls find themselves ranked 39 globally among 1,500 teams in the Flat Track Derby Association heading into the tournament.

Tornado Alley member Cheyenne Riggs, a.k.a. Professor Flex, said attendees should expect exciting games accompanied by raffles, halftime entertainment and audience participation opportunities.

“There will be lots of hits and constant action,” Riggs said.

“I think one of the most interesting things about roller derby is there is often offense and defense being played at both times, which is very unusual in a sport. It can be a little confusing at first, but the rules are actually fairly simple.”

Within a game of roller derby, two teams designate five players to play in a series of short matches, known as jams. Each team has an assigned player known as a jammer, identified by a marked helmet, who attempts to advance past members of the opposite team.

While teams work to advance their own jammer, they simultaneously attempt to impede the progress of the opposition’s jammer.

“It’s an empowering sport for women,” All-Star team captain Krista Young said. “You don’t see women in contact sports that often.”

Young said the Victory Dolls have ramped up practice and training time in anticipation of the tournament. All-Star team members are required to attend three two-and-a-half hour practices per week, with many also attending optional practices throughout the week.

“I like to lift weights, cycle, run, and get as much time on my skates as possible,” Young said. “Especially coming up on a tournament or round robin, we want to pay a lot attention to our hydration and what we’re putting into our body to fuel ourselves. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it.”

According to Riggs, the preparation and hard work is often noticed by spectators, attracting new skaters, coaches and volunteers.

“They came to an event and were like ‘oh my God, this sport is awesome’,” Riggs said. “They’ve stuck around and have been around for years now.”

The Cleveland County YMCA, 1350 Lexington St., will play host to Rumble in the Alley.

Games will take place from Saturday to Sunday. Admission is $20 for Saturday, $10 for Sunday and $25 for a weekend pass. Children under 12 years old accompanied by an adult receive free admission.

Those interested in attending may purchase tickets online at

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