|Sonoma County Roller Derby in national league
Sonoma County Roller Derby is now officially a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.
After a year in the apprenticeship program, SCRD is a member of WFTDA (pronounced wuft-duh), the league announced this week. This gives the team a chance to be ranked and compete for a national championship, said Monique Hernandez-Evans, AKA "Ms. Kitty MaulHer," SCRD's media spokeswoman. It also opens the door to more sponsorships and chances to play more established teams.
"Because we're WFTDA, it shows we have organization, athleticism that will continue us into the future," she said.
Of SCRD's two teams, the North Bay Bruisers and the Wine Country Homewreckers, only the Homewreckers will be certified as a WFTDA team. All sanctioned bouts will be with the Homewreckers, but that's not the only bouts that team will be a part of.
Hernandez-Evans says there will likely be 11 bouts total this year for SCRD, probably three will be WFTDA sanctioned. About half the bouts will be at home, which is Cal Skate in RP.
The addition to the association gives SCRD more stiff competition.
"I think we're going to be an awesome team," said Hernandez-Evans. But last year, playing a nationally ranked WFTDA team from Santa Cruz, "we got our tails handed to us, for sure."
One question remains for the team. With their new, matching uniforms, what names will be sewn onto the backs? Their derby names or their real last names? Trish Bender, or "U-wish Trish" when she's in a bout, likes the idea of last names for sanctioned bouts, but derby names for fun bouts. But she concedes most of the WTFDA teams do end up going with derby names.
One of the most exciting prospects for joining the league is the possibility to play in a televised bout. WFTDA has its own channel, and big bouts are televised. Last year, the team traveled to Hawaii for a bout, this year they'll be heading to New Orleans in October.
WFTDA was founded in 2004 as a governing body to the growing sport. There are now 105 teams and 46 leagues, according to WFTDA's Web site. Sonoma County was announced as a new member with six other teams around the country, the closest being from Bakersfield, on Dec. 1, 2010.
SCRD was founded in 2007 and was accepted into the WFTDA apprenticeship program just two years later.
Roller derby isn't exactly a new idea. It was popular in the 70s, and saw a resurgence starting in the last decade. Now there's a movie directed by and starring Drew Barrymore about the sport, "Whip it," and a video game for the Nintendo Wii called "Jam City Rollergirls," coming out next month.
SCRD is riding the wave in popularity, starting up a junior derby program for girls age 10-17. It's starting this season and will play other teams in the area.
Adult tryouts for SCRD are Jan. 31 at Cal Skate, cost is $5, and skate and equipment rental is another $5. For more information, visit www.sonomacountyrollerderby.com.