BRATTLEBORO -- Granite Stater Sarah Farnsworth was in town on Thursday to check out the 4th of July parade. And she will be returning this weekend, as Daisy Duke Nukem, knowing that all eyes will be on her and her teammates.
Nukem and the Elm City Derby Damez, a women’s roller derby team from Keene, N.H., will host the Poison Pixies of Dover, N.H., on Saturday at Memorial Park at 6:30 p.m.
"We have been working really hard this season to keep up after our stellar 2012. It has been a transition period for us since we lost a few amazing skaters and gained a few, which always takes some time for adjustment. But we have always managed to do it with a short, concise roster and I see no reason this season shouldn’t be the same," said Nukem.
The Damez enter Saturday’s bout with a 2-1 record. They also lost to a men’s team on June 22, but that was just an exhibition.
For those who have yet to witness a bout at the Nelson Withington arena, you might do a double take when you first see the competitors in their punk uniforms or when you begin reading the player names in the program.
The Damez are made up of Spark An Burn, Bitches Bruze, Demonic Delight, Killbitch Enrage, Duck Bitch, Wench Press, Sinister Sweetness, Shove E Belair and Nukem. The Pixies’ roster includes Tuff Girl, Quickie Rikki, Moxie Tomahawk, I. Nita Longhorn, Ginan Toxxic, Janis Dropkick, Pinky Not A Taco, Lil Stun’Her, Toy Named Sue, Meg-A-Twizted and Randioactive.
And the physical play may surprise you as well.
Each team puts five players on the track, with points being scored whenever a "jammer" is able to break through the pack. The three blockers and the pivot open and close holes, depending on the situation, often sending opposing jammers tumbling out of bounds.
"The game itself has undergone some rules changes which greatly impact the way we play the game. Strategies change in game so I think a lot of the leagues have been trying to adjust themselves to that as well. So if you came and saw last season’s bouts, you might find yourself feeling like you are watching a whole different style this year," noted Nukem, who is an all-star pivot that can also burn foes from the jammer position. "That is what is cool about roller derby. Things change as the game is refined and we as skaters have an opportunity to have a hand in shaping a sport we love."
The Pixies will likely have to contain Demonic Delight, a veteran jammer who has been scoring her share of points over the years at Memorial Park. And that’s easier said than done, with experienced blockers like Bitches Bruze and Spark An Burn leading the way.
But it was Killbitch Enrage who did the damage in a recent match against Pair O Dice out of Wilbraham, Mass. With her team trailing by six points, the determined KB put on the starred helmet to signify her as the jammer and racked up 13 points in the final jam to give ECDD the victory.
"We had been fighting hard with these girls for two periods and we needed her to score these last few points to win the game. She was pushing herself so hard and it was evident on her face, and the feeling of being on the track with the other girls on my team calling out encouragement to her in that last lap was a really fun moment," said Nukem.
And the Pixies know how to battle back as well. Toy Named Sue rallied late for 22 points to earn them a comeback win earlier this season.
Saturday’s showdown should be a beauty.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.