This weekend kicked off the 2012 season of the Houston Roller Derby at the Bayou Place Live (formerly known as Verizon Wireless Theater), or, as one could call it, real life "Whip It," just minus the adorable and lovable Ellen Page. These women are far from cute. Instead, they are driven individuals with badass derby names, complete with tattoos and a fearless attitude. This year's season opener on St. Patrick's Day had more than 2,000 people in the audience. Established in 2005, the HDR has grown into a league with more than 80 committed skaters. The derby season runs from March through September, and bouts are held on the third Saturday of each month.
Houston itself has four home teams: The Bayou City Bosses, The Brawlers, The Valkyries, and The Psych Ward Sirens. The crème de la crème, however, is the Houston All-Stars, which is Houston's dream team comprised of the league's most talented and devoted skaters. These dedicated women train three times a week and have traveled all over the United States since 2006.
Name: Bleeda Ford
Team: Bayou City Bosses How long she's been doing this: Bleeda Ford is the youngest member of the Bayou City Bosses and has only been skating for one year. This is her first season with the Houston Roller Derby. Why? Bleeda Ford first saw the sport on TV, and after more online research she decided that this would be her new passion. Any Injuries? Shin splints. Day Job? When Bleeda Ford is not practicing for the races, she is a Victoria's Secret employee working for their management department.
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Name: Dirty Diana Team: Valkyries How long she's been doing this: Dirty Diana has been practicing for the derby for the past three years. She tried out this year and was drafted only two months ago. Why? Dirty Diana skated a lot in the '80s and '90s and was predominantly a street skater in Los Angeles. Any Injuries? Unfortunately, Dirty Diana currently has a broken leg and is out for the season due to a hot rod hoedown before season started. Day Job? During the day, Dirty Diana is a promotional marketer.
Name: Syrenge Team: Psych Ward Sirens How long she's been doing this: Syrenge has been participating in the derby for one year, and this is the second season she's skated. Why? Syrenge got into skating after a friend introduced her to it. She first skated with the recreational league and loved it so much she decided to go pro. Any Injuries? Not yet. "Knock on wood." Day Job? Ren is her real name, and the derby name Syrenge is because she is an ICU nurse during the day.
Name: Rebel Anne Team: Houston Roller Derby All-Stars How long she's been doing this: Rebel Anne has been skating in the derby for six years and is in her fifth season. She recently became co-captain for the Houston All-Stars. Why? Rebel Anne saw the roller derby as a little girl, and since then she has practiced and trained and has now worked her way up to Houston's All-Star travel team. Any Injuries? Rebel Anne slipped backwards during practice, heard a pop, and initially thought her ankle was sprained since the pain wasn't too bad. She then went to the hospital and discovered that she has a broken fibula by her ankle. According to doctors, it was a "best case scenario break", and will take her six to eight weeks to recover. Day Job? She is a part-time math teacher at Brazos Port College in Jackson.
The next bout will be held on April 21, and will feature Bayou City Bosses vs. Alamo City Rollergirls from San Antonio, as well as The Brawlers vs. The Valkyries. Tickets are on sale on the Houston Roller Derby website.