March 5, 2013
On the track, the Omaha Rollergirls are tough, smart competitors – a reputation that has helped their All Stars steadily improve their WFTDA rankings each year. By taking on challenging opponents and multi-bout weekends, the league has prepared for the highest levels of roller derby competition. Off the track, the Omaha Rollergirls show their dedication to giving back in a variety of ways, including their annual Poker Run, and affiliation with local junior and rec leagues. In six seasons, the Omaha Rollergirls have consistently shown their dedication to strategy, teamwork, and winning. Read on to learn more about how they train and the Omaha Rollergirls’ plans for 2013.
What city are you based in?
How many skaters/teams do you have?
We currently have around 40 active skaters. Our skaters are split into two teams: AAA Team and All Stars.
Please tell us about the decision to name the Omaha Rollergirls' second team, "AAA." Is this an acronym?
AAA is an acronym that stands for: Attendance, Attitude, and Ability.
How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
Our league is split into two teams. The All Stars are our travel team, and compete in WFTDA sanctioned bouts. The AAA team is where less experienced skaters can play derby competitively with leagues of similar skill sets. We also have a board of eight directors that handle the business side of our league.
How did your league decide to form a junior league in early 2012? What role do the Omaha Rollergirls play in the coaching, management, and organization of the Omaha Junior Rollergirls?
Omaha Rollergirls began leasing their own dedicated practice space in 2011 and realized we had time that the facility was not used, and that it would be perfect to start a junior league. The main motivation was knowing that these skaters will be the future of roller derby and we wanted to get ahead of the game. The Omaha Rollergirls coach and run the management activities to help the Junior Rollergirls’ league run, and it has been growing at an unbelievable rate. We are currently at 31 junior skaters (both boys and girls) ages 8 to 18 years old.
How has the fan base of your league changed since the introduction of the Omaha Junior Rollergirls? What other changes have you noticed since you debuted your junior league?
Our league has always promoted a family friendly atmosphere at our games, so there hasn’t been a dramatic change in our fan base.
How does your season run?
Our home season runs from late January or early February through June – in order to avoid football season.
Who are the Omaha Rollergirls' biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
We’ve always had a pretty fierce rivalry with No Coast Derby Girls. They’re the closest team to Omaha, and our leagues tend to be fairly competitive with one another. Last season we were tied at one win each, with No Coast winning at Omaha, and Omaha winning at No Coast. Games against No Coast are always challenging for our team, but we embrace the friendly competition.
Do you have any sister leagues you'd like to give a shout out?
A couple of the leagues we have the most fun playing and partying with are Brewcity Bruisers and Jacksonville Rollergirls. This season we are fortunate enough to get both teams to come to Omaha on the same weekend in May. Jacksonville is calling this weekend “NJCR Triangle of Death”. It’s going to be an extremely challenging weekend of play, but so much fun as well.
What is the relationship between the Omaha Rollergirls and “Sparks and Wreckreation”, the Omaha recreational roller derby league?
Sparks and Wreckreation was recently created by our recruitment director, Pinky The Insane. In years past, we would only have tryouts once a year. If someone expressed interest in joining mid-season, we would direct them to wait until our “bootcamp” in October. Now that we have the rec league, new skaters can begin working on their minimum skills right away. Our rec league is also for skaters who have an interest in playing roller derby, but can’t make the time commitment that is required by the league.
What are the individual challenges of your city?
We are a big football town but the city has really warmed up to us as long as we avoid scheduling games during football season.
What are your biggest training challenges?
We strongly believe in skating smarter not harder. This season we’ve been focusing on knowing the new rule set and the strategies that go along with those rules.
What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
Two years ago we began leasing our own dedicated practice facility, which we lovingly call “the Bunker” because it is an old basement skate rink. This has allowed us the freedom to expand our practice schedule and opened the door to create a junior league in 2012, and a recreational league this year. We also have meeting space and 24-hour access to help us manage the business even better.
We understand that you recently found a new venue, the Ralston Arena, to host your home bouts. What prompted this move? What benefits will your new venue provide to your league and fans?
The new venue just opened its doors in October 2012 and is centrally located, putting us right back in the heart of the city. We held our first bout at the new arena on February 9th with an attendance of 3,050. Since everything in the facility is state of the art, we are able to give our fans some great upgrades to our production like huge HD video boards, which display the action with instant replay and an amazing sound and light system.
How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among the league teams?
We typically practice three nights a week, with one night being a dedicated scrimmage night. On non-scrimmage nights we start with an off skates workout, followed by a league on skates practice. On Mondays, our AAA team has an extra hour of private practice time, and on Wednesdays the All Stars have an extra hour.
Who are the "behind the scenes" skaters who make your league run?
The league’s Board of Directors are a very awesome group that works solidly together to help manage the league – Daisy Mayhem, Sharon Misery, D’Naille Inya Coffin, Pinky the Insane, Auntie Embolism, Mae Kit Rain, Death Perception, and Lil Bit Nau T all deserve a huge shout out for all they do! We also have a Coaching Committee that works very hard organizing and challenging us at each and every practice.
Who are some of your star on-track skaters and why?
Ima Firestarter is the biggest fan favorite and is a lot of fun to watch because she is so quick and agile. She even has her own group of fans who have dubbed themselves the “Fire Pit”.
Congratulations on your third consecutive post season tournament performance in 2012! How did your league prepare to compete in your third trip to the WFTDA Playoffs? What did you learn from your experience at the 2012 South Central Region Playoffs?
Last season we continued to challenge ourselves and played some amazing teams that forced us to continue to work together as a team. In the regular season we pushed through and had a great showing early at Clover Cup, and continued playing difficult double weekends like Montréal Roller Derby and Kansas City Roller Warriors.
In every tournament there are things you learn from each game, win or lose. After tournament season we created and modified some drills to address our weaknesses. Playing such high caliber teams, we knew we needed to improve our speed and agility and we have been focusing on that as well as the new rule set.
What are some of the things your team is working on now to prepare for another opportunity to compete at the WFTDA Playoffs in the fall?
We’ve been really focused on working with strategy this season. Our practice format has changed dramatically. In the past we would spend most of practice working on skating/hitting drills, but now we spend a lot more time with “drimmage” and working with real game play scenarios. We also have several new skaters joining our All Star team this season, and we’ve been working hard to get them up to speed.
Since joining the WFTDA in 2008, the Omaha Rollergirls have steadily climbed the rankings. What has been your league strategy to continue on your successful track? How has the WFTDA's shift to divisions affected that strategy?
We traditionally do a lot of research about other teams and the rankings process. Before every season we set goals and take some calculated risks to achieve them. With divisions, we have adapted the same plan on a much larger scale to account for the larger pool of competitors. We have tried our best to truly understand the new divisions system in order to succeed.
What next big bout(s) are the Omaha Rollergirls looking forward to and why?
On March 9th we take on No Coast Derby Girls at their home. This will be an extremely important bout for us, and can really set the tone for the rest of the season. We also have our second home game at the Ralston Arena on March 16th. The All Stars will be taking on Old Capitol City, and the AAA team will be going up against the Dakota City Demolition Crew.
What community focused events do the Omaha Rollergirls participate in? How do you choose your community partners and/or events?
ORG participates in a wide array of community event from parades, to fundraisers, and more. When choosing partners we really like to stay local, and find charities that we can really make a difference for.
Do you have any big fundraisers coming up?
One of our biggest fundraisers is the Poker Run that we hold every year. This will be our 5th annual Poker Run, and it will be held in late spring/early summer. Last year we teamed up with Ted E. Bear Hollow, an organization that assists grieving children and teens. We were able to donate a large sum of money to their organization. We’re currently in the process of selecting a charity to assist with this year’s Poker Run.
Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
We love all of our sponsors and would give them all a shout out if we could! A new sponsor this year that we’re very excited about is Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital. NOH has teamed up with several of Omaha’s biggest sports teams to provide injury screenings and treatments, and we were thrilled when they approached us about starting a partnership. We also particularly love our sponsor, Liquid Courage. They have been one of our biggest sponsors since nearly the beginning of our league.
Please tell us about the Omaha Rollergirls' Booster Club. How long have you had a Booster Club? What do they do?
Our Sponsorship Director, Lil Bit Nau T, started the Booster Club in January. We wanted a way to get our super fans more involved and give them some special goodies that aren’t available to just anyone. This year’s Booster Club package included an exclusive shirt, a signed team poster, invites to exclusive meet and greet events, and several other little surprises. When signing up for the Booster Club, members can decide how much they want to be involved. Many of our Booster Club members are also volunteers who help out with game day duties, and other events.
Do you have a special message for your fans?
Omaha has some of the most amazing dedicated fans from young to old. We’d like to thank you so much for supporting roller derby, and the Omaha Rollergirls! Without our fans we wouldn’t be able to continue doing what we love so much. Our league continues to grow because of your support. THANK YOU FANS!
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