A humble skater who attributes so much of her success to her teammates, veteran skater for the Kansas City Roller Warriors, Bruz-Her has shown that the combination of experience and patience can make for a lethal combination on the track. Snagging MVP at the 2015 D2 Playoffs in Cleveland, Bruz-Her has been turning heads and knocking down jammers throughout her 10-year career. Learn more about what keeps her in the game and what to look forward to in 2016.
League: Kansas City Roller Warriors
Team(s): My current home team is the Victory Vixens, however I have skated for two other home teams, the Dreadnought Dorothy’s and the Knockouts. I also skate for the Kansas City Roller Warrior All-Stars.
Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.
The first coach for the Kansas City Roller Warriors, Coach Death, said he thought I was going to be a “bruiser” and the name stuck.
What is your skate gear of choice?
I skate on Antik AR1 boots (like skating on fluffy clouds), Arius plates, and I love the Reckless morph wheels. The Superball toe stops are my new favorite!
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
I have to have a nap before a game, this combined with my early bedtime has earned me the name Grandma Bruz among my teammates! I also make sure to allow myself to have plenty of time for getting ready to skate–I hate feeling rushed. I always take time to get the feel of the floor during open track warm up.
What do you think about when you’re lacing up your skates?
I focus on and visualize what I need to do during the game. I think about my team and what we will do together to be successful.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
My favorite quote focuses on the importance of the team. “When you pull on that jersey, you represent yourself and your teammates. And the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.” – Herb Brooks (Miracle)
Do you have a theme song?
My pump up song is “Move, Bitch” by Ludacris. It’s an oldie but a goodie!
How did you get involved with roller derby?
A friend convinced to go to a practice with her after several months of pressure. When we finally went, I was hooked immediately. My friend ended up playing for a month or so, but I loved it so much I am now entering my 11th season.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
I played all the traditional team sports growing up–soccer, softball, basketball, etc. As far as skating, I was definitely a rink rat, spending weekends at the local rink skating with my best friend Matt.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
That was 10 years and several concussions ago!! Just kidding, I’ve never had a concussion. My best memory of my rookie year is being on what I would call the “prep team” for our first ever All-Star team, put together to compete in the 2006 Dust Devil Tournament. I learned so much in my rookie season having the opportunity to skate against some of roller derby’s OG’s (Dirty Britches, Snot Rocket/Kelly Young, Princess AnnaConda, Patti Wackin’, etc.)
What is your position of choice?
Blocker, although I sometimes like to pretend I know how to jam!
What is your signature move?
I wouldn’t say that I have a “signature move,” but my most favorite thing to do is soul crush a jammer…. over, and over, and over again.
How would you describe your derby playing style?
I feel like my playing style is calm and controlled. I don’t have a lot of flashy moves or lay super huge hits—I prefer to set my teammates up to take those! I also pride myself on playing relatively clean–I have only fouled out of one WFTDA-sanctioned game in my ten year career.
Please share your best derby moment(s).
Number one on my list would be when KCRW won the WFTDA 2007 National Championship Tournament. In 2011, KCRW took 4th place at Championships–that was a great moment. Another would be winning the D2 Playoff Tournament MVP in Cleveland this past season.
Congrats on earning MVP in Cleveland! Can you share some of the highlights from that weekend for us?
The biggest highlight of that weekend was how well our team worked together. Seeing all the hard work we had put in all season long come to fruition in the win was amazing.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
My greatest accomplishments on the track are anytime I am out there with my teammates, working hard–whether successful or not—and having fun.
Off the track?
I love working with new skaters–I enjoy seeing them reach an “a-ha” moment and being there to help them build on it. As a veteran skater, I do my best to share any derby knowledge I have stored in this old noggin’!
Who are your derby heroes?
My ultimate derby heroes are Dirty Britches and Princess AnnaConda, the co-founders of KCRW. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play this crazy, amazing sport.
What is your day job? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I groom dogs at a locally owned pet boutique here in Kansas City. If anything, it has helped with my patience— barking dogs that don’t want to be there will empty a patience pot very quickly if you let them!
How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
I would say derby has helped me develop my focus, discipline and drive in my personal life.
How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
To be honest, a lot of my real life is my derby life! Most of my friends currently play or played derby in the past, my wife plays derby (how convenient), and my family is super supportive of me and try to come to every game if they are able.
What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?
We can’t interview you without mentioning the 2009 television series “Roller Warriors.” What was the impact of this show on your derby career and your home league?
It really got our name out there in the local sports scene, which helped our league both monetarily and with recruitment. It’s pretty cool to have that kind of documentation of something I was a part of.
2015 was WFTDA’s 10th anniversary, as well as yours! What have been some of the biggest personal changes for you since that rookie year? Where do you see roller derby in the next decade?
My game and skill level has definitely changed as derby has changed. We went from skating fast and turning left to needing an arsenal of tools to compete at a higher level. I believe roller derby will continue to grow and evolve as the bar continues to rise.
Do you have a special message to your fans?
As brilliantly worded by the great, beautiful, and wonderful Death By Chocolate, “I don’t have fans, I have friends,” I just want to say keep being awesome!!
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