Expect fast-paced fun as the girls get down to business in the OmniCenter debut of the Mississippi Valley Mayhem roller derby team on Saturday, May 30.
The Mayhem, founded by Holmen’s Amanda Boucher and West Salem’s Stephanie Powers, is one of 300 or more teams in the world playing a new brand of roller derby. There’s still a lot of aggressive blocking, jamming, pushing and well, mayhem, but the violence is toned down from the roller derby days of the 1970s.
The newer rules attract a different kind of spectator as well as player, and Boucher and Powers started organizing the team about a year ago, looking for players from the tri-state area. Powers is no longer involved with the organization because of scheduling problems.
The Mayhem’s roster now boasts 20 women, three of them raw rookies.
The Mayhem, like all the member organizations in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, is a self-owned, self-operated nonprofit organization giving more power to the players, who actually vote on issues.
“Women play now because they love the sport,” Boucher said.
“We liked the idea of Mississippi Valley because we want players from Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota,” Boucher said about the naming of the team. “We added Mayhem because sometimes it looks like mayhem. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on out there.”
The Mayhem will play the Harbor City Roller Dames of Duluth/Superior. The bout, consisting of two 30-minute periods, is played on a flat track, as opposed to the traditional banked tracks.
On the track for each team are five players, led by the pivot position player. She wears a stripe on her helmet and is responsible for controlling the speed on the track.
Three blockers follow the pivot trying to push, shove, elbow and whatever they have to do to get through the crowd so the jammer, the person who scores, can get through. The jammer wears a star on her helmet.
It’s all pretty new for the team, but Boucher said they are improving with every outing. The bout on May 30 should be interesting as the opponents are also a young team.
Not exactly veterans, this is the third bout for the Mayhem. They have played two bouts at High Rollers in La Crosse, where they drew more than 200 spectators, and they recently traveled to Appleton.
“We didn’t win our game, but we learned a lot,” Boucher said.
Halftime festivities include live music by the band Chuff, and the High Roller Skate Crew will perform break dances and tricks on skates for the crowd.
AT A GLANCE
- WHAT: May Massacre roller derby bout between Mississippi Valley Mayhem and the Duluth/Superior Harbor City Roller Dames
- WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30
- WHERE: Onalaska OmniCenter on Riders Club Road; spectators might want to bring their own chairs
- TICKETS: $6 advance, $7 at the door: Advance tickets available online at www.mississippivalleymayhem.com.