Derby girls never say die

By Marissa Novel

What do the Dread Pirate Robyn, Lethal Objection, Splatter and A-K forty Devon all have in common? Two words: roller derby.

The Southern Illinois Roller Girls will be hosting a scrimmage with their sister and brother leagues, instead of the Northeast Missouri Viqueens, at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Pavilion in Marion. The proceeds will be donated to various community charities.

The group was originally supposed to compete against the team from Missouri, but due to a cancellation, they will be competing against skaters from their sister league, the Cape Girardeau Roller Girls, and their brother league, the Brigade of Handsome Gentlemen. The groups will be split into two teams and will be competing in two 45-minute halves.


Elizabeth Cook, also known as “Dread Pirate Robyn”, said she and some friends founded the team in June 2009. She said the team is in its best competitive season, winning their first five games, or “bouts”, in a row.

Cook said the team played one of the most competitive bouts of the season against the Chicago Outfit’s B Team, Shakedown, about two weeks ago. She said according to the roller derby statistics site, the team had an 8 percent chance of winning the game.

“We stuck behind them roughly eight points down the entire game and as far as 25 points down at one point,” she said. “We came back in the very last round and it the was only time we had lead the entire game and we won the game by one point.”

Cook did not skate at the game, as she was still recovering from what she calls a “nine-month injury” also known as pregnancy. She currently works with the team coaching new members of the team, also known as “fresh meat”.

She said a few different charities will benefit from this season’s proceeds, one of which will most likely be the Women’s Center. Cook said they collect donations all season to ensure the profits of each bout will be evenly distributed amongst the charities.

Cook said the proceeds from the annual December bout always benefits the Southern Illinois AIDS Holiday Project.

Wally Paynter, the chair for the project and the Southern Illinois AIDs Walk, said the girls have been supportive of his fundraising events for several years.


Paynter said the girls add fun to the AIDs walk every year by leading on roller skates. He said they work with him by setting up informationbooths and silent auctions at the derby events.

“It’s been a great experience and I think the roller girls are very supportive and I appreciate how they give back to the community,” Paynter said.

Amanda Nelson, also known as “Splatter”, will be refereeing Saturday. This will be her first game as refereeing instead of skating. She said she got involved in roller derby after a friend invited her while they trained for mixed martial arts and boxing. She currently trains the “veterans”, or the longtime team members.

Tickets for Saturday’s event are $8 in advance and $10 at the door and can be purchased at Dayshift, Long Branch, Hair Brains, Bomber Tattoo Crew and Castle Perilous in Carbondale. In Marion, they can be purchased at The Pavilion, John Brown’s, Clique Hair Design, Unique Ink and Iron Anchor Tattoos. Kids 12 under are free.