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Boulder County Roller derby is an opportunity to play a sport and connect with a community

The pandemic contributed to a resurgence in people joining local roller derby league

If you want a chance to reinvent yourself, while joining a supportive community and playing a sport, you may want to consider roller derby.

Roller derby has a long history, and an even longer list of misconceptions surrounding it, but like any other sport, roller derby is a full contact sport with athletes playing in leagues all over the world.

In Longmont, the Boulder County Roller Derby (BCRD) is the hometown league. Since coming out of the pandemic, participation has grown with the majority of new participants being brand new to the sport, said Brandy Krow, league president and member of BCRD, and known as “Bully” on the track.

Krow said, while the sport began in the 1930’s, it made a huge comeback in the mid-2000’s, and now it’s flourishing. However, during COVID, she said they went from being a strong league to almost dismantled, as they were unable to meet to skate.

“Our numbers dwindled down during lockdown, but also during the lockdown a lot of people bought roller skates, not necessarily related to roller derby, but they started skating because they were looking to do something fun and get outside, so there was new boom of roller skaters,” she said.

This translated into a lot of new BCRD league members, but also those who had retired from the sport coming back because they missed the derby experience in their lives.

BCRD: what the league offers and misconceptions around the sport

Boulder County Roller Derby is a flat track roller derby league, and a non-profit organization run by volunteers. They are also a league member, and follow the game and safety regulations, of the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association.

Krow said, because the sport has been glamourized for entertainment in television for decades, there are many misconceptions surrounding the sport, namely that it’s inauthentic.

“The most common misconception is that it’s like WWE, choreographed and scripted, because it used to be that way but it’s not,” she said. “This is a sport where we train and compete, and while we really hope to win, we’re playing by rules like every other sport.”

Roller derby, Krow said, offers several opportunities for growth in the game and currently, there are several opportunities for participation at the BCRD, whether you’re a complete novice or someone with experience and wants to join a league.

Krow said they host ‘Come Skate with Us’ events where anyone can and watch a bout (game), learn about the how it’s played put on some skates and have some fun!

If you decide to learn more, their Jammin’ Jackalopes is a training team for those who have zero experience. Here, people learn the basics of the sport like how to stop, do a cross over, and how to fall safely.

For those who want to play, they have home teams people can join and skate against each other within the league, and for more seasoned players, they have a travel team that competes nationally.

Joining a roller derby league offers several benefits including becoming a part of a larger community

After experiencing a significant life event in 2010, Krow was looking for something new in her life and found roller derby. She said, while people join roller derby for various reasons - the thrill of the sport, the exercise or the competition - what they’ll discover is a welcoming, supportive community of like-minded people who quickly become your extended family off the track.

“Most of the time playing roller derby is not about skating at all, it’s about doing things that support this community of people that is also supporting you back,” she said. “If something’s going on in your life, they will show up for you, they are your crew.”

Another unique aspect about this sport is it allows you to reinvent a part of yourself. For example, Krow said you get to choose a skater name, and for those players that love to make the sport more visually entertaining, they can do so through their track persona and creative wardrobe choices.

However, what BCRD are most proud of is their mission vision: “We have a safe space for anyone who wants to join our community regardless of gender identities and expressions, sexualities, races, religions, financial abilities, body types, and physical abilities.”

“Part of the value we bring to the community is we are aggressively inclusive,” Krow said. “There’s a value on letting whoever wants to come play, come play.”

To inquire about the next open skate or when the Boulder County Roller Derby have their next public bout, contact them or visit their Facebook page to learn more.