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Monday, March 14, 2016

FIGHTS: LOUDMOUTH - Chapter 4: The Girls of the Flat-Track Derby Revolution...

At the end of my past life, I earned the right to be the first flat track derby announcer with the Texas Rollergirls.

What follows is a very old, very unauthorized, and very unedited version of the document I produced describing my experiences during the genesis of flat track derby.  It would be some of the last moments of my past life.

Enjoy.

LOUDMOUTH: Confessions of a Flat Track Derby Announcer

By

Bowie V. Ibarra


Copyright 2007  Bowie V. Ibarra

“The eyes of Texas are upon you all the live long day…”
-  from the traditional song of Texas “The Eyes of Texas”

Chapter IV:  The Girls of the Texas Flat Track Derby Revolution
           
            I have always found “warrior women” types appealing.  I think it was from my great appreciation for Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” from his opera, “Die Walkure”.  Maybe it was Linda Carter’s “Wonder Woman” from my youth.  Or maybe its just my not-so-secret leg, ankle, and female shoe fetish.  At any rate, working with the roller girls while engaged and subsequently married was a bit of an emotional and sexual struggle for myself, an inner conflict between the Freudian id and superego.
            The girls were a wild bunch in the beginning.  A bizarre conglomeration of punks, teachers, mothers, vamps, wives, librarians, party girls, and athletes, to name a few of the categories you could put the girls into.  Thought they all came from different backgrounds, I was pleasantly surprised at how sincerely nice and amicable they all were.  Sure some were surly on occasion and most everyone had an attitude, but they were always respectful when greeted with respect.
            The following is a list of some of the now legendary girls that made an impression on me as athletes, skaters, and people.  The list is not nowhere near comprehensive.
           
            Dinah-Mite will be remembered by me as one of the first living legend in flat track derby.  Granted, many more have been born since (read: Snot Rocket, The Vecchio sisters, Beyonslay), but she was the first, in my opinion.  Dinah Mite was the prototype of the ultimate roller girl.  Blockers routinely bounced off of her when she jamed, effortlessly blowing them off and skating past them.  Dinah really caught on to the game fast.  A gorgeous blonde mother with the tanned body of a mythical Amazon warrior, she was pretty much unstoppable and shimmied and moved around the track like she owned it during the early days of flat track.  She was an expert not only as jammer, but at pivot and blocker.        
            Flat track, and injuries, finally caught up to the phenom, but she will forever have the reputation of being one of the best ever.  If there ever is a Flat Track Hall of Fame, she would be my nomination for Charter membership.
           
            White Lightning’ - In my opinion, the meanest, baddest roller girl to ever put on a pair of quads, and probably my favorite rollergirl ever, second to none. 
            Ever.  I stand by that. 
            Sure there are some cruel players: Pussy Velour, Cat Tastrophe, Anna R. Key, Starr Doom, Choco Ono, or Mummy Dearest and Osa Peligrosa, but no one has skated with the skill, proficiency, and destructive power of White Lightnin’.
            The girl blocked with vicious efficiency and played the jammer position like a blocker, taking out jammers as well as blockers while racking up points.  She pretty much attacked any player in a different jersey regardless of the necessity.  One of the only roller girls to say they have taken out Dinah Mite on several different occasions.  Only Doe Holliday of the Tucson Saddletramps and Curvette have come close to comparing to White Lightnin’.  Easily at the top of my list of favorite roller girls ever.
            On a humorous note, during a practice, I watched White Lightnin’ take out Sparkle Plenty with a cruel block.  Sparkle quickly got up, and with the lighthearted humor of Miss Plenty, commented on the hit with a big smile and words to the effect of, “Yeah, White Lightnin’ hit me.  It hurt pretty bad, I’m not going to lie to you.”
            And that was during practice.

            Anna Mosity - Similar to White Lightnin’, but cut from a very different cloth.  Another in the early tradition of cruel blockers, Anna Mosity had no problem mixing it up with anyone who stepped in her path on the track or off of it, regardless of gender.  Anytime anyone hit her on the track, she made them pay.  She was one of the earliest enforcers of the Hell Marys.  Whether she was on the track or off of it, you could bet she was going to get in a fight.  I watched Anna Mosity get in a fight at a bar with Pixie Tourette while organizing the first Whammies at the Jackalope.  Both girls were swinging wild at each other and knocking over tables. 
            Anna Mosity and Rolletta Lynn had a fierce rivalry on the track.  I once watched Anna tackle Rolleta, take the mount and smash Rolletta’s head into the track until she got a concussion.  She was the enforcer for the Hell Mary’s, even taking on takeout artist Bettie Rage that caused a bench clearing brawl and an award for Best Fight for her team (Best Fight 2005 - Bettie Rage vs. The Hell Mary’s, featuring Anna Mosity).  Anna was a fierce rival of fellow roughneck Barbie Crash.  A fight was guaranteed when the Hells played the Honkeys and those two hit the track.
            Anna Mosity was best known for her panties, and started the Rollergirls trend of having writing on panties.  Written in stark white on her black panties, “Nuns Suck” would be one of the earliest forms of effective audience teases the flat track derby world has ever known.  One of her earliest pictures, with Strawberry pulling up Anna’s skirt, revealing the writing as she coquettishly bit a fingernail, was rumored to have been painted on the wall of an art school.  It was pretty much assured that those attending the bout would see her round ass, which, in my opinion, built her a solid fan base.  Her ass put asses in seats.  Anna Mosity was the embodiment of the roller girl ethos: tough as nails and sexy as all-get-out. 
            Anna is one of very few roller girls I can sincerely call a friend, and I was saddened at her retirement.   I recently saw her at a derby event, but have not seen her since.  I genuinely hope she is doing well. 
            Despite her being out of derby, in my opinion, her legacy remains. 

            Pixie Tourette - Sexy, sassy, and nuclear physicist smart, Pixie Tourette is another girl that drips with sex appeal but has a very rough exterior.  Pale white, bleached blonde, and walking the earth with the sexiest pair of legs to ever grace a derby rink, Pixie is one of the wild cards of the Hot Rods.  When this California native is on, she’s an efficient blocker that takes jammers out with a scientific efficiency.  She once took out Dinah Mite and was nominated for Best Take Out 2004.  I had to pick the winner, and wanted to pick her despite the audience opinion. 
            A flirt of the highest order, her sexual aggression was tempered by her nerdy charm. 
            Short tempered at times, Pixie once delivered the vaunted pro-wrestling “Heart Punch” to me in the middle of a bar after telling her I thought her team did well in the championship game the Hot Rods lost.  I still have irregular heart beats.

            Misty Meaner - When I think of the Hell Mary’s, the first image that comes to my mind is of Misty Meaner skating around the track.  Misty was the most graceful, calm, and intriguing roller girl I’ve ever known. 
            I remember during the first season, when Misty would become the lead jammer, she skated with a kind of calm grace, a stoic determination to perform her job and rack up points for her team.  Maybe it was her eyes, perpetually stuck in a gaze that made you think she was sleepy.  It was as if she was emotionless, or perhaps like a poker player, putting up a fa├žade as not to reveal how she was feeling to her opponents.
            Whatever it was, she was one of the most beautiful visions to hit the track.  I’ll never forget the following season, when that stern, almost apathetic, look on her face turned into stern determination.  There was an intensity in her face that made you know she was going to rack up points, take out roller girls, or whatever it took for her team to win.  She even told me she had visions of victory, dreaming about flat track bouts.  As an announcer, I turned it into something in regards to their gimmick.  I would say she had visions, in which angels from God were speaking to her, providing her with information for her bout.
            Misty Meaner was always one of my favorites, and I was sad to see her retire.

            Vendetta von Dutch - One of the first roller girls I ever met, and easily the coolest roller girl ever.  If roller derby had at its roots a punk rock mentality, then Vendetta von Dutch was the poster girl for flat track.  Tattoed, caked in make up, and punk-rock glamorous, Vendetta kicked ass on the track.  I thought she was the coolest roller girl, so when I heard she did not like my intro for her (“She’s the best part of Italy and the worst part of Germany), I immediately changed it.
            She was one of the first roller girls I met the very first day I came out to learn my role.  Amicable, witty, and bitingly honest, Vendetta was a great friend.  Vendetta and Misty were actually two of the girls that my wife actually thought were cool when she was giving derby a chance.  Both of them talked to my wife like she was an old friend from the neighborhood, making her feel safe.
            Vendetta’s husband was punk rock for life.  Both of them, from Dallas, knew the punk rock scene intimately, and even took me for a tour of their old stomping grounds after a show in Dallas.
            Flat track provided a much needed outlet for Vendetta.  The story goes that Vendetta actually made the three hour drive from Dallas several times a week to make practice in the early days of derby.
            A librarian by trade, Vendetta is very popular with the young kids she works with.  She says the kids refer to her as “the librarian with two different color hair”, referring to her bleached blonde highlights streaking her black hair. 
            Some of the funniest things said over the mike have been said by Vendetta.  When thrown in the penalty box by refs during the Hot Rod/Dairyland bout, Jim Jones made the mistake of asking her a question in the box.  She responded with one of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard, considering her trip to the box an award:
            “I’d like to thank all the bitches that made that penalty possible.”
            Vendetta von Dutch represents the rebellious soul that is flat track derby.

            Cat Tastrophe - Gorgeous, spunky, and irritable, Cat Tastrophe has always been someone I’m careful when approaching.  A Leo, she is very temperamental, and could sometimes be found coming to practices in tears.  Despite her unpredictable temperament, she has established a legacy of determined efficiency and dependability for her team, the Hot Rod Honeys.
            Initially, Cat Tastrophe was a noted rival of Dinah Mite.  Many even compared here skills and talents to the purple clad Hustler.  In my opinion, no roller girl since the beginning has consistently been a test for Dinah as Cat has been.
            Watching her over the years, I have learned one thing:  you cross the Cat, you pay dearly for it.  You can almost see her writing her shit list as the game progresses, promising in her mind that the person that dared lay a hand on her or say a bad word to her is going to be punished for it.  I once watched her cold cock then rookie Belle Starr with a right hook at the end of a period, flooring the rookie in surprised astonishment.
            Whether you agree with it or not, Cat Tastrophe is the Queen of any flat track she sets skate on.  She will expect that respect from everyone who steps on it with her, and will literally destroy anyone who stands in her or her team’s way.
            You have been warned.

            Rolletta Lynn - Rolletta Lynn is one of the first that I ever considered hardcore.  Friendly and quirky, Rolletta was a serious competitor when it came to flat track.  She was known to work closely with teammate Patsy Crime. 
            I realized how serious the girls were one night when Rolletta was knocked to the ground near turn three.  She hit the floor hard and had not even had the chance to shake off the pain when she was met with a skate right in her face.  The skate hit her right in the mouth, and without missing a beat, she got to her feet to finish the jam. 
            After getting checked by the medical staff, she returned to the game and finished.
            “She’s hardcore!  She’s hardcore!  She’s hardcore!  She’s hardcore!”
            Rolletta currently lends her skills to the Queens of Pain of the Gotham Girls Rollerderby league in New York.

            Voodoo Doll - Sexy is an understatement in reference to this tall drink of water.  I don’t think it’s too bold to say that never has there been and never will there be a roller girls dripping with knowing sexuality as Voodoo Doll.  In the early days, she was probably one of the original fan favorites, with whole websites devoted to her worship, literally.  Virtual altars erected (no pun intended) in devotion to her. 
            Apparently born and raised in the southernmost portions of Texas, Voodoo had a hard time in her youth being such a tall and stunningly beautiful young “guera”.  She gained her toughness fighting groups of “cholas” jealous of her beauty.  Stories abound of whole bars becoming silent when she entered and exited, with all eyes dumbfounded at her beauty.
            I found Voodoo Doll to be a very friendly and approachable lady.  She had no problem with a person that was respectful to her and didn’t make a big deal about her looks.
            Recently, she gave birth to a baby with her husband, a noted Capoeria stylist.  She has yet to return to the track.

            The Crusher – In the mold of the legendary 8-Track, Thaaaaaaaaa Crusher was a menacing force on eight wheels.  One of the few rollergirls to have Dinah Mite’s number on a consistent basis.  Though she had a very bright future in derby, she was permanently sidelined by injuries.
           
            8-Track - Probably the most dominant and skillful blocker in flat track history.  She was honored with the title of “Dust Devil MVP” at the first Dust Devil.  Mean as a junkyard dog on the track, she was a kind and loving person off the track.  She held my baby girl Gwendolyn while her loser dad was taking pictures during a derby photo shoot.  My baby fell asleep in her arms.

            Muffin Tumble - Cute, compact, and combative, Muffin Tumble is a sultry assassin on wheels.  Her development as a skater was consistent and rapid, and she is now one of the power players for the Hell Mary’s.
             
            Barbie Crash – There are rough players and there are mean players.  And then there are dirty players.  Barbie Crash’s audacious disregard for the rules of derby would make Rat City blush and say, “Hey, wait.  That’s dirty.” 
            I dubbed Barbie Crash “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” as, in my eyes, she flagrantly disregarded every rule in the book to gain an advantage.  And she was good at it, too.  She had a knack for knowing when refs weren’t looking to execute her diabolical strategies.  She was always ready for a fight, too. 

            Sparkle Plenty – The now legendary Sparkle Plenty is a tall and very slender Boricua, though you would not know that fact due to her very fair complexion.  I must admit, she set an example of the potential for rollergirls for me as the seasons progressed and proved to me that the sport is all inclusive when it comes to size and shape.  I thought she would be knocked around the track like a rag doll in the early days, but watched as she would own other rollergirls with superior technical skill and a grace that is unique to her.
            Sparkle was responsible for the first set of rules of flat track, and many of the guidelines and set up were initiated by her.  She is also an effective speaker and leader, having to wrangle the massive “personalities” of the announce team with superior wit, intellect, and an enigmatic use of timing in choosing her words.
           
            Buckshot Betsy – Gorgeous Honky jammer and flat track legend.  Unique, but fit build, Buckshot became one of the faces of the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers in their three year dynasty before defecting to the Hell Mary’s.  If you face a Texas All-Star team, you will have to compete against Buckshot.

            Sedonya Face – From the planet LoveTron, Sedonya has been a permanent fixture for the Hustlers in her legendary career.  An enforcer for the Hustlers, she is known to speak her mind in defense of her team whenever and to whoever.

            Dottie Karate – Dottie Karate, or Karate Dottie in the proper Japanese sense, will forever be one of my favorites.  We both shared an appreciation of Japanese culture that melded into my intro for her, announcing her name like the Japanese pro-wrestling announcers I listened to via bootleg videos.  Kara-tay DAH-taaaaaaaaaaayyyy!!!  Her gimmick helped me live out my dream of announcing wrestlers at the Tokyo Egg Dome in Japan.  Every time.

            Bettie Rage – Apart from the Rat City team, I don’t think there is a single rollergirl who has been met with utter contempt on the track then Bettie Rage, and I love it.  Bettie is 100% more subtle than her former Honky Barbie Crash, but just as sinister.  With skillful glee, she will take out jammers by any means necessary, and have no problem doing it.
            On the podcast for the Honky/Seattle DLF bout, after taking on a DLF member and failing in the attempt, I got her over as a take-out artist.  In the background you can hear an angry rollergirl yell, “Betty Rage, you fuckin’ bitch”, before she groans and yells, “You Cheater”. 
            When you can get a fan that enraged and engaged in the game, you’re doing something right.
           
            Strawberry – One of the legendary Hell Mary’s team players.  Evident from the first day I laid eyes on her, Strawberry had the greatest hair in flat track, second to none.  She is also notable for her flair for the dramatic when calling off a jam. 

=====

More to come...

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