Detroit Roller Derby – Action packed and primed for the big time.
As we walk up the stairs into the grand entrance of Detroit’s Masonic Temple, the largest Masonic Temple in the world, you know you are in for a treat no matter what you are here for. This place is historic and you can feel it.
Detroit Roller Derby Girls on the track in the Historic Masonic TempleSince 1928 some of the greatest acts have performed here and tonight is no exception.
We step into the lobby, we are greeted by the crew of the Detroit Roller Derby Girls sitting at a temporary table, busy selling tickets and guiding the fans to the ring.
Once we check in and get our tickets we are whisked by the elevator to the 3rd floor ballroom which has been converted into a Roller Derby Rink with grandstand seating all around. The seats virtually reach the edge of the rink, you are definitely in the action!
With music pumping in the background the teams are out warming up and going over strategy. As the crowd starts to fill in, you can feel the excitement building.
Tonight’s line up is the Detroit Pistoffs vs The D Funk and we were lucky enough to sit down with Robin of Knocksley and Con Yay before the derby started.
“Right now we have about 80 skaters, from ages 18 to 50 years old,” said Robin, “We truly have an eclectic group from lawyers to home makers. Everyone is passionate about skating and the derby”
“This is our 12th season but the Detroit Roller Derby Girls have been around a little longer that,” says Con Yay “We are active in Detroit and local charities including the Gleaners Food Bank and the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program along with LGBTQ groups.”
At this event they collected non-perishable items for Operation Care Package of Michigan which will soon be distributed to troops who must spend the holidays away from their families.
We asked “What does it take to be a Detroit Derby Girl?”
“We are always looking for new blood. We have tryouts a couple of times a year. From there, the first couple of years you learn how to play and then the next couple of years learn the strategy of the game,” says Con Yay.
As we take our seats ring side, the man himself Santa Claus, comes strolling in to the amazement of the kids. Making his rounds with candy canes, both kids and adults are lining up to see him.
The crowd around us ranges from infants to seniors and with beer, wine, and food the party is just getting started. Tonight’s half time contest is an ugly sweater contest and there are plenty of ugly ones to choose from seated around us.
As the skaters line up for the first “jam” of the night (two-minutes shifts where the skaters try to earn points by letting their jammer through, while blocking the other team’s jammer) we feel the excitement in the air.
The whistle sounds and the skater take off in what can only be described as a mass of hip checks, body checks, and bodies flying in organized chaos. Out of nowhere comes a “jammer” out to lead the pack and the action is on!
In a blur of whistles and skaters flying around the track, just like that, the first jam is over. In less than a minute, the next shift of skaters lines up for the next jam. With no TV timeouts, the action is like this for the next 30 minutes. We end the half with the D Funk on top 122-111.
Halftime was just as entertaining with the ugly sweater contest and Santa leading the way. Turns out a couple with matching ugly sweaters ends up winning the “coveted” homemade birch trophy and of course, more important, the bragging rights that come along with it!
Before you know it, the skaters are back warming up and getting ready for the second half and always entertaining Barz and Rexxx Maning are calling the derby play by play in the what reminds me of Don Cherry type humor over the PA system! In another 30 minutes of mad chaos the D Funk stomped the Pistoffs with a blow out of 281-164.
At the end of the match what happens next we have only seen in one other Detroit sports team and in a true show of sportsmanship the fans line the track and the skaters circle around and high five the crowd.
We are hooked and plan on doing a Jobbie Crew get together for an upcoming derby. Stay tuned for more information as we work out the details.
Next matches coming up:
January 14th – Devil’s Night Dames vs. Grand Prix Madonnas
Feburary 4th – Double header
Devil’s Night Dames vs. D-Funk
Detroit Pistoffs vs. Grand Prix Madonnas
For the entire schedule
Where – The historic Masonic Temple 500 Temple Street, Detroit, MI 48201
Single matches $12 in advance and $15 at the door
Double header $15 in advance and $18 at the door
The Detroit Roller Derby is a nonprofit and a member of the WFTDA and consists of 4 home teams and 3 travel teams that compete both locally and international.
Devil’s Night Dames
Grand Prix Madonnas
Detroit Roller Derby Allstars
Motor City Disassembly Line
Website – https://detroitrollerderby.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/DetroitDerby
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/detroitderby/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DetroitRollerDerby/
Complete photo album: