About The Cincinnati Rollergirls

The History of the Cincinnati Rollergirls

ArenaThe Cincinnati Rollergirls, the area’s first all-female, amateur, flat track roller derby team, was founded in late 2005 by Christa Zielke and Paula Estes. The skater-owned and operated organization held its first practice on April 5, 2006 at Beechmont Rollerarena. Shortly afterward, CRG divided its skaters into four teams for intra-league competition: The Bloody Sundaes, the Cincinnati Riots, the Dames of Destruction and the Full Metal Corsets. The teams held their first of four exhibition bouts that year, Super Roll Sunday, on August 13, 2006 at Castle Skateland before a crowd of 700 fans.

In 2007, the team moved to its current home, the Cincinnati Gardens, and became a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the sport’s governing body. CRG also downsized to two intra-league teams that year, the Dames of Destruction and the Full Metal Corsets, and formed an all-star team to compete against teams from across the country. The all-star team’s first game was April 22, 2007 in Raleigh, N.C. against one of the Carolina Rollergirls’ home teams, the Debutante Brawlers. The Brawlers won, 73-25.

In 2008, the Cincinnati Rollergirls formed a varsity/A team called the Black Sheep and a junior varsity/B team called the Silent Lambs to focus exclusively on interleague play. Skaters attend team practices three to four days each week, and many also train off-skates. Both teams travel all over North America draw upwards of 4,000 fans to home double-headers at the Cincinnati Gardens. The popularity of the Cincinnati Rollergirls led to the formation of three new teams in 2011: The Flock Ewes, CRG’s C team; the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls for girls ages 8-17; and the Battering Rams, the first men’s team in Cincinnati.

AutographsThe Black Sheep have been consistently ranked in the top 10 of WFTDA’s North Central Region and have competed in the WFTDA’s postseason playoffs since 2008. They finished 4th in their region in 2009 and 2010, just missing the cut for the WFTDA Championships (the top three teams from each region compete in the Championships). The Black Sheep also have been consistently ranked in the Derby News Network’s Power Rankings of the top 25 women’s roller derby teams in the world.

Today, the team continues to owned and operated by its skaters, about 50 women from around the region who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds and occupations. Everyone involved with the Cincinnati Rollergirls — the skaters, the coaches, the referees and the non-skating officials (NSOs) — is a volunteer. Skaters buy their own skates, gear and uniforms and also pay monthly dues. All proceeds from dues and from ticket and merchandise sales go back into the organization to cover costs such as venue rental, insurance and travel expenses.

The Cincinnati Rollergirls have also received many accolades from the community. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory declared June 19, 2010 Cincinnati Rollergirls Day, and in 2011, the Cincinnati Rollergirls were voted Cincinnati’s Best Amateur/Semipro Team by CityBeat readers. The team also gives back to the community by volunteering at local festivals and charity events, skating in parades and making monetary, merchandise and ticket donations to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

The team holds several boot camps and tryouts for prospective skaters throughout the year and is always looking for dedicated volunteers. For more information, email recruiting@cincinantirollergirls.com or volunteer@cincinnatirollergirls.com.

The Cincinnati Rollergirls Mission Statement

CRG will be recognized as a nationally-ranked top 10 competitor in flat track roller derby. Skaters are CRG’s most valued assets, and the league is committed to providing skaters with the training, facilities, and coaching needed to fulfill the league’s mission.

CRG will be an energetic and creative organization that is supportive and involved in its community. CRG staff and skaters will uphold professionalism and exhibit camaraderie and exceptional performance in pursuit of the league’s mission.

How Flat Track Roller Derby Is Played

The Flat TrackInvented by sports promoter Leo Seltzer in the 1930s, roller derby thrived in the U.S. until the 1970s, when high transportation costs shut it down. In 2001, a group of women in Austin, Texas revived the sport. Playing it on a flat track instead of the traditional banked track, they turned what was once a staged spectacle into an unscripted, athletic, full-contact, competitive team sport, now played by hundreds of teams around the world.

Roller derby games, called bouts, are divided into two 30-minute periods. During a bout, two teams of five skaters each face off on the track. Each team consists of a pivot, three blockers and a jammer. The pivots, who wear stripes on their helmets, set the pace and lead the other blockers in a pack. The jammers, who wear stars on their helmets, score points by fighting their way through the pack and passing members of the opposing team.

When the whistle blows, the pack and the jammers take off. The first jammer to make it through the pack legally is designated the "lead jammer." The jammers must lap the pack once before sprinting through the pack again to score points by passing members of the opposing team. A jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, but the lead jammer has the right to call off the jam early by putting her hands on her waist. This strategy typically locks in a higher number of points for her team than her opponent’s team for that jam. Blockers try to stop the opposing jammer from passing them and scoring while helping their own jammer make it through the pack and score. The team with the most points at the end of the bout wins.

Flat track roller derby eliminates the barrier of the guardrail in banked track roller derby and brings the action closer to the fans. They can sit on the floor at the edge of the track and get an unencumbered view of every hit, whip and pass.

» Tickets to all Cincinnati Rollergirl games are available through Ticketmaster or at the Cincinnati Gardens box office.

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