The Brawlin’ Betties skated into victory while flaunting fishnet stockings at Earl Warren Showgrounds’ roller rink on May 7.
“I saw fishnets and panties on the flyer,” said Phil Rider, 64, a motorcycle tour guide. “That was enough of a draw for me.”
Roller derby players dress sexy, like athletic pin-up girls.
Rider recalled his college days when he dated a roller derby player. He said that she was the feistiest of his former lovers.
The nature of the roller derby sport calls for strong and independent women. Players frequently bash into each other and get knocked down while wearing roller skates.
“There’s no hiding in roller derby,” said Bench Coach Mourning After Kill #0. “The weakest link is immediately apparent.”
One player from each team is designated as the “jammer,” who scores points when she laps members of the opposing team.
The four other players from each team roll in a pack and serve as blockers who help their jammer get ahead while obstructing the opposing jammer.
The Betties work hard together and, as a result, form a tight-knit community.
“We’re all a big family,” said Booty Ninja #86.
The roller rink was covered with signs showing support for the Betties, such as “Get Wasted by Stella Ar-Twat.” The smell of alcohol wafted around the rows of fold-up chairs that seated the populous crowd.
“You have to think about what brings people to these events,” said Rider. “Does coming here show that people are into kinky stuff?”
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider is one of the Betties’ biggest fans and friends. She was given the honorary stage name “Polly C-Maker.”
“This is the best you can buy with five bucks,” said Schneider about the roller derby event.
Schneider blended in with the crowd until a rowdy crowd member dubbed “Brawlin’ Bobby” chanted her name.
The Betties have their own roller derby alter-egos that they channel through their stage names. Booty Ninja got her name from her “big butt” and black belt in martial arts.
Team members lead relatively normal professional lives outside of roller derby.
Mourning After Kill earned her master’s in marine biology from UCSB and now “hugs manatees” for a living. B-Stroyer #69 is a cosmetology instructor for students who “fear” her. Booty Ninja is an employee for Citrix Online, a company that sponsors the Betties.
Booty Ninja performed the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to the roller derby event. When she forgot the lyrics, the crowd enthusiastically sang along to help her end the song.
Over the microphone, Booty Ninja said, “I did not just pull a Christina Aguilera!”
Several team members said that roller derby is harder than it looks.
“You have to play offense and defense at the same time,” said Mourning After Kill, who played many different sports during college. “You don’t get that in other sports.”
Roller derby was endorsed as a great workout by the Betties. The sport helped B-Stroyer with a significant weight loss.
“Roller derby changed my life,” B-Stroyer said. “I used to weigh 255 pounds.”
The Brawlin’ Betties steamrolled the Derby Dames 242-48.