Roller Derby comes to Reno
Hey all you pencil-neck geeks, are you ready for some real women competing in a real sport like roller derby?
Well the Battle Born Derby Demons have arrived and have established a team in Reno. The team has also scheduled its first contest set for May 19 against a team from Utah at a site to be determined in Reno.
Among the 12 members on the team is 31-year-old Jocelyn Diaz, aka Chesty Puller, of Carson City. Diaz, who has lived in Northern Nevada the majority of her life, grew up watching roller derby on the USA Network and “Roller Girls” on the A&E Network and knew that’s what she wanted to do, so when she heard about the opportunity in Reno, she jumped at it.
“It’s been something I always wanted to do,” Diaz said. “It was a big dream of mine to do. Once I found out it was in Reno I was like I have to do this. I love everything about the sport.”
Another woman on the team with local roots is 25-year-old Sarah Buck, aka Buck Nasty, a Carson High graduate now attending the University of Nevada.
Diaz admitted that her nickname Chesty Puller is a double entendre in reference to the fact she’s “well-endowed.”
But the name is also a tribute to Chesty Puller, the only Marine to win the Congressional Medal of Honor twice. “I love the Mariners,” Diaz said.
It also made since that Diaz chose the name Chesty Puller since her husband, Hector Diaz, is a retired Marine. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” she said. When any Marine is asked, Diaz said, “They all know who Chesty Puller is.”
When asked if the competition is going to be real, Diaz adamently confirmed it’s going to be. This isn’t going to be like those old roller derbys involving the Los Angeles Thunderbirds when they always seemed to be able to pull out the win as time ran out no matter how far they were behind.
“This is a real sport,” Diaz said. “Of course we want to make it fun and exciting and entertaining for the crowd. But nobody’s going to hold back.”
In roller derby there are five women who compete against each other on a circular track. There are four blockers and a jammer. The jammer receives one point for each opponent’s blocker she passes and the team with the most points wins. Contests normally consist of three 20-minute periods or four 15-minute quarters.
Dawn Wiegel, aka Cracka Dawn, a jammer, said players must demonstrate the required skills before they can take the track. “Safety is our first concern,” said Wiegel, adding there are women of “all shapes and sizes” on the Reno team.
There are various rules regulating what kind of contact is allowed and players who violate those rules must go to the penalty box.
But Wiegel admitted “it all depends on what the ref sees. It’s not something we endorse. But girls will be girls.”
Wiegel said it’s hoped that as many woman as possible will become involved in the sport so even a league in Northern Nevada can be formed. Roller derby has caught on in places like Las Vegas and Sacramento and Wiegel said the Reno franchise would like to eventually play teams from those areas.
“It’s kind of taken off right now,” said Wiegel about roller derby. “We’re going to play as many teams as possible.”
Women who are interested in becoming involved in roller derby can contact the Reno team at firstname.lastname@example.org.