Fans

Attending your FIRST Southshire Roller Derby Event

Whenever we talk to someone new about roller derby in the Bennington area, we often hear people say how they used to watch it on television. The roller derby we play is still played on those same “old” quad skates (but there’s been some advancement in plate, wheel, boot, and cushion technology) and it’s still a full contact game on an oval-like track, but our track isn’t banked anymore.*

The playing area

Because we don’t play on a banked track, we can play our game on any flat, skateable surface that’s at least 108′ x 73′. As we travel around to play we’ll play on concrete, wood (skating rinks/gyms), and skate court.

You can find plenty of rules descriptions on YouTube and with Google. We’ll write a little rules primer soon for you.

For the 2015 season, our three home events will be held at Riley Rink in Manchester Center, Vermont on the Olympic-sized ice rink there. There’s no ice in the summer – we skate on the smooth concrete that is normally under the ice or turf.

Seating

Fans will get to sit around the track. We’ll have some bleacher seating inside the rink along the track and some outside the rink. Some of the closer bleacher seating is reserved for sponsors who bought ticket blocks. We’ll have some VIP seating around the track which includes a chair. We’ll also have some folding chair rentals available. Fans are encouraged to bring their own seating to sit right on the rink at track level. Folding camp chairs are usually the most comfortable. You can also bring pillows or pads or nothing at all and sit or stand on the floor.

Fans using a variety of seating/standing and World Cup 2011
Fans using a variety of seating/standing and World Cup 2011
Cheering / Fandom

Cheering is always welcome! You can cheer on your favorite team or skater(s) with shouts, yells, screams, clapping, noise makers, posters, and more! Be creative. In fact, creativity is encouraged in roller derby. We’ll have some materials available to make posters if you forgot to bring your own. At some events we hope to offer face and body paint.

Of course, our merchandise table will be well stocked with t-shirts, tank tops, and sweatshirts from the smallest to the biggest fan! Our colors are blue and gold and so are the colors for our guest men’s team – the Capital District Trauma Authority.

While all kinds of noise makers are welcome – cow bells and clappers are pretty popular – we cannot allow air horns or whistles.

Schedule

We plan to open the doors to the public by 4:30 and they may open as early as 4pm. If we have a double header, the men will play first at 5pm. The women will start around 7pm. Since many of our ladies will be busy helping officiate or produce the men’s game, we need to have at least a 20 minute break between games. If the men’s game goes past 6:40, the women’s game may start a little after 7pm. We will not start the second game before 7pm and if it does start late, it won’t be much after 7pm.

Food & Beverage

Food will be available from the Riley Rink snack bar. This snack bar is not your ordinary menu. Choose from the chef created menu a variety of delicious and healthy foods. You can count on the ability to get a light lunch-type meal.

While the snack bar will serve beverage for anyone in your group, there will also be a beer (and wine) garden in the atrium for guests who want to enjoy an adult beverage while watching the game. To keep our event family friendly, alcohol consumption may only occur in the beer garden. Viewing of the game is still possible through the atrium windows overlooking the rink. Access to the beer garden is only available to patrons 21 and over with proper ID.

Children

Attending a roller derby event is fun for the whole family. Since nearly everyone can enjoy roller skating, young children can sit and enjoy watching the hits and races that happen throughout the game.

Children really get into the fun and cheering of the game.
Children really get into the fun and cheering of the game.

We plan to have some children’s activities available thanks to the generosity of some of our area sponsors. Derby might not hold a young child’s attention for all the hours we play, but with some breaks it can be pretty fun.

We encourage parents who bring babies and toddlers to invest in ear protection. Ear protection isn’t a bad idea for anyone attending. There will be hundreds of fans and the referee whistles can be very loud, especially reflecting off concrete and metal.  Noise levels can be similar to a pops concert.

ear protection recommended for babies
Hearing protection is strongly advised, especially for our smallest fans.
Pets

At the moment, we expect pets are welcome on leashes in our pet-area which will be a set of bleachers and outdoor area near the rink. You are welcome to bring your own chairs and even bring your pet’s favorite bed. If your animal might be distracted or bothered by a lot of loud whistles or crowds, derby is not the place for them. Please keep them safe and comfortable at home.

*What happened to the Banked Track?

There’s a lot of modern history here, but in 2001, a group of women who had started a roller derby organization and were promised a banked track by a shady promoter decided to make do with what they had when the promoter skipped town. What they had were a bunch of rope lights and a skating rink.

The first flat track roller derby game - 2002 Austin, TX
The first flat track roller derby game – 2002 Austin, TX

Over time, and thanks to internet communications, groups around the United States developed a game and a track standard to be played on flat surfaces. This really opened up the possibility of having a game that didn’t require a tractor trailer to move the equipment from place to place.

It’s because of this latest revolution in the game that communities like Bennington can afford to have people play this sport and bring games to you.

Have a question we didn’t answer? Email us at southshirerollerderby@gmail.com.

Flat track roller derby in Southern Vermont