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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

Brewcity Bruisers bring girl-on-girl action to the rink


When Chicago’s Windy City Rollers take the rink, more than 3,000 spectators show up to watch the all-girl roller derby team raise hell. This spring, Milwaukee will have its own team of rowdy, freewheelin’ females to root for. They're called the "Brewcity" Bruisers.

"I ride dirt bikes with guys all the time, but I’m psyched to do something tough with the girls," says Christina Tekus who plans to officially join the Bruisers at their first practice on Dec. 4.

The Bruisers are still shopping around for a home rink, but plan to start playing home games next May.

Organizer Molly Cassidy, co-owner of Riverwest’s sensual shop called the Tool Shed, says she dreamed of starting a team for a while, and to find other likeminded ladies she posted on a couple of Web sites and slapped up flyers around town. The response was phenomenal, and now she and co-organizers Cris Siqueira and Talia Maltz have so many interested girls that they will probably have four rotating teams.

Across the country, all-girl roller derby has made a massive comeback. The sport originated as co-ed competition in Chicago in the ‘30s but lost momentum in the ‘50s. It was revived with Raquel Welsh’s 1972 B-flick "Kansas City Bomber," and then underwent another wheelie of appreciation a few years ago.

This new wave of derby is definitely different from past eras, and not just because it’s no longer co-ed. Punk rock ethos, loud music, tattoos, skate-and-destroy attitudes and DIY costumes are as much a part of the sport as insanely fast skating.

In the world of roller derby, injury is part of the infamy, and snapped bones and bruises the size of compact mirrors are commonplace, with some fans flocking just to witness girl-on-girl rumbles. The Windy City Rollers even have an "injury gallery" on their site, but how much of the mayhem is real and how much, if any, is staged?

Cassidy admits that new school roller derby is a performance sport, but it’s not a spoof. "Some of it’s real and some of it’s theatrical," she says.

Sarah Ditzenberger plans to join the Bruisers and says most of what fans witness is the real deal.

"Every time we’re on the rink, someone’s going to get knocked down. Sure, we’re wearing pads, but the bruises and the broken bones are real," she says, going on to explain that the derby also cultivates sportsgirlship and camaraderie.

"The camaraderie is a big part of why I want to join the team," says Ditzenberger. "But also the athletic part of it, the entertainment, the alter ego and the brawls."

Adding to the theatrical aspect, each player gets to choose a rink name. Other teams have players monikered "Carmen Monoxide," "Suzy Hotrod" and "Ginger Snaps." Cassidy goes by "Butch Cassidy" and teammate Tami O’Connor took the name "Dee Bauchery."

"I’m ready to put Milwaukee on the (roller derby) map," says O’Connor. "And I ain’t scared."

Roller derby’s rules are pretty simple. Each team has a jammer (point scorer), pivot (pack wrangler) and three blockers. The "pack" starts out skating together, with the jammers behind the other two players, and they have two minutes to pass as many members of the opposing team as they can. At the same time, the pack skaters try to block the opposing jammer while clearing the way for their own team’s jammer so she can score. This is where things usually get dicey.

Although the Bruisers haven’t chosen uniforms yet, they’ll most likely have a punk rock-ish, DIY style. Cassidy says she’s hoping for a Western theme, but says it will be a decision made by the entire group. Opposing team uniforms include girlie prison get-ups and all-black numbers with fishnets, corsets and spikes, but don’t get the wrong idea; roller derby isn’t just for porn stars.

"Roller derby is not just for thin, muscular women. We encourage any size woman to play," says Cassidy. "Recently, we went to see the Windy City Rollers, and there was a group of junior high girls in front of us, and it was so cool so see them getting into a sport where women can play, no matter what kind of body they have."

The Brewcity Bruiser's Web site is myspace.com/brewcitybruisers.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Nov. 23, 2005 at 1:14 p.m. (report)

Noel Tylla said: Awesome! I knew you would get it up and going. Can't wait to support the grrlies! let me know if you ever need a rabbit!!

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OMCreader | Nov. 23, 2005 at 12:16 p.m. (report)

Britnee Smears said: Roller Derby action on Dec 3rd - Mad Rollin' Dolls very own Dairyland Dolls vs. Arizona's Tent City Terrors... in Madison, WI. Tickets on sale now! www.madrollindolls.com

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OMCreader | Nov. 23, 2005 at 9:20 a.m. (report)

She-Ra Terror said: Brewcity Bruisers definitely needs a Western theme. Good thinkin, Molly.

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OMCreader | Nov. 23, 2005 at 8:14 a.m. (report)

Tami O'Connor said: Bummed.....Already D. Bauchery in the league....Looks like I will have to Dee Flower instead!!!!....ROCK ON SISTAS!!!!!!

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OMCreader | Nov. 22, 2005 at 10:34 p.m. (report)

Scott Edward said: A couple members of B.C. Bruisers whom I'm friends with. They mentioned something was going on in Madison that night and I thought it was a Bruisers game; much thanks for the clarification/correction. I was unclear of the exact details, so that's why I stated "don't quote me.." for safety's sake.

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