Friday, March 18, 2011 , Updated 9:51 a.m., March 30, 2011
UPDATEDx2: Roller derby girls skate from Mesquite to much bigger Dallas digs
They say the movie Whip It helped boost interest in the sport, and they can now fill a bigger venue.
Posted by Flickr user assassinationcity
FAIR PARK The ladies of Assassination City Roller Derby are moving to the Fair Park Coliseum. Until recently, the league called Mesquite home, but they will break in the newer, much bigger space during the 2011 season opening bout on March 26.
“We’ve wanted to move to Fair Park since 2006, but didn’t have the fan base or even enough skaters before now,” says Shandra Simpson — a.k.a Trigger Mortis of the Lone Star Assassins. Assassination City has since grown to 140 players who comprise four teams — two-year reigning champs Lone Star Assassins, Viva La Revolucion!, Bombshell Brigade, and Deadly Kennedys. Simpson credits the popularity of the movie Whip It for the game’s growing followers.
After a sell-out season last year, the league concluded that it was finally time for a larger space. Simpson — who is also the league’s marketing chair — realizes that they will probably not fill the 7,000 seat venue to capacity right away. “We have a goal of 1,500 attendees for the first bout and hope to build from there,” she said. Although it is a bigger venue, Simpson stresses that she wants to keep the "small venue feeling with the same high energy — awesome bands, cheerleaders and the mascots.”
The season will open with a double header, with Lone Star Assassins against the Bombshell Brigade in the first bout, then the Deadly Kennedys versus Viva La Revolucion! in the second bout. The tickets prices will slightly higher: They start at $15 for general admission and the price will top out at $20 for VIP seating. Season passes and group seating are also available. Fans will no longer be able to B.Y.O.B., but the league found a sponsor, and beers will be about $3.50 each.
“We can’t wait to move into Dallas,” says Simpson. The move to Fair Park will definitely make roller derby more accessible to Dallas. Fans can ride the green line to MLK Station, which is just a five minute walk from the coliseum. On opening day, Simpson suggests that fans drive to Lee Harvey’s (the after-party spot) and catch the green line from there.
Today’s roller derby is much different from that of the '70s and '80s. The track is now flat and there is no intentional fighting. Assassination City belongs to the national Women’s Flat Track Derby Association and has a travel team that competes for national rankings. The team is comprised of members of from each of the home teams, including Simpson.
For Simpson, a four and half year veteran skater, roller derby is more than the game. Women from all walks of life, from doctors to bartenders, find a common bond through it. Simpson recalls meeting women who are strong and in control and of their own unique beauty, all qualities she knew she wanted for herself.
“It’s a license to do what you don’t do in ‘real’ life, the things you never had the cojones to do,” Simpson said.
UPDATE x2: Shandra Simpson — a.k.a Trigger Mortis of the Lone Star Assassins — reported back to say that 2,000 people came to the bout on Saturday. That's a lot of people! They were also featured on Good Morning Texas recently. Here are video highlights from Saturday's bout:
Highlights from Assassination City Roller Derby’s March 26 bout at Fair Park Coliseum
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