SLIDESHOW: Zombies, vampires awaken in Mount Pleasant for roller derby event
Think of any ordinary roller rink, add zombies with shredded earthen clothes, bloodied faces and vampires dressed in black and droplets of blood painting their lips.
Toss in roller skates, a few other mystical creatures like werewolves, mermaids and even a human-sized banana, and you have the Central Michigan Roller Derby doubleheader: zombies vs. vampires style.
The two teams competed Saturday night at Spinning Wheels Arena, 1241 N. Mission Road. Both teams consisted of players from all over mid-Michigan and all different teams to make a hodgepodge of willing contestants. The game is played in two 30-minute periods, with the goal of a ‘jammer,’ or player who starts behind the pack of players, of breaking through the pack to score points. A point is scored for each pass through the pack after the first.
Kristy Saxton, or KrushNer, of Mount Pleasant knows there is much more to roller derby than picking out a derby name and being tough. Saxton said they give back to the community by selecting a cause to donate to for each event.
“For every bout we pick a charity and we donate a portion of the proceeds to that charity,” she said.
The first round went to the Vampires, 127 to 67. Then the second was won by the Zombies, 167 to 94.
For newbie spectators and frequent fans, unique names each player picks can draw a lot of attention.
Some of the one-of-a-kind names include Sundercat, Criss-Cross Slaughter Sauce, Wall ‘o Pain, Rosie the Pivoter, Om Wrecker and Mustache Ryder.
All names have to go through a registry, where each name can only be used by one player, unless she writes the user for permission.
Saxton said the idea for Zombies vs. Vampires came last year.
“Last year, we wanted to do a fun fundraiser for Halloween,” she said. “I don’t even know how zombies and vampires were the two that we picked, but it was what was thrown up, and we were like ‘Oh yeah.’”
Roller derby is a contact sport that relies on teamwork, speed, finesse and strength in combination.
Players, referees and community members danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller during halftime.
Annie Mitchell, known as B.A. Betty, of Hell recounted the first time she started in roller derby.
“I’d just moved to Mount Pleasant, and my mom and I were walking downtown (when) they were having this art (event), and one of the gals was sitting in the booth and had an itty bitty little poster that was a recruitment flier. My mom told me that I should do it, and I would be perfect, and that was the start of it for me,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the teams compete for free.
Central Michigan Roller Derby encourages people to be involved in other ways even if skating as a derby girl isn’t an option. Derby often needs referees and a crowd to cheer them on, she said. For more information on the group, visit centralmirollerderby.com.
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